The Other Rowntrees

by Quinn

Fresh from the whole Sudan 1 scare, Premier Foods are currently withdrawing another product from our supermarket shelves, this time a rather more scary substance called “Jelly”. According to The Independent, Premier are axing the Rowntrees jelly brand, memorable in my youth for the “Shakin’ all over” advert (there’s tremors in the lemons, apparently). In future they will manufacture jelly under their Hartleys brand name.

The reason for this change is that while Premier own the Rowntrees name for jelly, Nestle own it for sweets such as fruit pastilles and fruit gums. It seems that this is a cause of confusion.

What confusion? How many people do you think wander into a shop looking for some nice, lovely Premier Foods Rowntrees jelly, and instead wander off with some nasty, evil Nestle Rowntrees fruit gums by mistake? Not very many, I suspect.

Put another way, how many people actually know that Rowntrees jelly and Rowntrees fruit pastilles are owned by different companies, and does it have any influence on their purchasing decisions? I very much doubt it.

So Rowntrees jelly will now be called Hartleys jelly; but isn’t that confusing. As far as I remember there used to be a company called Chivers Hartley, and they sold jelly under the Chivers brand name. Are Chivers Hartley now part of Premier Foods, and if so, why not resurrect the Chivers name for jelly?

I think some people at Premier Foods seem to have too much time on their hands, rectifying problems that don’t appear to exist. But what I really wonder is what is the point in running a company that goes around buying famous, historic brands if you are then going to ditch these very brands for no good reason?