Wigan schoolboy gets sweet job as new chief taster for Uncle Joe's Mint Balls

A Wigan schoolboy has landed every child’s dream job – as chief taster at a sweet factory.
Ethan Rowbotham, 10, at the Toffee Works where Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are madeEthan Rowbotham, 10, at the Toffee Works where Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are made
Ethan Rowbotham, 10, at the Toffee Works where Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are made

Ethan Rowbotham, from Standish, was appointed after an appeal for volunteers by Wigan’s world-famous confectionery maker Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls.

The 10-year-old will be joined by five people of all ages to help taste prototype sweets and put forward their own ideas, as well as give feedback on existing varieties.

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Bosses at Uncle Joe’s decided to appoint Ethan as chief taster after being “bowled over” by his ideas and enthusiasm.

They invited him to start his new role with a tour of their Toffee Works factory.

Ethan, a pupil at Wood Fold Primary School, said: “I entered the competition because I am excited to taste new flavours. Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are my favourite because I like the sweet taste and when I crunch it, I like the explosion of mint. I’m so excited to go around the factory.”

His proud mum Lisa said: “Ethan was so excited when we told him he had been asked to be chief taster. He worked hard on his application, thinking of all the reasons why he would be perfect for the job. We are incredibly proud and happy for him.”

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In his application, Ethan said: “I love sweets and Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are my absolute favourite.

“I have good ideas for new mint balls, such as a summer tropical edition that consists of mango, pineapple, passion fruit, jack fruit and dragon fruit.

“I also think winter editions that include pomegranate, spiced pear and plum flavours would also be good. We could also have spring editions that include cherry blossom and apple blossom.

“It would be great to have a Christmas pudding-flavoured mint ball at Christmas.

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“I have plenty of other ideas of flavours, so please consider me and thank you for reading my email.”

The chance to become a member of the tasting panel was open to people of all ages, including children, and follows the overwhelming response from Uncle Joe’s fans to social media posts about new products and innovations.

John Winnard and Antony Winnard, Uncle Joe’s joint managing directors, said there had been a huge number of applications and nominations.

They said: “It was an incredibly difficult task to try and select the successful applicants as everyone was so enthusiastic, but Ethan stood out from the rest and had some brilliant ideas.

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“We can’t wait to begin working with him, and he has already been to the Toffee Works factory to see how our sweets are made.”

Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are made by Wigan-based William Santus and Co Ltd, a traditional sweet company was established in 1898.

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