Wagon Wheels

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Wagon Wheels
Wagon Wheel.JPG
Wagon Wheel
TypeSnack food
Place of originAustralia, Canada, United Kingdom
Created byArnott's Biscuits, Burton's Foods
Invented1948; 73 years ago (1948)
Main ingredientsMarshmallow, chocolate-flavoured coating
VariationsJammie, Toffee, Double Choc, Caramel, Banoffee, Orange

Wagon Wheels are a sweet snack food sold in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, other Commonwealth countries like New Zealand and India, and also in the Republic of Ireland (which is not a part of the Commonwealth). They consist of two British biscuits that form a sandwich with a marshmallow filling, and they are covered with a chocolate-flavoured coating.[1]

Wagon Wheels were invented by William Peschardt, who sold the patent to Garry Weston, son of W. Garfield Weston.[1] Garry Weston worked for his father's business in Australia before taking over his family's business in England. He placed two Marie biscuits around a marshmallow filling and covered it with chocolate. They were introduced in 1948.[2] The name (originally "Weston Wagon Wheels") relates to the shape of the biscuits and capitalised on the Wild West, which was popular in mass media at the time.

Production and size[edit]

In Australia, Wagon Wheels are now produced by Arnott's Biscuits. George Weston Foods Limited sold the brand to Arnott's in August 2003.[3][full citation needed]

In the United Kingdom Wagon Wheels 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.[4] The original factory which produced the biscuit was in Slough but during the early 1980s production was transferred to an updated and modern factory in Llantarnam in South Wales.[1] Weston had been producing biscuits on the Slough site since 1934[5] and the Llantarnam site since 1938.[6]

In Canada, Wagon Wheels were originally produced by McCormick's, however they are now under the Dare Foods Limited name.[1] They come in Original, Fudge, Choco Cherry, and Raspberry flavours.[citation needed]

There have been many debates amongst fans of the biscuit about its size. Wagon Wheels have supposedly shrunk in size over time, but Burton's Foods Ltd has denied this.[7] 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; this argument is perhaps moot, as it does not explain why the modern Wagon Wheel appears to be fatter than the original. Furthermore, in Australia, Arnott's has stated that tray packs of Wagon Wheels were in fact 'Mini Wagon Wheels' and have re-released the original 48g Wagon Wheels.[8][full citation needed]

The original factory in Prestonpans 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.[citation needed]

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.[1]

Advertising and popular culture[edit]

The British comedians French and Saunders made a sketch with Jennifer Saunders dressed as a schoolgirl stuffing a Wagon Wheel into her mouth.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Wagon Wheels are thrown into the audience by Berwick Kaler during the annual York Theatre Royal pantomime.[9]

Wagon Wheels were "re-launched" in 2002.[citation needed]

Previous slogans for the product have been:

  • "A taste for adventure."
  • "If there's a bigger bite, it can't be found."
  • During the 1980s the slogan in Australia was "It's more than a biscuit, it's a mighty big snack!"
  • "Eat the Wagon Wheel!" was the catchcry of a campaign where viewers were informed of what items were typically available as snacks in countries where Wagon Wheels were not available. The voiceover would then ask which you would rather eat. Then the reply would come from, for instance, one of the pickled herrings, or snails, on offer, "Eat the Wagon Wheel!" (The snails spoke with a French accent.)[citation needed]

The current slogan is "You've got to grin to get it in".[citation needed]

Wagon Wheels were chosen by Judge Paul Hollywood as the technical challenge for the first episode in series 9 of The Great British Bake Off.[10]


The original wagon wheel which is now called "chocolate" had a marshmallow centre and not a jam centre.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Wagon Wheels". practicallyedible.com. 4 September 2010. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  2. ^ "Wagon wheels". Biscuit people. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  3. ^ "GWF Media Announcement 29 August 2006". Archived from the original on 11 December 2006. Retrieved 1 November 2006.
  4. ^ Benjamin Wootliff (31 October 2000). "Wagon Wheels roll west as ABF sells Burton's". Daily Telegraph.
  5. ^ "1900–1945". Slough History. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  6. ^ "Cwmbran: Llantarnam – The Biscuit Factory and Brickworks". Industrial Monmouthshire – The Leftovers. Phil Jenkins. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  7. ^ Sandhu, Serina (23 August 2018). "Great British Bake Off 2018: Why Wagon Wheels are called Wagon Wheels (and other interesting facts)". i News. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Arnotts Wagon Wheels".
  9. ^ Brown, Jonathan (18 December 2014). "Old Mother Goose, York Theatre Royal, review". Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  10. ^ "The Great British Bake Off 2018: episode one – as it happened". Guardian. 28 August 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.

External links[edit]