Walnut Whip-story

By Alex Hutchinson, Nestlé UK Archivist and Historian

16 August 2017 See comments (26)
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***IMPORTANT NOTICE: following many, many, comments I'm updating the blog to reassure you: we have NOT got rid of the Walnut on the Walnut Whip, we've just intruduced some new flavours IN ADDITION to the Walnut one (which still has it's walnut). If you have bought a Whip without a walnut you've just bought one of the other flavours that we now make for people who don't like walnuts; you can still buy a Walnut Whip with a walnut, the Walnut Whip hasn't changed, we've just added to the range. We're glad that so many people care so much about one of our oldest products. ***

 

Your love for our brands is, as always, overwhelming and reassuring. Today it’s the turn of the Walnut Whip to feel your support and before I start I want to reassure all loyal readers (and whip fans) that we haven’t dropped the walnut from the Walnut Whip; it’s still there and you can still buy it in all its beauty and mystery. However, for your delight and delectation we have also launched a selection of whips in flavours other than walnut, so now you can also share your love of the whip with your friends who don’t like walnuts.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to the knotty topic of the history of the beloved Walnut Whip.

The long-accepted history of the Walnut Whip goes a little something like this: in 1910 a firm called Duncan’s of Edinburgh began making the Walnut Whip in their Beaverhall Road factory. It was jolly popular (understandably so) and Rowntree’s of York bought the firm, and the Walnut Whip along with it.

The name of Duncan’s appeared on the Walnut Whip for the last time in 1966 and from then on it was known as Rowntree’s Walnut Whip. When Nestlé bought out Rowntree’s in 1988 they inherited the Whip and created a few extra non-walnut whips to add to the family (like the Lemon Whip in 2000 which was topped with a slice of lemon, and the Maple & Pecan Whip in 2002 which was topped with – surprisingly – a pecan nut).

Some people remember a distant time (before The Summer of Love) when the Walnut Whip boasted not one, but two walnuts, and this is where the history of the Whip gets both complicated and (for archive geeks like me) rather exciting, because some new evidence has only recently come to light which has been a total secret until now.

Back in 1927 Rowntree’s bought Duncan’s, but decided to place control of the company in the hands of a Rowntree appointee, so that Duncan’s could continue to operate, effectively, as a separate company. This would have worked better if they hadn’t been making an identical product to each other, and competing with each other over it.

Yes, that’s right, Rowntree’s bought a company that made an almost-identical product to them, but they both continued to make those products and to compete with each other. The story gets even more eccentric when a third company (Shuttleworth’s – which was also owned by Rowntree’s) launched their own Walnut Whip in 1931. Back in the inter-war years Britain appears to have been gripped by a veritable Walnut Whip fever; and previously unseen Rowntree’s board minutes reveal that Rowntree’s were annoyed by it.

We don’t know exactly when Rowntree’s started making a whip, but this photo (which for various reasons must have been taken between 1906 – 1914 – let me know in the comments section if you want to nerd-out with me over the exact year) is our earliest evidence of a Walnut Whip production line at the Rowntree’s factory in York, and we know that a recipe from 1911 has been found in the effects of a former Rowntree’s employee. So we can safely say that Rowntree’s and Duncan’s had been making the product for a similar length of time.

In 1930, Rowntree’s decided to make their Walnut Whips (or Whipped Cream Walnuts as their version was called) bigger and added a double walnut. By May 1931 the Rowntree’s board of directors was excited about the success of the double-walnut line, but annoyed that their subsidiary companies were making competing products. They decided that they would talk about how it made them feel at their next Marketing Conference, but this doesn’t seem to have made much difference because Duncan’s continued to make their Walnut Whip until 1966.

It was in that momentous year of the English World Cup win that we saw the last of the double walnut on the Walnut Whip. According to the archive records production lines were moved around at Duncan’s to make room for the Fruit Polo, and the Duncan’s Walnut Whip changed its name, and became a single-walnut treat.

The brand has seen many flavour variants (coffee, plain chocolate, maple, and lemon, to name but a few) but rest assured that it is still available in all its walnutty glory for you to wrap your tongue around. And on that note, I think it’s time to walk down to the corner shop.

  1. Ruth @ No

    13 Oct 2017 - 09:15 (GMT)

    I loved hearing the story of the Walnut Whip! I was so disappointed to learn earlier today of the removal of the walnut, can't believe there used to be one inside as well! MY friend loved the idea of the coffee one -what a shame we weren't alive for them! Thanks for the fun article :)


  2. Nicki @ No

    20 Nov 2017 - 14:54 (GMT)

    Can you bring back the coffee walnut whip please


  3. Alan @ No

    28 Nov 2017 - 13:42 (GMT)

    Nestle certainly know how to lose a customer-base and reputation their predecessors worked so hard to build. With today's automated manufacturing, you'd think they could manage Coffee, Dark chocolate, White chocolate, Orange...

