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McVitie's is a British snack food brand owned by United Biscuits. The name derives from the original Scottish biscuit maker, McVitie & Price, Ltd., established in 1830 on Rose Street in Edinburgh, Scotland. The company moved to various sites in the city before completing the St. Andrews Biscuit Works factory on Robertson Avenue in the Gorgie district in 1888.[1] The company also established one in Glasgow and two large manufacturing plants south of the border, in Heaton Chapel, Stockport, and Harlesden, London. Under United Biscuits McVitie's holds a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II.

FoundedEdinburgh, Scotland (1830 (1830))
FounderRobert McVitie

The best-selling biscuit manufacturer in the United Kingdom, McVitie's produces chocolate digestives, Hobnobs and Rich tea (ranked the three favourite biscuits to dunk into tea), and Jaffa Cakes (the best selling cake in the UK).


McVitie's factory in Manchester and Stockport which produces over 2,000 Jaffa Cakes a minute.[2]

Robert McVitie had two biscuit works at the head of Leith Walk in Edinburgh in 1870: 12 Antigua Street and 2 East London Street. McVitie lived nearby in a flat at 76 Broughton Street.[3]

The established Edinburgh biscuit company of Robert McVitie was joined in 1875 by Charles Edward Price to create McVitie & Price. On the death of Robert senior, Robert McVitie junior joined and the firm expanded. In 1888 they built the huge St Andrews Biscuit Works on Robertson Avenue in the Gorgie district of south-west Edinburgh.[4]

Though the original Gorgie factory burned down in 1894, it was rebuilt the same year and remained operative until 1969, when production ceased and operations were transferred to the English sites which had been established at Harlesden in 1910 and Manchester in 1917. The firm acquired the Edinburgh bakery of Simon Henderson & Sons in 1922.[1] McVitie & Price merged with another Scottish bakery company, Macfarlane, Lang & Co., Ltd, in 1948 to become United Biscuits Group.[5] McVitie's brand products are now manufactured in five United Kingdom factories: the two former McVitie & Price factories in Harlesden and Manchester, a former Macfarlane, Lang & Co. factory named Victoria Biscuit Works in Glasgow, a former Carr's factory named The Biscuit Works established 1831 in Carlisle, and the McVitie's Cake Co. factory (formerly Riley's Toffee Works) in Halifax.[6]

McVitie's chocolate digestive. First produced in 1925, travel writer Bill Bryson called it a “British masterpiece”. It is the most popular biscuit in the UK to dunk into tea.

McVitie & Price's first major biscuit was the McVitie's Digestive, created in 1892 by a new young employee at the company named Alexander Grant.[7] The biscuit was given its name because it was thought that its high baking soda content served as an aid to food digestion.[7] Grant was later to become managing director of the company, in 1923 he was the main benefactor in the establishing the National Library of Scotland giving an endowment of £100,000. Grant donated a further £100,000 in 1928 to assist with the building of the National Library premises on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh.[8]

The McVitie's Chocolate Homewheat Digestive was created in 1925. Over 71 million packets of McVitie's chocolate digestives are eaten in the United Kingdom each year, equating to 52 biscuits per second.[9] HobNobs were launched in 1985 and a milk chocolate variant followed in 1987.[7] Launched in 1927, Jaffa Cakes were ranked the best selling cake or biscuit in the UK in 2012.[10]

In 1947, McVitie & Price made the wedding cake for Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten.[11] Some of the products in the McVitie's line were rebranded McV in 2002, but this was replaced in 2005 with a restyled version of the McVitie's brand logo. In 2007, United Biscuits licensed the McVitie's brand to Meiji Seika Kaisha Ltd for biscuit production in Japan.[12]

McVitie's Hobnobs (plain). The chocolate version was named the UK's favourite biscuit in a 2014 poll.

In 2009, McVitie's biscuits were voted the most popular biscuits to dunk in tea, with McVitie's chocolate digestives, Rich tea and Hobnobs ranked the country's top three favourite biscuits in 2009.[13]

In March 2011, it was announced that Prince William had chosen a groom's cake for his wedding reception, made from 1,700 McVitie's Rich tea biscuits and 17 kg (37 lb) of chocolate.[14]

In June 2014, McVitie's announced their intention to make 157 shop floor roles redundant at their Manchester manufacturing facility.[15] This redundancy announcement was also due to the modernisation agenda of the company and also involves a move from an 8-hour 5 day operation, to a 12-hour 7 day operation.

In November 2014, United Biscuits, and hence also McVitie's, became owned by Turkish company Yildiz[16] which in 2016 grouped some of its subsidiaries including United Biscuits as pladis (see United Biscuits).

Product linesEdit


A 19th century McVitie & Price's Digestive biscuit tin, located in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Other snacksEdit

Mini Cheddars ("original" and "BBQ" flavours)
  • Cheddars
  • Mini Cheddars
  • Krackawheats
  • Victoria Biscuit Selection
  • McVities Digestive Slices
  • Breakfast
  • Nibbles (Digestive and Hobnob varieties)
  • Digestive Thins
  • Cracker Crisps

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b The National Archives of Scotland. "McVitie & Price, Ltd" (– Scholar search). Retrieved 2 November 2007.[dead link]
  2. ^ Wallop, Harry (6 May 2012). "Jaffa Cakes - definitely not biscuits - prepare to take on imitators". The Daily Telegraph. The factory, which covers more than 10 acres, produces 2,000 Jaffa Cakes a minute
  3. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1870
  4. ^ "McVitie's History | McVitie's UK".
  5. ^ United Biscuits. "Our History" (– Scholar search). Retrieved 6 November 2007.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Our Locations". United Biscuits. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  7. ^ a b c "Crumbs, we've been eating McVitie's Digestives and Hobnobs all wrong! Firm says chocolate part is the BOTTOM". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 28 December 2014
  8. ^ Macmillan, p.238-52
  9. ^ "McVitie's". United Biscuits. Archived from the original on 9 August 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  10. ^ "Jaffa Cakes - definitely not biscuits - prepare to take on imitators". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 28 December 2014
  11. ^ "Sixty facts about a royal marriage (item 43)". BBC News. 18 November 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  12. ^ "Japanese McVities Digestives". Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  13. ^ "Chocolate digestive is nation's favourite dunking biscuit". The Daily Telegraph (London). 2 May 2009
  14. ^ "Prince William's Groom's Cake". Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  15. ^ "157 jobs could go at McVities". Manchester Evening News. 19 September 2014.
  16. ^ Wood, Zoe (3 November 2014). "Jaffa Cakes and McVitie's maker sold to Turkish food group in £2bn deal". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "McVitie's Fruit Shortcake". McVitie's.
  18. ^ "McVitie's launches Tasties biscuits". The Grocer.
  19. ^ "United Bars are the eighties sweets we need to see back on our shelves," The Daily Edge, 9 February 2016

External linksEdit