Tea and a Biscuit? Three Global Confectionary Brands with Yorkshire Origins

Yorkshire has contributed a lot to the economy, history and culture of the UK. But one area not as many of you may be familiar with, is the number of popular food and beverage manufactures that have sprung up in this glorious county over the years. In fact, confectionery first developed in Yorkshire is now sold all over the world and exported by massive global conglomerates like Nestle and the Mondolez International. From party rings, to fruit pastilles, jelly babies and liquorice, All Sorts let us count down some of the county’s tastiest offshoots.

Fox’s Biscuits

Founded in a terraced house in Batley, near Leeds and Bradford, in 1853, Fox’s has since become one of Britain’s most well loved and recognised confectionary brands. Michael Ellis Spedding’s original company took the name Fox’s after his daughter married Fred Ellis Fox in the 1890s.

To this day, their headquarters and main factory are still located in the Yorkshire town. Their brands are exported internationally, including as far as China and North America. They are now owned by the 2 Sisters Food Group who collectively made £2.38 billion in revenue in 2013. Some of Fox’s most iconic and popular biscuits include Rocky bars, Party Rings, Fox’s Creams and Fox’s classics.


Rowntree’s was founded in York by Henry Isaac Rowntree, in 1862. Today it is one of the largest confectionary manufacturers in the world, and has been responsible for introducing the Kit Kat, Aero, Fruit Pastilles and Rolos amongst others.

Rowntree’s was bought out by global conglomerate Nestle in 1988. The Rowntree’s main factory and headquarters are still based in York today. The factory is one of the largest sites of its kind in the world, and is supplemented by Nestle’s global research and development facility which is also located in the historic Yorkshire city. Some of Rowntree’s brands have reached iconic status across the globe – so have a little think about that Yorkshire heritage next time you break apart a Kit-Kat.


We bet you didn’t know this – the world-famous Liquorice All Sorts were first created in Sheffield in 1899, and they were in fact created by accident. The story starts with George Basset, who was recorded as being a Sheffield-based ‘confectionary trader’ as far back as 1842. In 1852, they opened a factory in the Broad Street area of the city and began producing the precursor to the modern jelly baby.

In 1899, a Basset’s salesman called Charlie Thompson was visiting a client in nearby Leicester, when he knocked several trays of individual sweets onto the floor. Hastily scooping them up, they made a pleasant looking mixture – and the client asked to be supplied with a mixed bag. Liquorice Allsorts have since become an iconic sweet and are now produced and exported all over the world. They are popular as far afield as Australia, The Netherlands and Canada.