17 Dec
Exploring Tunnock's History and Iconic Sweet Treats

Nestled in the heart of Scotland, Tunnock's stands as a national institute, weaving a delightful tapestry of tradition, quality, and innovation. Since its inception in 1890, this family-owned confectionery company has captivated taste buds with its iconic sweet treats, earning a special place in the hearts of locals and international enthusiasts alike.

In this post, I will be delving into the fascinating history of Tunnock's and its classic range of delightfully indulgent biscuits, including the Teacake, Caramel Wafer, Wafer Cream and Snowball.

Tunnock's Caramel Wafer

The History

Tunnock's journey began in Uddingston, a small town near Glasgow, when Thomas Tunnock opened his first bakery. What started as a modest enterprise, soon blossomed into a renowned confectionery empire under the guidance of Thomas's grandson, Boyd Tunnock.

Prior to establishing his own bakery, Thomas Tunnock completed his apprenticeship at Aberdour Bakery. Through diligent effort, Thomas saved sufficient funds to acquire a bakery in Uddingston, in December 1890.

In the 1900's, Tunnock's was a bakery, selling freshly baked bread rolls and cakes to the local village, It was run by Thomas and his son, Archie (who was born in 1895), with the help of local workers.

In 1910, the bakery was destroyed by a fire, but undeterred, Thomas built a new bakery at Loanhead Mansions in the main street, which opened in 1912, and featured a new Tearoom. 

Thomas sadly died at the young age of 54 in 1920, leading to the closure of the bakery. However, Archie opened a new bakery with his Mother in 1921.

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We have Archie and his son, Boyd, to thank for the Tunnock's classic biscuits range that we still adore today. It was during the 1950s that many of these were invented and introduced.

The first commercial product was the Caramel Wafer, which launched in 1952. This was followed by the Snowball in 1954.

The success of these products set the stage for Tunnock's to further expand its repertoire, with the Caramel Log introduced in 1955.

The company's signature product, the now legendary Teacake, made its debut in 1956. It was Archie's son, Boyd, who invented this particular biscuit. The meringue-filled, chocolate-coated treat quickly became a symbol of Scottish culture and a beloved snack around the world. 

With the company's popular biscuits finding new markets, during the 1960s, the factory was extended twice.

Since the 20th century, Tunnock's has continued to grow, reaching new marketplaces across the globe. In 2019, their annual turnover passed £60 million, creating a new milestone for the company.

Close-up of an unwrapped Tunnock's Teacake, with wrapped teacakes in the background.

The Biscuits

The Iconic Teacake

The Tunnock's Teacake, often referred to as the "national treat of Scotland," has achieved legendary status. A soft and fluffy marshmallow dome rests upon a crumbly shortbread biscuit base, all enrobed in a thin layer of milk chocolate. 

The distinctive red and gold packaging, adorned with the company's logo, has become instantly recognisable, making the Teacake a symbol of Scottish heritage.

Buy Teacakes

The dark chocolate Teacake is less popular and, therefore, harder to find, but is my preferred choice. It comes in a blue and gold wrapper and features a luxurious dark chocolate coating, adding a sophisticated twist to the beloved original. A six-pack is no longer widely available to buy at British supermarkets, but can be bought online from select websites such as The House of Bruar and Booths.

How many calories are in a Tunnock's Teacake?

Each 24g teacake contains 442 KJ and 106 kcal, which is considerably less than most chocolate bars, making it a great choice as a light sweet treat, providing you only eat one! Each 100g serving contains 1840 KJ and 440 kcal.

Lyons Tea Cakes and Biscuits

A stack of 3 Tunnock's Dark Chocolate Caramel Wafers, in blue, yellow and white wrappers.

The Caramel Wafer

Another jewel in Tunnock's crown is the Caramel Wafer, a layered confection consisting of crisp, wafer-thin biscuits sandwiched with creamy caramel and coated in a thin layer of milk chocolate. There is also a dark chocolate version. This timeless treat has a satisfying crunch that complements the sweetness of the caramel, creating a harmonious balance that has delighted generations.

Buy Caramel Wafer

Mini Caramel Wafer Tub

The newest addition to the range was added in 2023. The tub is filled with miniature-sized Caramel Wafers, and is perfect for family occasions such as parties and picnics.

The Wafer Cream

Five layers of wafer and four layers of chocolate flavoured cream filling, all fully coated in real milk chocolate. That description alone has me salivating, and as biscuits go, it's up there with the best of them.

Snowballs

First introduced in 1954, the Snowball is made from a soft marshmallow that melts in your mouth, fully coated in chocolate and sprinkled with moist coconut.

Tunnock's Snowballs in box, and one outside of the box in wrapper, and one sliced in half

Caramel Log

Invented in 1955, the Caramel Log is similar to the Wafer, featuring layers of wafer and caramel that are coated in milk chocolate. However, it features the addition of a gorgeous toasted coconut topping. Each biscuit contains 627kJ and 150 kcal.

We hope you have gained pleasure from reading about the history of Tunnock's and their iconic biscuits. You may also like our 5 Essential Facts About Blue Riband Biscuits

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