    "so now you can also share your love of the whip with your friends who don’t like walnuts". You can share them with friends who don't like traditional-sizes of confectionery, or the taste of real chocolate.

    Buy a packet of Walnuts (or Pecans) and insert your own once you've bitten into it.


  4. sharon @ no

    11 Dec 2017 - 18:19 (GMT)

    why did you stop selling the coffee walnut whip, and are you ever going to sell it again?


  5. Alex Hutchinson - Archivist and Historian @ Nestlé

    03 Jan 2018 - 16:54 (GMT)

    Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for your question. I don't believe we've made the coffee flavoured Whips since the 1970s. Usually when our products are discontinued it's because consumer's tastes have changed and that product isn't popular any more. However, I'll let the brand manager know that you were asking for it.

    Kind regards,

    Alex


  6. Nicola Bradford @ No

    24 Apr 2018 - 19:53 (GMT)

    I can’t remember the coffee flavour was still around in the late 80’s maybe even the 90’s and it was the most amazing treat. I was so disappointed when it was discontinued and would love to see it back on the shelves (with or without a walnut) please please please bring it back


  7. Susan Wright @ No

    02 Mar 2018 - 20:33 (GMT)

    The plain chocolate and coffee walnut whip was amazing! Imagine it nowadays with an Americano coffee!


  8. Katy Voisey @ No

    19 Dec 2017 - 20:17 (GMT)

    My mum remembers the second walnut and is quite strong in her opinion that it should still be there


  9. Grace Gomez @ No

    26 Dec 2017 - 22:54 (GMT)

    Very disappointed! Just opened what I though was a walnut whip to find there was no walnut!


  10. Alex Hutchinson - Archivist and Historian @ Nestlé

    03 Jan 2018 - 16:33 (GMT)

    I'm sorry to hear that Grace, I've sent your message to our Consumer Services department and they should be in touch with you direct.


  11. sonia morris @ No

    07 Jan 2018 - 23:23 (GMT)

    I bought a triple box of what I thought were walnut whips only to find the walnut missing, the reason I buy walnut whips is because I love the walnut and I can actually remember the original double walnut whip, it was bad enough when one of the walnuts was removed from the double, now no walnut at all. I for one won’t be buying them anymore as the best pat of it has been taken away.


  12. Alex Hutchinson - Archivist and Historian @ Nestlé

    16 Mar 2018 - 15:43 (GMT)

    Dear Sonia,

    Thank you for leaving a note on the blog. I hope to reassure you that there has been a mistake and that we have not got rid of the Walnut on the Walnut Whip, we've just introduced some new flavours in addition to the Walnut one (which still has it's walnut). If you have bought a Whip without a walnut you've just bought one of the other flavours that we now make for people who don't like walnuts; you can still buy a Walnut Whip with a Walnut, the Walnut Whip hasn't changed, we've just added to the range. We're glad that so many people care so much about one of our oldest products.

    Kind regards,

    Alex


  13. debs @ no

    13 Jan 2018 - 19:37 (GMT)

    Got to agree with others asking about the return of the coffee walnut whip....why not bring it back? was a special treat for me growing up, and was my mams absolute favourite. Why not poll the population and go from there? x


  14. Jo Gardner @ No

    26 Jan 2018 - 20:59 (GMT)

    I would gladly pay more for a walnut, you’ve missed the point it’s the bitterness with the sweet that’s the joy, it’s like Gin without the tonic no point!
    Even better as they used to be one inside too😀


  15. Alex Hutchinson - Archivist and Historian @ Nestlé

    16 Mar 2018 - 15:44 (GMT)

    Dear Jo,

    Thank you for leaving a note on the blog. I hope to reassure you that there has been a mistake and that we have not got rid of the Walnut on the Walnut Whip, we've just introduced some new flavours in addition to the Walnut one (which still has it's walnut). If you have bought a Whip without a walnut you've just bought one of the other flavours that we now make for people who don't like walnuts; you can still buy a Walnut Whip with a Walnut, the Walnut Whip hasn't changed, we've just added to the range. We're glad that so many people care so much about one of our oldest products.

