Traditional British mint balls prove a hit with Japanese market

A reported surge in demand for British sweet Brand Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls has resulted in a near shortage of supplies for Japanese customers, who have placed renewed orders for the renowned sweets.

The Wigan-based company is now supplying an urgent order for 1,200 packets and 672 tins of traditional mint balls and 720 packets of sugar free mint balls after Tokyo residents became enamoured of the classic snacks.

As the business explained, the order from Japanese  importer and distributor Beau & Bon Ltd, follows on from an initial order for almost 6,000 tins and bags of traditional and sugar free Mint Balls last November to help meet the country’s demand for quality British products.

John Winnard MBE, joint managing director of Uncle Joe’s, said: “British premium brands are very much in demand in Japan, especially when they have history and tradition.

“Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls fits that demand perfectly, along with things such as English tea, Cornish fudge and Welsh jam, and the fact that country has now run out of mint balls shows how popular they are, with hopefully more orders to follow.”

The initial deal was secured after Beau & Bon saw Uncle Joe’s products at The Summer Fancy Food Show, the largest specialty food industry event in North America, held in New York in June 2019.

Beau & Bon Ltd managing director Maeda Mitsuhiro signed the deal after visiting The Toffee Works, the Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls factory in Wigan. The brand is made by William Santus and Co Ltd, a privately-owned traditional sweet company that was established in 1898. The ownership has been passed down through the family generations. The Mint Balls are still manufactured using the same traditional methods as when Mrs Santus originally made the sweets in her kitchen in 1898.

He saw how the sweets were manufactured and met Joint Managing Directors Antony Winnard and John Winnard MBE, the great, great nephews of the company’s founder, William Santus. The completely natural “secret recipe” which is suitable for vegans and vegetarians has been passed down through the family generations.

Furthermore, the business has also enjoyed recent success amid the coronavirus pandemic, with sales of a range of alcohol-flavoured sweets rising by 20 per cent while the UK’s pubs were shut due to measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

The world famous premium sweet brand said demand for its apple cider, dark rum, rhubarb and ginger gin, and wildberry gin flavours has been maintained despite venues reopening their doors in the past two weeks. They are now investing in the range and have appealed for suggestions regarding other pub favourites to expand its series further.

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