Quiz: How much of a Rowntree’s expert are you?

The shape of York chocolate. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski / PA
9 May 2020 @ 12.21 pm
| Quiz

Snack titans Rowntree’s conquered the sweet-toothed world from humble beginnings in York.

But how well do you know the company and its products? Can you distinguish between a jelly tot and a pastille?

Now’s your chance to find out. Let us know how you get on…

Rowntree’s quiz

1. Let's start at the beginning. As of 2020, how many years ago was Rowntree's founded?

1. 138
2. 158
3. 178
4. 198

It's 158

Henry Isaac Rowntree founded the company way back in 1862, the same year in which Les Miserables was first published, the Battle of Baton Rouge took place and venerated artist Gustav Klimt was born.

2. In 1971, Rowntree Mackintosh made an unsuccessful bid for what surprising food brand?

1. Marmite
2. Hellman's
3. Bovril
4. Pot Noodle

It's Bovril

The now-defunct Cavenham Foods pipped them to the post on this occasion. Though such a salty drink may have stuck out from the Rowntree's portfolio, the above advert from 1931 shows that Bovril could also be consumed within with a nice glass of milk. 'High nutrition' indeed.

3. Which of the following Rowntree’s products came out first?

1. Kit Kat
2. Aero
3. Fruit Pastilles
4. Smarties

It was Fruit Pastilles

Fruit Pastilles became a huge seller for the company upon their initial release in 1881, a full eighteen years before Rowntree's first chocolate bar hit the shelves. Both Kit Kats and Aeros made their debut in the apparent annus mirabilis of 1935, whilst Smarties weren't introduced until 1937.

4. In the early 1990s, Rowntree's advertised Fruit Gums on TV with a boy and his pet called Kevin. What sort of animal was Kevin?

Photograph: Wikimedia Commons
1. A fruit bat
2. A unicorn
3. A rock
4. A python

Kevin was a fruit bat

In one advert, a boy with an intimidating Cockney accent attempts to conceal his Fruit Gums from his leathery friend by only whispering their name. This elaborate ruse fails, and the clip ends with the slogan 'You can't fool a fruit bat'. The ad execs must have been on a sugar high themselves the day this bizarre concept was greenlit.

5. In the late 19th century, Rowntree's released Oxchocolate, a blend of chocolate and 'meat extract'. According to the packaging, which groups of people were its intended audience?

Photograph: York Castle Museum
1. Roustabouts, merrymakers and scoundrels
2. Travellers, cyclists and invalids
3. Housewives, milliners and clergymen

It was intended for travellers, cyclists and invalids

Though why Rowntree's assumed those disparate groups of people wanted meaty chocolate, I have no idea. 

6. Which of the following shapes was NOT added to Rowntree's Randoms in 2019, as part of their tenth anniversary celebrations?

Photograph: Rowntree's
1. Gnome
2. Hashtag
3. Flamingo
4. Ice cream cone

It's the ice cream cone

The ice cream cone has been a part of Rowntree's Randoms since the product launched in 2009. There are apparently billions of possible combinations in every bag - apart from in 2012, when one lucky individual won £10,000 for finding a pack containing all red sweets.

7. Which of the following is NOT currently the colour of a Smartie?

Photograph: Needpix
1. Blue
2. Green
3. Brown
4. White

It's white

Originally called 'Chocolate Beans', Smarties come in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink and brown varieties. When Nestle removed all artificial colourings from Smarties in 2006, blue ones were temporarily replaced by white until a natural blue dye was found.

8. Which of the following is NOT a real Kit Kat flavour in Japan?

Photograph: Wikipedia
1. Baked sweet potato
2. Sake
3. Grilled sardine
4. Wasabi

Grilled sardine is the fake flavour

According to Wikipedia, you can also get varieties including pumpkin, European cheese, green bean and cough drop. As Justin Bieber famously sang, they got that yummy-yum, that yummy-yum, that yummy-yum. That said, I personally quite like the sound of the sake one.

9. According to the Rowntree's website, in what year was this startling advert produced?

Photograph: Rowntree's
1. 1920
2. 1930
3. 1940
4. 1950

It was 1950

This ecstatic Aryan child apparently received Fruit Pastilles in his Christmas stocking back in 1950. It would have been a huge treat back then - confectionery rationing continued in the UK until 1953.

10. One famous old Yorkie advert featured a billboard in York Station reading 'Welcome to York'. What did the slogan underneath say?

Photograph: Pixabay
1. Where the men are spunky and the chocolate's funky
2. Where the men are hunky and the chocolate's chunky
3. Where the men are hasty and the chocolate's tasty
4. Where the men are creeps and the chocolate's cheap

'Where the men are hunky and the chocolate's chunky'

Very nice of Rowntree's to give the average York male a much-deserved ego boost, especially through the use of 'hunky', a saucy seaside postcard word if ever there was one. Needless to say, not much of old Yorkie advertising remains de rigeur. You can just make out the slogan in the above picture.

11. You can today buy a cereal based on what classic Rowntree Mackintosh chocolate bar?

Photograph: Peaxpx
1. Aero
2. Lion bar
3. After Eight
4. Yorkie

It's Lion bar cereal

For ambitious young professionals who want peak performance in the morning. Only 30g of sugar per 100g of cereal!

12. In 2013, Nestle uploaded images of vintage Rowntree's chocolate and sweet wrappers online for what purpose?

Photograph: Nestle
1. To trigger memories among dementia sufferers
2. To help solve a 90-year-old murder case
3. To celebrate women's contribution to the war effort
4. So people could vote on whether to bring them back

It's to prompt happy memories among those with dementia

Ancient Aero, Chocolate Pie and Motoring Chocolate packaging is available to download as part of a 'reminiscence pack' intended to bring back long-term memories and provide sensory stimulation for dementia patients.

13. According to the Castle Museum, this tin of Rowntree's Elect Cocoa survived what historical event?

Photograph: York Castle Museum
1. The sinking of the Titanic
2. The Battle of the Somme
3. Kitchener's Boer War campaign
4. Shackleton's Antarctic expedition

It was Shackleton's 1909 polar expedition

According to a handwritten note on the side, it was an unused ration on Sir Ernest Shackleton's failed 1909 expedition to the South Pole.

14. Launched in 1933, Rowntree's Black Magic cost the equivalent of £5 in today's money. Before then, boxes of chocolates could cost up to how much?

1. £50
2. £150
3. £300
4. £500

It was £300

Sexy-sounding flavours included Raspberry Heaven, Dreamy Fudge and Caramel Caress. 

15. Finally, what colour is the bottom ring on a Fruit Pastille ice lolly?

Photograph: Pxfuel
1. Yellow
2. Purple
3. Red
4. Green
5. Orange

It's yellow

Misguidedly, I always thought. Who wants to save the yellow pastille flavour till last? The misery is compounded by putting purple, the best flavour, on top. Disgraceful scenes. Writing a furious letter to Julian Sturdy as we speak.

All 15 questions completed!


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