After seeing Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles appear in the excellent Sunday Times column The God Of Small Things, we decided it was time to tell the story of how the Rowntree’s brand came into being. This is the first in a series of posts telling the story of how our best brands were developed.
Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles and Gums were, surprisingly, not invented by a Rowntree. They were developed back in the days of Tanner’s Moat factory (one of the early Rowntree’s factories in York), when the business was struggling financially. The Rowntree brothers made the decision to hire a Frenchman named Gaget in 1879 to try to develop a new pastille to sell to chemist shops; that decision probably saved the firm from financial collapse (and not for the first or last time). The French were the dominating force in the pastille market, but the Rowntrees managed to turn a profit on their pastilles and things slowly started to look up.