Thursday, 15 May 2008

Where are the Ovaltinies?
One of the attractions of the rail journey into Euston used to be passing the Ovaltine farm and Art Deco factory in Kings Langley. Opened in 1913 by Wander Products of Switzerland, it was closed in 2002 with the loss of 245 jobs. The malted milk drink was invented in 1904 by - wait for it - Dr Wander. It achieved popularity with the Ovaltinies programme on Radio Luxemburg. Sir. Edmund Hilary took it on his Everest expedition in 1953 and it was the official Olympics drink during the 1930s and 1940s. When the transfer of production to Switzerland was announced in 2001 the Product Supply Director, Richard Whall, sair: "so far as the Ovaltine brand is concerned the consumer will not notice the difference" I expect the redundant staff noticed and certainly those passing the site by road, rail or canal might notice too.

It seems a shame to me that the 10 million jars of Ovaltine sold in the UK each year do not constitute a viable production volume and the result is more ribbon development along the English canals.

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