About Symington’s LTD

We have been producing great tasting food for over 185 years, since William Symington founded the company in 1827 and shortly after applied for the patent to produce soup from Pea Flour. Our history travels via the Crimean war, via Gracie Fields advertising onto our present state.

 

We are a branded convenience food business that strongly believes convenience doesn’t mean compromise on taste. We produce the great tasting cup soup that keeps you warm on a rainy day; the couscous that makes your meal exotic; the baking kit that helps your kids take their first steps into baking; the croutons to make your salad special; the hot snack that transforms your lunch break and the pasta sauce made to Mama Cantisanos specification.

 

In short we try to help you live your life healthily and with full taste, but try to make it easy.

 

Here you can read a bit more about us.

A Brief History of Symington's

1827 - The Beginning

William Symington, a young canny Scot who was both a businessman and an inventor, moved to the Midlands in 1827 to make his fortune. He founded the original company selling Tea, Coffee and groceries.

William forged a company with the belief that he could transform the diets of people across the country through his passion for creating excellent dried foods that are also convenient to prepare.

1852 - The Invention of Pea Flour

One of William’s most notable successes was the creation of pea flour, which became a mainstay in Victorian & Edwardian kitchens across the country for providing nutritious soups and broths.

From the remarkable invention of pea flour enabled soup to be made in just one minute by simply adding boiled water.

1854 to 1856 - Pea Flour & the Crimean War

Symington's pea flour was particularly popular with the military and it became a main part of the diet of British troops fighting in freezing conditions in the Crimean War.

1898 - Company Founder Dies

Company founder, William Symington dies and is succeeded by his son Samuel, who focuses on growth through Pea Flour & Coffee Markets.

1901 - First to Market with Healthy Products

Symington's were among the first manufacturers to promote the benefits of a healthy diet with their Egyptian food range (prepared with lentils from Egypt), which won high praise from the medical journal The Lancet in 1901.

1904 - Scott of the Antarctic

Britain's great explorers also recognised the benefits of Symington's foods and in 1901 the company supplied pea flour to Scott's Discovery Antarctic Expedition. Describing in his diary 'A lot can be done with the addition of a little boiled pea meal'

Fifty years later, when one of Scott's food stores was discovered, the supplies of pea flour were still in perfect condition!

1907 - Symington's Emerges as Innovators of Dried Foods

Symington's became the cook's friend in the cupboard, by developing a range of Soups (8 varieties), Granulated Gravy Improver, Custard Powder, Blancmange Powder, Table Jelllies, Lemonade crystals and Table Creams. Some of these products are still manufactured by Symington's today!!!

1909 - First Major Consumer Promotion

Carrying on the success of his father (Samuel), Howard Watson Symington leads the company with it's first major coupon based consumer promotion using Dame Ellen Terry in all advertisement material.

1927 - Symington's Centenary Year

Symington's celebrates it centenary and in the same year takes part in the Market Harborough Carnival

1936 - Symington's becomes a Major Brand

Symington's has it's first front page advert in the Daily Mail as advertises in many magazines, papers, London buses and the Underground.

Symington's soups become a major brand with the company having recipe books, it's own radio show and competitions that used major personalities including Gracie Fields.

The company also commissioned Mabel Lucie Attwell, the children's book illustrator (Alice in Wonderland) with the creation of 'Susie' a little girl who starred in the company's posters and adverts.

1960 - Company Changes Focus

With the death of Howard Watson Symington, leadership falls on fifth generation Symington Michael. The business focus changes to producing supermarket 'Own Label' Brands.

1971 to 1975 Leaders in Supermarket 'Own Label' NPD

One of the first unique products was a development for Marks & Spencer who wanted a dessert like ‘’strawberries and cream’’. By innovating it’s production process was able to produce sachets of the fruit mix.

Symington’s was approached by dieticians at Addenbrokes Hospital, Cambridge in developing an easily reconstituted dry mix in a range of flavours for seriously obese patients. This then became the Cambridge Diet and had considerable success for some years.

1977 - Company Celebrates 150 years

An exhibition was set up in the Harborough Theatre for two days so that past and present employees could find out more about the history of the company and see some of the artefacts. Some of these are now part of Harborough museum's permanent collections.

1990 - Dominates 'Own Label' Soup

The company developed it’s ‘Own Label’ Soup business to become the leading manufacturer for the UK retail trade supplying customers such as Tesco, Co-op, Asda & Waitrose to name a few.