A glimpse into a bygone era of confectionery

Even while on holiday, it seems as though the confectionery world is rarely far behind in some shape or another.

In this instance, my family travels in the South West have taken me to the glorious window into a far vanished Victorian age in the form of Bygones museum in Torquay.

This treasure trove of delights takes in a huge array of interests, from World War One memorabilia, through to offering something of a guilty pleasure for railway buffs seeking to experience some of the sights and sounds of yesteryear with some fine miniature model locomotives.

But among the absolute jewels in this ‘Tardis-like’ building that seems to go on forever, are most definitely its sections dedicated to confectionery from the last century. This includes some of Britain’s most famous names, including early incarnations of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk special collections, Rowntree’s, Nestle, and Mars, as well as early examples of Swiss favourites such as Toblerone.

These, and many more besides, are all on display in a recreated Victorian sweet shop full of humbugs, gobstoppers, and a dizzying array of treats that hail from an era where taste was absolute king, and issues such as monitoring of sugar content was not even remotely a consideration.

The 21st century sweets market certainly has a far greater range of considerations within the complete production value chain, from the technologically-advanced automated equipment that is used to produce ranges in vast quantities, to the significant improvements that have been introduced in terms of ethical and environmentally sensitive sourcing policies, it’s certainly a far more complex world that we are now living in.

Times have certainly changed massively over the past century in the way that we consume products across confectionery, snacks and bakery markets, but having the chance to gain an appreciation of how the world was for our great-great-grandparents’ generation definitely offers some food for thought.

Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production

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Confectionery Production