    Kind regards,

    Alex


  16. Tracie - No @ No

    27 Jan 2018 - 15:09 (GMT)

    The coffee flavour, by far was the best one, but it had to have a walnut ! I used to get disappointed,when sometimes there was only half a walnut, so you can imagine how i feel with no walnut ! Please bring back the coffee ones with a walnut, or better still with 2 or 3 !
    Orange would be nice too !
    Kind regards
    Tracie


  17. Alex Hutchinson - Archivist and Historian @ Nestlé

    16 Mar 2018 - 15:46 (GMT)

    Dear Tracie,

    Thank you for leaving a note on the blog. I hope to reassure you that there has been a mistake and that we have not got rid of the Walnut on the Walnut Whip, we've just introduced some new flavours in addition to the Walnut one (which still has its walnut). If you have bought a Whip without a walnut you've just bought one of the other flavours that we now make for people who don't like walnuts; you can still buy a Walnut Whip with a Walnut, the Walnut Whip hasn't changed, we've just added to the range. We're glad that so many people care so much about one of our oldest products.

    Kind regards,

    Alex


  18. Anjie Wilmerson @ No

    05 Feb 2018 - 13:59 (GMT)

    I have just been discussing the ridiculous situation of Walnut Whips no longer having walnuts with my colleagues in my office. The unanimous opinion is that this is just yet another indication of how pathetic sales have become. Businesses are so damn desperate to adhere to every stupid bit of hand-holding that well-loved, and long standing products are now being significantly reduced in quality and appeal.

    Just yet another product that many customers will no longer buy. What next? No more nuts in Marathon (sorry! Snickers) bars? No more nuts in Ferrero Roche? No more nuts in bags of freakin' nuts??

    It's not escaped the buying public that the size and quality of products is being reduced to increase profit margins - but when AN INTEGRAL INGREDIENT of a product is totally removed, that's another big black mark against a company. Good going Nestle.


  19. Alex Hutchinson - Archivist and Historian @ Nestlé

    16 Mar 2018 - 15:48 (GMT)

    Dear Anjie,

    Thank you for leaving a note on the blog. I hope to reassure you that there has been a mistake and that we have not got rid of the Walnut on the Walnut Whip, we've just introduced some new flavours in addition to the Walnut one (which still has its walnut). If you have bought a Whip without a walnut you've just bought one of the other flavours that we now make for people who don't like walnuts; you can still buy a Walnut Whip with a Walnut, the Walnut Whip hasn't changed, we've just added to the range. We're glad that so many people care so much about one of our oldest products.

    Kind regards,

    Alex


  20. Mandy Johnson-Barlow @ No

    12 Feb 2018 - 20:15 (GMT)

    Where have the Walnuts gone!!
    Bought a 3 pack and realised they're now called Whips.


  21. Alex Hutchinson - Archivist and Historian @ Nestlé

    16 Mar 2018 - 15:49 (GMT)

    Dear Mandy,

    Thank you for leaving a note on the blog. I hope to reassure you that there has been a mistake and that we have not got rid of the Walnut on the Walnut Whip, we've just introduced some new flavours in addition to the Walnut one (which still has its walnut). If you have bought a Whip without a walnut you've just bought one of the other flavours that we now make for people who don't like walnuts; you can still buy a Walnut Whip with a Walnut, the Walnut Whip hasn't changed, we've just added to the range. We're glad that so many people care so much about one of our oldest products.

    Kind regards,

    Alex


  22. Anthony Mcdonnell - no @ no

    16 Mar 2018 - 11:24 (GMT)

    why has the walnut vanished from walnut whips


  23. Alex Hutchinson - Archivist and Historian @ Nestlé

    16 Mar 2018 - 15:50 (GMT)

    Dear Anthony,

    Thank you for leaving a note on the blog. I hope to reassure you that there has been a mistake and that we have not got rid of the Walnut on the Walnut Whip, we've just introduced some new flavours in addition to the Walnut one (which still has its walnut). If you have bought a Whip without a walnut you've just bought one of the other flavours that we now make for people who don't like walnuts; you can still buy a Walnut Whip with a Walnut, the Walnut Whip hasn't changed, we've just added to the range. We're glad that so many people care so much about one of our oldest products.

    Kind regards,

    Alex


  24. sharon settle - NA @ no

    22 Mar 2018 - 09:26 (GMT)

    COFFEE! COFFEE! COFFEE! COFFEE! .... Trial a comeback ...see how successful it is ... I alone have awaited its return... i would buy up the whole store in 1 go, and that's just ME. It seems you have many other patient devotees waiting too... so whats stopping you ? DO IT !!!


  25. Anita Leyman @ No

    22 Apr 2018 - 19:05 (GMT)

    Oh for goodness sake just bring back the coffee walnut whip. My son just treated me to 2 boxes of caramel whips - not a patch on the coffee ones . Also they look stupid without the nut on the top. Put a pecan nut on the top please as I am allergic to walnuts.

    Please listen to what everyone is saying they are not whips they are walnut whips - or could be pecan whips!!!!


  26. Jen @ No

    28 Apr 2018 - 17:16 (GMT)

    BRING BACK THE WALNUT!

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