A bite of bis­cuit his­tory


Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - ASIM PERACHA by qasim.peracha@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

A BBC pro­gramme aired last week re­vealed how the chocolate di­ges­tive and some of the UK’s other favourite treats are made.

The doc­u­men­tary ex­plored Europe’s largest bis­cuit fac­tory, based in west Lon­don, which churns out 80 mil­lion bis­cuits ev­ery day, chief among which is the uni­ver­sally adored chocolate di­ges­tive.

Greg Wal­lace re­ceived a tour of the Pladis McVitie’s fac­tory in Waxlow Road from Lau­rence Kothari, who has worked at the fac­tory for nearly 38 years to see how the bis­cuits are made.

Pro­duc­tion starts with the ar­rival of 28 tonnes of flour, rolled and turned into the bis­cuit with a layer of chocolate ap­plied to the bot­tom.

The fac­tory, which opened in 1902, em­ploys around 580 peo­ple and pro­duces 2,500 tonnes of bis­cuits ev­ery sin­gle week.

The Har­les­den fac­tory makes 22 dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties in to­tal in­clud­ing Hob­nobs, Rich Tea bisuits and savoury snacks like Mini Ched­dars.

Chocolate di­ges­tives have been baked at the site since 1925 with 13 mil­lion of the bis­cuit made ev­ery day. Mr Kothari said: “I was only meant to be here for six months but it was such a spe­cial place to work that here I am 38 years later. I think that’s down to the great peo­ple who I work with.

“There is no such thing as an av­er­age day, be­cause ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent. I never know what I’m go­ing to get, which is what makes the job chal­leng­ing, ex­cit­ing and fun.

“The most in­ter­est­ing part be­ing able to bring peo­ple’s ideas to life. If some­one has an idea for a im­prov­ing our pro­duc­tion, we’ll find an en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tion and make it hap­pen.”

The show was aired on BBC Two on Tues­day Au­gust 1 and is still avail­able to watch on iPlayer.

When asked about the de­bate over whether the hum­ble di­ges­tive re­ally needs chocolate adorn­ment, Mr Kothari said: “There’s some­thing spe­cial about a plain McVitie’s Di­ges­tive, but adding chocolate is never a bad idea.”

McVitie’s is owned by Pladis, an in­ter­na­tional com­pany which is head­quar­tered in Uxbridge. Pre­vi­ously on the show, Greg Wal- lace and co-pre­sen­ter Cherry Healey have pre­vi­ously delved into the fac- tories that make corn­flakes, baked beans and bread.

Greg Wal­lace and Cherry Healey at the Pladis McVitie’s fac­tory

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