Rural hero - Swizzels Matlow

Globally renowned sweet manufacture, Swizzels Matlow, is almost 100 years old and has been based in the rural location of New Mills since 1940. This heritage brand consistently features in Derbyshire's top 200 businesses and this year they're at number 59. For all these reasons, we're naming them our 'rural hero.'

Swizzels Matlow is England’s largest family-owned confectionery company. It had a turnover of £78.6 million in the 2018-2019 financial year, and employs 654 people. The company currently exports 20% of its products to more than 20 countries, mainly based in Europe.

Its current manufacturing facility, in the small town of New Mills in the High Peak, runs a 24-hour operation and produces over one million sweets per day.

Part of British culture since 1928

Swizzels Matlow is an iconic British brand steeped in nostalgia. The company is known for sweets that have become firm, childhood favourites like Love Hearts, Drumstick lollies, Parma Violets and Refreshers bars.

The original business, Matlow Bros. Ltd, was established in London in 1928 but moved to Derbyshire in 1940 (under the new name of Swizzels Ltd), after its factory was bombed in the Blitz. The company refurbished a former textile mill in New Mills and moved in. It was intended to be just a temporary move but thankfully for Derbyshire, it became a permanent one!

Swizzels Matlow has remained popular with children today by developing new products such as Squashies, Refreshers and Drumstick Choos. It also capitalised on the growth of Halloween in the UK by launching an extensive Halloween range. Halloween is now the main sales peak for Swizzels, followed by Christmas.

At the heart of the local community

Swizzels Matlow has become integral to the local community of the High Peak. It's the largest employer in the local area and most employees live close to the factory.

The firm says it is very proud of the fact that 35% of its work force have worked there for over 15 years and many have worked there for over 35 years. It employs many generations of local families and prides itself on its ability to retain staff and to enthuse the workforce. Swizzels also supports many local charities and events. 

Swizzels says it aims to support other British businesses and reports that 90% of its raw materials and packaging spend is UK based, with 20% sourced from the North West.

The firm is now expanding and is set to open a huge new facility in Middlewich, Cheshire later this year (2022), which will create a wide range of jobs that will aid the post-Covid recovery.