Batchelors is a brand of predominantly dried food products. It was formerly a company founded in 1895 in Sheffield, England. The company now makes Pasta and Rice dishes like "Pasta 'n' Sauce" and "Super Rice" along with instant soup, in particular Cup A Soup and noodle products such as Super Noodles. The company is the UK market leader in dried soups. The most popular flavour Cup A Soup is Minestrone.
Also, Batchelors is a manufacturer & distributor of ambient food and drinks in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The UK Batchelors brand (above) has no relation to Batchelors Ireland which is Irish owned and based in Cabra, Dublin. In 2010, Batchelors Ireland merged with Origin Foods, the food division of Irish-based Origin Enterprises Plc to create Valeo Foods.
William Batchelor was born in Habrough, Lincolnshire, in 1860 to Ellen, née Hudson, and James Batchelor, a farm worker who later had his own farm. William discovered a way to can vegetables such as mushy peas and formed Batchelors Foods in 1895. He died in August 1913 whilst on holiday in Bridlington. He was 53. His daughter Ella (who became Ella Gasking), aged 22, took over leadership of the company and developed it to include processed peas, Batchelors eventually becoming a household name.
Due to staff difficulties and rationing in the war, the company was bought by James Van den Bergh of Unilever in 1943, where it became part of Van den Bergh Foods (later based in Crawley). In 1948, Ella Gaskin retired and her younger brother Maurice Batchelor took over. The company took over Poulton and Noel, another soup company. In 1949, the first dried soup, chicken noodle flavour, was sold. In 1972, Cup A Soup was launched.
In January 2001, Unilever took over Bestfoods. To be allowed to take over the American company, Unilever had to sell off some brands for monopoly regulation. It sold off Batchelors and Oxo to the UK subsidiary of the Campbell Soup Company.
Unilever retained ownership of the 'cup-a-soup' brand in America and Australia, rebranding them under Lipton and Continental respectively.
In 2006, Campbell's soup withdrew from the UK market, and sold its assets, including Batchelors, to Premier Foods. The Campbell's name was licensed to Premier Foods until 2008, following which Campbell's Soup was rebranded as Batchelors.
In 2008, Batchelors was rebranded with a new logo.
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