First-class travel sweets win award at international show

ONE of Sheffield's longest-established family firms has licked the opposition to take international honours.

Hillsborough-based sweet company AL Simpkin's has scooped the Best New British Product award for its Dr Stuart range of herbal sweets at the world's biggest confectionery show in Cologne.

Managing director Adrian Simpkin said: "It's great to be able to show that a family company founded in 1921 is still coming up with award-winning new ideas.

"We've already had huge interest in the Dr Stuart's range and hope that this award will have even more buyers beating a path to our door."

One of Sheffield's lesser-known success stories, the tinned sweets are available in small chemists, GT News, WRVS hospital canteens, garages and travel terminals and are sold in 40 other countries.

They can be found as own-label brands in Harrods and Culpepper's.

The history of the sweets can be traced back to when Leslie Simpkin earned the Military Cross in World War One and was given glucose liquid to aid his recovery.

Finding it wasn't available in solid form, he decided to make travel sweets with his gratuity.

A fine tradition was born. Simpkin's sweets were sucked by WWII fighter pilots, taken on Concorde's maiden voyage and eaten on the summit of Everest by Sir Edmund Hilary.

"We get letters from all over the world but not many from Sheffield," said Mr Simpkin, joint managing director with his sister Karen, grandchildren of the founder, Leslie.

The new herbal sweets, with ingredients including echinacea and manuka honey, were launched last year.

The company, which employs 50 people at its premises in Hunter Road, is now preparing to launch Simpkin's Seriously Sours, described as 'the world's first radically sour travel sweets,' targeting younger customers.

They can photograph themselves sucking on a Seriously Sour, download their pictures to a website and the best will be featured on tin labels.

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