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Jacob's "1885" registered trademark used on several lines of biscuits
Jacob's cream crackers

Jacob's is an Irish brand name for several lines of biscuits and crackers in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The brand name is owned by the Jacob Fruitfield Food Group, part of Valeo Foods, which produces snacks for the Irish market. The brand name is used under licence by United Biscuits, part of Pladis and by Mondelez International in Asia (which acquired Groupe Danone's biscuit division and with it, the rights to Jacob's biscuit brand in Asia).


View of the production floor, Jacob's Ireland factory, 1910

The originator of the Jacob's brand name was the small biscuit bakery, W. & R. Jacob, founded in 1851 in Bridge Street, Waterford, Ireland, by William Beale Jacob and his brother Robert. It later moved to Bishop Street in Dublin, Ireland, with a factory in Peter's Row. Jacob's Bishop Street premises was one of several prominent Dublin buildings occupied by rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916.

Jacob's first English factory was opened in 1914 in Aintree, Liverpool, and remains the primary producer of Jacob's products in the UK, including Cream Crackers and Twiglets.[1]

In 1922, a separate English company was formed, W. & R. Jacob (L'pool) Ltd.[2] The two branches separated, with the Dublin branch retaining the W. & R. Jacob name while the Liverpool branch was renamed Jacob's Bakery Ltd. In the 1970s, W. & R. Jacob in Dublin merged with Boland's Biscuits to form Irish Biscuits Ltd. and moved to Tallaght, a Dublin suburb. The Liverpool factory joined Associated Biscuits in 1960, which was purchased by Nabisco in 1982.[3]

In 1990, the two companies once again came under common ownership and became Jacob's Biscuit Group when they were acquired by the French company Groupe Danone. In July 2004, Groupe Danone and United Biscuits announced that they had made an agreement for the latter to acquire Jacob's Biscuit Group.[4][5] However, only days later, Groupe Danone, United Biscuits, and Fruitfield Foods announced that Jacob's Biscuit Group would be split, with United Biscuits acquiring only the UK portion of the Group and Fruitfield Foods acquiring the Republic of Ireland portion.[6][7][8] Fruitfield Foods was subsequently renamed the Jacob Fruitfield Food Group and is now part of the Valeo Food Group. Valeo Foods was established in September 2010 through the merger of Batchelors and Origin Foods.[9] In the meantime, Groupe Danone retained Jacob's brand ownership in Asia with manufacturing facility in Malaysia.

Since their acquisitions, United Biscuits and Jacob Fruitfield Food Group have been in a legal dispute over the use of the Jacob's brand name.[10][11]

With the acquisition of Groupe Danone's biscuit division by Kraft Foods in 2007, the production and sales of Jacob's biscuits in Malaysia are done through Mondelez Malaysia.

As of 2015, the Aintree factory produced over 55,000 tonnes of products each year,[12] and as of 2022 4,000 tonnes of crackers are produced annually at the factory.[13] In 2015, it received a £10 million investment from United Biscuits to further boost output.[14]

Industrial relations[edit]

The activist and trade union organiser Rosie Hackett worked for some years as a messenger for Jacob's. At that time the working conditions in the factory were poor. On 22 August 1911 Hackett helped organise the withdrawal of women's labour in Jacob's factory to support their male colleagues who were already on strike. With the women's help, the men secured better working conditions and a pay rise. Two weeks later, at the age of eighteen, Hackett co-founded the Irish Women Worker's Union (IWWU) with Delia Larkin. During the 1913 Lockout Hackett helped mobilise the Jacob's workers to come out in solidarity with other workers, they in turn were locked out by their own employers. In 1914 her Jacob's employers sacked her over her role in the Lockout.[15]

In 2009, after 156 years of making biscuits in Ireland, Jacob Fruitfield shut its Tallaght plant. 220 jobs were lost while the company retained around 100 staff in a variety of roles.[16]

In November 2022, workers at the Aintree factory went on strike after pay negotiations with management since September of that year failed to reach an agreement, and the company temporarily shifted production to Portugal. Staff at the factory are supported in the ongoing strike by the GMB union.[13]


