|Place of origin||Australia, Canada, United Kingdom|
|Created by||Arnott's Biscuits, Burton's Foods|
|Main ingredients||Marshmallow, chocolate-flavoured coating|
|Variations||Jammie, Toffee, Double Choc, Caramel, Banoffee|
Wagon Wheels are a snack food sold in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland and other Commonwealth countries. They consist of two biscuits with marshmallow sandwich filling, covered in a chocolate-flavoured coating.
Wagon Wheels were created by Garry Weston, son of W. Garfield Weston. Garry Weston worked for his father's business in Australia before taking over his family's business in England. The biscuits were launched at the 1948 Olympia Food Fair. The name (originally "Weston Wagon Wheels") relates to the shape of the biscuits and capitalized on the Wild West, which was popular in mass media at the time.
Production and size
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. 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. Weston had been producing biscuits on the Slough site since 1934 and the Llantarnam site since 1938.
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. 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.
The original factory in Slough 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.
Also, although the UK Wagon Wheel has barely shrunk, it is still noticeably smaller than the Australian equivalent. 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.
Advertising and Popular Culture
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.
Wagon Wheels were "re-launched" in 2002.
Previous slogans for the product have been:
- "A taste for adventure."
- "If there's a bigger bite, it can't be found."
- During the 1960s 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 on offer, "Eat the Wagon Wheel!"
The current slogan is "You've got to grin to get it in".
Wagon Wheels were chosen by Judge Paul Hollywood as the technical challenge for the first 2018 episode of the Great British Bake Off.
The original wagon wheel which is now called "chocolate" had a marshmallow centre and not a jam centre.
- "Wagon Wheels". practicallyedible.com. 4 September 2010. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "GWF Media Announcement 29 August 2006".
- Benjamin Wootliff (31 Oct 2000). "Wagon Wheels roll west as ABF sells Burton's". Daily Telegraph.
- "1900 - 1945". Slough History. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "Cwmbran: Llantarnam - The Biscuit Factory and Brickworks". Industrial Monmouthshire - The Leftovers. Phil Jenkins. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "Arnotts Wagon Wheels".
- "Old Mother Goose, York Theatre Royal, review". www.independent.co.uk. 18 Dec 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2016.