|Fate||Acquired in 1988|
|Key people||Henry Isaac Rowntree
Rowntree Mackintosh was a confectionery business based in York, England. It is now a historic brand owned by Nestlé, used to market a range of fruit gums and pastilles formerly owned by Rowntree's. Following a merger with John Mackintosh & Co., the Company became known as Rowntree Mackintosh, was listed on the London Stock Exchange, and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It was acquired by Nestlé in 1988.
Rowntree's was founded in York in 1862 by Henry Isaac Rowntree, who bought a chocolate company from the Tuke family. In 1869, he was joined by his brother, the philanthropist Joseph Rowntree. The original factory was in the centre of the City of York, by the River Ouse at Tanners Moat, but was relocated in 1906 to Haxby Road in the north of the City.
In 1947, Rowntree's took over W & M Duncans, a Scottish chocolate manufacturer based in Edinburgh, the factory based at Beaverhall Road continuing to produce until rationalisation of production in 1987.
The company merged with Mackintosh's in 1969, to become Rowntree Mackintosh. Rowntree was responsible for such chocolate favourites as Kit Kat, Smarties, Aero and Black Magic, plus other products such as Fruit Pastilles and Fruit Gums while John Mackintosh and Co. produced Rolo, Munchies, Caramac and Quality Street. The same year, Hershey entered a licensing agreement with Rowntree Mackintosh to introduce Kit Kat and Rolo in the United States.
The company went public in 1987, and was the subject of a takeover battle between Nestlé and Jacobs Suchard in 1988. Nestlé eventually won control with an offer valuing Rowntree at $4.5 billion. Nestlé originally acquired the business to secure the five principal brands: Kit Kat, Aero, Polo, Fruit Pastilles, and Quality Street. Polo is the best selling brand of mint in Britain.
The takeover was controversial, as Nestlé was effectively protected from similar takeover attempts under Swiss law. After the Nestlé takeover, the Rowntree chocolate ranges began to use the branding "Nestlé Rowntree", before eventually the Rowntree name was dropped from the packaging altogether, except on Rowntree's Cocoa and the "Fruit Pastilles" and "Fruit Gums" lines. The "Mackintosh" branding was dropped from all former Rowntree Mackintosh products except for Mackintosh's Toffee.
In April 2012, Nestlé launched a new jelly sweet under the Rowntree's brand, "Fruit Bottles".
Current branded products
- Rowntree's Fruit Gums
- Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles
- Rowntree's Tooty Frooties
- Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles Body Parts (discontinued in UK)
- Rowntree's Beetles and Butterflies
- Rowntree's Fruity Frogs
- Rowntree's Xtra Sour Spiders
- Rowntree's Wiggly Worms
- Rowntree's Bursting Bugs (discontinued in UK)
- Rowntree's Megabeans (discontinued in UK)
- Rowntree's Tooty Frooties
- Rowntree's Pick & Mix (consists of Fruit Pastilles, Fruit Gums and Tooty Frooties)
- Rowntree's Cocoa
- Rowntree's Jelly Tots
- Rowntree's Randoms
- Rowntree's Randoms Squidgy Speak
- Rowntree's Juicy Jellies (discontinued in UK)
- Rowntree's Sour Pastilles
- Rowntree's Fruit Bottles
The Rowntree brand is also used on a number of ice lollies (made by Richmond Foods) for Nestlé. The brand has a similar marketplace to that of the Trebor Bassett division of Cadbury's, and competes head-to-head with this company in a number of fruit-gum categories.
- History of Nestlé Rowntree
- New York Times Archive, Company news; Suchard Drops Out; published 25 June 1988, accessed 26 August 2007
- UK: Nestlé Rowntree – A bittersweet tale.
- Rowntrees: Fruit Pastilles
- Rowntrees: Fruit Gums
- Here's looking at chew The Grocer, 31 May 1997
- Terry's chocolate melts away
- Guardian Unlimited website (Guardian newspaper): 645 jobs lost as Nestlé ships Smarties abroad; published 21 September 2006, accessed 26 August 2007
- Nestlé UK to roll out Rowntree Randoms