Cream of the crop: Jacob’s of Aintree

Jacob’s are best known for Cream Crackers. 1.4 billion were consumed in 2013.

W&R Jacob was founded by two Quaker brothers, William and Robert, in Waterford, Ireland in 1851. Shortly afterwards the firm relocated to Peter’s Row, Dublin.

In 1885 the firm introduced the cream cracker. This was a huge success.

In 1912 W&R Jacob acquired ten acres of land at Aintree adjacent to Hartley’s jam factory in order to improve its market share in Liverpool. Manufacture began on the site from 1914.

During the First World War the armed forces were supplied with Jacob’s biscuits.

Following the end of the First World War, Jacob’s rehired every employee who had fought during the war, and also found work for a large number of men who had been injured during the conflict.

In 1922 the foundation of the Irish Free State saw the English subsidiary established as an independent company.

By 1932 Jacob’s Aintree factory covered 30 spacious acres, with lawns and flower beds. The firm employed over 3,000 people. Over 300 different varieties of biscuit were manufactured.

In 1932 the Yorkshire market was entered in earnest, with the construction of a large depot in Leeds.

By 1949 approximately 1,500 employees were engaged in manufacturing; 75 percent of them were women.

In 1959 a new depot was opened at Plympton to cope with increasing sales in the Devon and Cornwall region. It could handle six million lbs of biscuits each year.

In 1960 family members retained 70 percent of the voting shares when a takeover by Associated Biscuits was agreed to.

Throughout the 1980s the Jacob’s sweet biscuit product lines, other than the Club, were phased out in favour of the Huntley & Palmer brand.

Mini Cheddars were introduced in 1984.

The Huntley & Palmer name was discontinued in 1990, and all products were relabelled under the Jacob’s brand.

In 2014 the Aintree factory produced over 55,000 tonnes of products. 900 people were employed at the factory.

In 2015 it was announced that the Aintree site would receive an investment of £10 million. The site is the centre of United Biscuits savoury snack production, and brands manufactured include Twiglets, Mini Cheddars and Club, as well as Jacob’s.

Jacob’s holds 25 percent of the British savoury biscuit market as of 2015.

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