Quality Street

For a lot of people, the holiday seasons begin with the moment they buy a large tin of sweet assortment – that may or may not last them through the festivities.

This tradition dates back to the 1920s when tins of assortments became more affordable. In 1936 Mackintosh’s launched Quality Street, a mixture of eighteen different sweets, which sold for 6d a 1/4 lb. The promotional literature for the trade announced this new brand as ‘the greatest advance yet made for any assortment’.

This was at a time when there was a great nostalgia for the mid Victorian era when crinolines, stagecoaches and military men abounded – only natural for the design of the packaging to pick up on this sentiment.

In 1969 Rowntree merged with Mackintosh and then in 1988 Nestle took over Rowntree Mackintosh. Today the Quality Street tin still exists, containing 900g for £5, although a plastic tub (to the consternation of many) is also available at £4 containing 750g.

If you want a small tin with 240g contents, that might cost you £3, the same price as the standard box which holds 265g.

There is also a 500g pouch pack available at £3.50. N.B. Quality Street now contains twelve different sweets compared to the original eighteen. It’s a pick and mix – you make the choice.

Discover the fascinating history of consumer culture from Victorian times to the present day at the Museum of Brands.

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