Quality Street - A Chocolate Revolution

After the death of John Mackintosh in 1920 his eldest son, Harold took over the business and like his father before him, Harold was something of a marketing genius and in 1936, just as John and Violet Mackintosh had unleashed the modern style of toffee onto the world their son revolutionised the way chocolate was manufactured and sold by inventing Quality Street in Halifax. Britain was still feeling the effects of the economic crash that had affected everyone at the beginning of the decade and only the rich could afford such delicacies as chocolates. Often the elaborate packaging cost more than the chocolates which, themselves, were made from the most expensive ingredients. Harold Mackintosh's aim was to invent a box of chocolates that working people could afford to enjoy. He realised that at times of struggle and conflict, as had been the case in Britain's recent history, people responded to nostalgia.
The name "Quality Street" came from a play by the author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie and the characters on the tin and packaging, Major Quality and Miss Sweetly become synonymous with the famous chocolates and toffees. On May 2, 1936 Harold Mackintosh took out an advertisement on the front page of the Daily Mail to launch the chocolates. In her poke bonnet, Miss Sweetly was depicted tempting Major Quality with a tin of the newly-launched sweets. "Sweets to the sweet, Miss Sweetly?" asks the Major, to which she proclaims: "Spare my blushes Major Quality, feast your eyes rather on this sumptuous array of toffees and chocolates... 'tis the most momentous thing that has yet happened in the world of sweetness." She then presents him with a "toffee creme brazil" which he declares "a veritable triumph!"
Harold wanted to cover different toffees with chocolate and then present them in an inexpensive but attractive container and instead of separating each individual chocolate, which would require more packaging at additional costs, he introduced new technology, the world's first twist-wrapping machine, to place each chocolate in a distinctive wrapper and then have them in a decorative tin. The use of a tin, as opposed to a cardboard box was another stroke of genius as the variety of chocolate smells burst out of the container when opened.
In 1950 the Quality Street brand was first exported to the United States,Quality Street grew to be the world's number one best selling chocolate assortment. Its current line up is as follows but there were others such as cracknel, coffee cream and lemon cream. Can you remember any others?
Toffee Penny - An original Mackintosh's toffee the size of an old fashioned penny
Toffee Finger - A long, thin sweet; like a little finger. It is solid toffee wrapped in a layer of milk chocolate
Toffee Deluxe - A delicious chocolate covered toffee
Caramel Swirl - circular milk chocolate with a liquid caramel centre
Milk Choc Block - a block of tasty chocolate
Vanilla Fudge - chocolate coated vanilla fudge
Coconut Éclair - if you like coconut then this is the one for you
Orange Chocolate Crunch - little pieces of crystallized orange in chocolate
Strawberry Delight - chocolate filled with strawberry cream
Orange Cream - dark chocolate covering a white, orange flavored interior
Green Triangle- a hazelnut noisette.
The Purple One - originally it was a brazil nut it is now a hazelnut in runny caramel wrapped in chocolate
click on the image to the left to listen to an audio version of the history

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