Pick and Mix remains as popular today as ever. It seems that, despite health and dietary concerns, we still have a sweet tooth to be satisfied.
Today, the Pick and Mix market includes traditional Pick and Mix, loose sweets and a growing ‘Retro’ market for the type of boiled sweets, liquorice, bonbons etc that people used to buy ‘by the quarter’ (ask you dad, or granddad)
The origin of Pick and Mix
It is a well-known fact that Pick and Mix began in USA thanks to legendary retailer Frank Woolworth. The Woolworth Museum details how Pick and Mix was an essential ingredient of his first store in 1886 and by 1910 they were also a part of their UK chain, using sweets soured and made in the UK. Although shoppers in the early stores marvelled at the selection, cramming bags at the personal service counter, the firm only adopted the customer nickname ‘pic’n’mix’ in the 1950s, years after it was first used.
By the 1930s Woolworth’s had established themselves as the UK’s leading confectionery retailer and Pick and Mix was a major bestseller.
Pick and Mix and cinemas soon became synonymous, not always to the advantage of cinema goers who tended to feel they paid over the odds for the privilege of filling their paper bags before the start of their movie.
Woolworths closed in November 2008, but this merely temporarily halted the growth of Pick and Mix sweets. With high margins, the product range found itself in more and more locations: retailers, of course but also petrol forecourts, theatres, charity events and fundraisers, weddings and kids parties.
This century has seen the appearance of many Retro confectionery shops, both in the High Street and online. The non-individually wrapped market is valued at around £800m so it is easy to see why so many people want a ‘bite’ of the market. Storing, dispensing and displaying is low-cost with a wide range of Pick and Mix stands, sweet dispensers and sweet stands available.
More Pick and Mix
We like two web pages for lovers of Pick and Mix. This buzzfeed page ranks many of the sweets from worst to best (feel sure you may not agree entirely) http://www.buzzfeed.com/robinedds/the-definitive-ranking-of-pick-n-mix-sweets-from-worst-to-be#.jy2gNYL7R and this page from Mental Floss helps you work out the cost of each sweet so you can always get your money’s worth http://mentalfloss.com/uk/food/29806/how-much-do-individual-sweets-in-pick-mix-cost