THE confectioner behind the famous Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls is expecting growth and international sales after investing £100,000 in a new piece of kit.
William Santus & Co Ltd recently installed the SCHIB-C090E mini-flow wrapping machine, set to replace the four existing machines which currently operate at a fourth of the production rate.
Yorkshire Bank provided asset finance to support the capital spend on the new machinery. The deal was arranged by Paul Williams, relationship manager at Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Bolton.
Co-directors John and Antony Winnard brought in the machine all the way from Italy and it wraps their world-famous confectionary in hermetically-sealed micron-welded polymer.
The livered coverings should ensure that the mints retain their hardness and freshness for much longer: particularly handy as they are exploring markets in the Far East where folk with little disposable income, may be buying the sweets individually.
But first William Santus and Co has been trialling its new packaging at Fifteens at the Fox – the Roby Mill-based hostelry of bar chain boss Tony Callaghan – where they are being offered as complimentary after-dinner mints.
John Winnard said: “Our new machine wraps 2,000 sweets a minute – a huge improvement on the old machines. The only problem now is that we have got to sell them just as quickly!
“Not only is it fast though, it also properly seals the sweet so it lasts longer. Of course when Uncle Joe’s were first sold back in the 19th century they were loose and shovelled into a paper bag, but even the twist wraps we have used for many a year do sometimes come undone.
“Our mint balls are very hygroscopic, which means they absorb moisture from the atmosphere and eventually go soft. Anything that protects them from the atmosphere for as long as possible is a positive.
“We have been exploring certain markets, including Thailand where shoppers might not always have a lot of money and so the sweets will be sold as single counted products. It is even more important to keep them tightly wrapped there then.”
Mr Callaghan has certainly been won over. He said: “I think they are onto a winner.
“The new wrappers look absolutely fantastic and they are going down very well with the customers.”