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Wagon Wheels are a snack food sold in Australia, Canada, Iran, Malta, Ireland, Russia, the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom. They are biscuits topped with marshmallow and covered in a chocolate flavoured coating. The biscuit itself is round to represent the wheel of a wagon (hence the name).
Wagon Wheels were created by Garry Weston, (son of W. Garfield Weston). Garry Weston worked for his father's business in Australia before taking over his family's UK business. The biscuits were first launched at the 1948 Olympia Food Fair. The name was derived from the fact that the Wild West was very popular at the time. They were originally marketed as Weston Wagon Wheels.
Production and Size
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In the United Kingdom they are produced and distributed by Burton's Foods who separated from the Weston family connection when they were sold out of Associated British Foods in 2000. The original factory which produced the biscuit was in Slough but during the early 1980s were transferred to an updated and modern factory in Llantarnam in South Wales. Weston had been producing biscuits on the Slough site since 1934 and the Llantarnam site since 1938.
There have been many debates amongst fans of the biscuit about its size. Wagon Wheels have shrunk in size as time has progressed, but Burton's Foods Ltd have admitted this. It has been suggested that the supposed shrinkage is due to an adult's childhood memory of eating a Wagon Wheel held in a much smaller hand. In Australia however, Arnott's have stated that tray packs of Wagon Wheels were in fact Mini Wagon Wheels and have re-released the original 48g Wagon Wheels.[broken citation]
The original factory in Slough produced the biscuit with crinkled edges and corn cobbs rather than the updated smoother edges. This caused the overall diameter of the biscuit to shrink slightly, but not as much as fans of the biscuit believe.
Also, although the UK Wagon Wheel has barely shrunk, it is still noticeably smaller than the Australian equivalent. As of 2006 the diameter of the Australian version is measured at 88 mm which is 14 mm larger than the UK version, while the UK Wagon Wheel is notably thicker by 4 mm.
As of 2006, the Canadian Wagon Wheel measured 67mm x 18mm, but was reduced to 65mm x 16mm in 2010. Note the diameter of the marshmallow middle is smaller than the top and bottom wafer diameters.
British comedians Hale and Pace used Wagon Wheels in their recurring "Curly & Nige" sketches, as the Curly and Nige characters won Wagon Wheels from each other by doing self-mutilating and dangerous bets.
Wagon Wheels were "re-launched" in 2002.
Previous slogans for the product have been:
- "A taste for adventure."
- "If there's a bigger bite, it can't be found."
- During the 1960s the slogan in Australia was "It's more than a biscuit, it's a mighty big snack!"
The current slogan is "You've got to grin to get it in".
The original wagon wheel which is now called "chocolate" had a marshmallow centre and not a jam centre.
- Chocolate-coated marshmallow treats - other similar products
- Weston family
- Choco Pie - a similar Korean product
- Moon pie
- "Wagon Wheels". Practically Edible. September 4, 2010. Retrieved February 02, 2011.
- Benjamin Wootliff (31 Oct 2000). "Wagon Wheels roll west as ABF sells Burton's". Daily Telegraph.
- "1900 - 1945". Slough History. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- "Cwmbran: Llantarnam - The Biscuit Factory and Brickworks". Industrial Monmouthshire - The Leftovers. Phil Jenkins. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- GWF Media Announcement 29th August 2006
- Arnotts Wagon Wheels