Toppable crackers[edit]

  • Cream Crackers
  • Biscuits For Cheese
  • Savoury Favourites
  • Flatbreads
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Mixed Seeds
  • Crispbreads
    • Chive
    • Mixed Seed
    • Mixed Grain
  • Ciabatta
    • Sundried Tomato & Basil
    • Original
  • Krackawheat
  • Choice Grain
  • Sourdough
  • Butter Puffs
  • Cornish Wafers
  • High Fibre

Snackable crackers[edit]

  • Savours
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Sour Cream & Chive
    • Cheese
    • Sweet Chilli
  • Cheddars
    • Pickle
    • Cheese
    • Smoky BBQ

Mini Cheddars[edit]

  • Mini Cheddars Original 6 Pack
  • Mini Cheddars Red Leicester 6 Pack
  • Mini Cheddars Smoky BBQ 6 Pack
  • Mini Cheddars Nacho Cheese & Jalapeño
  • Mini Cheddars Chipotle Chicken Wings
  • Mini Cheddars Lime & Chilli
  • Mini Cheddars Strathdon Blue Cheese
  • Mini Cheddars Dragon's Breath Chilli Cheddar
  • Mini Cheddars Ploughman's Cheshire Cheese

Mini Cheddars Sticks[edit]

  • Rich & Tangy Cheddar
  • Grilled Cheddar & Sizzling Steak

Cracker Crisps[edit]

  • Salt & Vinegar
  • Sour Cream & Chive
  • Sour Cream & Chive Caddies


  • Variety Pack (6 Pack including 2 × Cheese & Onion, 2 × Chilli Beef and 2 × Salt & Vinegar)
  • Cheese & Onion 6 Pack


  • Twiglets Multipack
  • Twiglets Caddies


  • Cheeselets Caddies
  • Cheeselets 125g

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "United Biscuits celebrates centenary at Jacob's Aintree factory". United Biscuits. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  2. ^ The History of Advertising Trust (10 June 2011). "1958 Jacobs Club Biscuit (00_00_1958 HAT_20_01)". Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  3. ^ Liverpool Record Office (13 August 2011). "W & R Jacob Ltd.; 1839-". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Groupe Danone Sells Biscuit Operations in the UK and Ireland" (Press release). Groupe Danone. 23 July 2004. Archived from the original on 16 May 2006. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  5. ^ "UB to Acquire Jacob's" (Press release). United Biscuits. 23 July 2004. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  6. ^ "Groupe Danone Has Just Finalized the Sale of its Biscuit Operations in the Republic of Ireland (W & R Jacob Ltd.) to Fruitfield Foods Ltd" (Press release). Groupe Danone. 3 August 2004. Retrieved 30 October 2007.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Update on UB's Acquisition of Jacob's" (Press release). United Biscuits. 3 August 2004. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  8. ^ "Fruitfield Foods Buys W&R Jacob" (Press release). Jacob Fruitfield Food Group. 3 August 2004. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  9. ^ "Origin Foods & Batchelors merge to form Valeo". RTÉ News. 10 September 2010.
  10. ^ RTÉ News (1 October 2007). "Legal Battle Over Fig Roll Packaging". RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  11. ^ RTÉ News (3 October 2007). "McVitie's Ordered to Change All Packaging". RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  12. ^ Bowman, Jamie (29 May 2015). "Celebrate National Biscuit Day with a look at Aintree's iconic Jacob's cracker factory". Liverpool Echo.
  13. ^ a b "Staff at Jacob's Cream Crackers Aintree factory go on 'permanent strike'". The Guardian. 14 November 2022.
  14. ^ Gleeson, Bill (18 August 2015). "Jacobs' owner United Biscuits pledges to secure the future of its Aintree Cream Cracker factory". Liverpool Echo.
  15. ^ "A working class hero, and a woman to boot: A child of the Dublin tenements, Rosie Hackett put her life on the line for justice" (Document). ProQuest 1428199903. {{cite document}}: Cite document requires |publisher= (help)
  16. ^ "Jacob's ends production after 156 years". RTÉ News. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2009.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]