Bisto is a well-known brand of traditional British foods in the United
Kingdom, most famous for its gravy products.
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The very first
Bisto product, in 1908, was a meat-flavoured gravy
powder, which rapidly became a bestseller in the UK. It was added
to gravies to give a richer taste and aroma. Invented by Messrs
Roberts & Patterson, it was named "Bisto" because it "Browns,
Seasons and Thickens in One".
Bisto Granules, which dissolve in hot water to form a gravy
substitute, were introduced in 1979. As of 2005,
have a British market share in excess of 70%. Most UK grocery
outlets stock a
The famous red packets are the "favourite" flavour, purportedly beef
flavour (although it contains no beef).
Bisto also comes in varieties
to accompany chicken, turkey, lamb, and other meats.
Bisto launched a new, more expensive, beef-like granule.
Packaged in a glass jar, it offered a fuller flavour than the standard
granule. Fuller flavour chicken and onion variants were added in 1993,
and the whole range was relaunched as
Bisto diversified into chilled and frozen products by
Bisto Roast Potatoes,
Bisto Frozen Mashed Topped Pies.
Bisto also makes a range
of sauces, including white sauce, cheese sauce, curry, and parsley
sauce in granulated form, as well as a range of casserole sauces, all
in glass jars.
Bisto is notable both for the age of its brand and for the advertising
campaigns it has used. In 1919, the
Bisto Kids (created by illustrator
Will Owen (1869–1957) ) appeared in newspapers and soon became
Bisto Kids were a boy and girl in ragged clothes, who
would be illustrated catching the odour of
Bisto on the breeze and
exhale longingly, "Aah, Bisto!"
Birmingham in the 1930s a competition was held to choose a name for
Bisto twin characters, a boy and a girl smelling Bisto's
gravy. The competition was won by Mr and Mrs Simmonds, who named the
twins after themselves, calling them Bill and Maree. They were awarded
a china doll.
Bisto Kids were also part of more elaborate advertising campaigns
in later years. Although the
Bisto Kids have not been included in
Bisto advertising since 1996, many people still recognise them.
During the 1980s, the company released a series of ads in the UK which
featured a song that included the recurring phrase, "Never in a month
of Sundays". In 1984
RHM Foods launched a nationwide competition to
find children to act the role of the
Bisto Kids, the recurrent "The
Bisto Kids of the Year Awards". The first ever competition was won by
Hayley Griffiths and Jimmy Endicott from Doncaster. They were six
years old at the time and became the faces of Bisto, both for public
relations and marketing events, and also appeared in an advert shown
on prime time TV to find the next
The company sponsors the
Bisto Book of the Year Awards in the Republic
The latest campaign for
Bisto encourages families to sit up at the
table for one night a week to eat 'proper' food.
Bisto has had several owners since its creation. It is currently owned
by Premier Foods, which acquired
Bisto when it bought Rank Hovis
McDougall in March 2007 to form the largest UK foods manufacturing
Bisto's main competitor is
Goldenfry Foods Ltd, which makes a branded
gravy as well as most supermarket own-brand gravies.
^ Ferrell, O.C.; Fraedrich, J. (2009). Business Ethics 2009 Update:
Ethical Decision Making and Cases. Cengage Learning. p. 114.
ISBN 978-1-4390-4281-6. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
^ a b
ACNielsen Total Grocers MAT 2005.
^ "198: Will Owen (1869-1957) "Ah! Bisto"
Bisto for all me". Retrieved
11 December 2015.
^ Rebecca Fowler (23 October 2011). "Ah!
Gravy train over for Bisto
kids". The Independent. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
Goldenfry - Case Study - Ripe Design London, Leeds, Cape Town A
creative web, print and new media design agency Archived 2008-02-16 at
the Wayback Machine.
Bisto brand page at
Premier Foods website
Bisto for Caterers on the
RHM Foodservice website
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