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The humble digestive has had more than one image makeover during its 125-year history
The iconic biscuits were first advertised as a cure for indigestion when they were cooked up in 1892.
Their health benefits came from the ingredient sodium bicarbonate which is still used as an antacid.
Makers McVitie & Price, as the company was then known, stressed their wholesome patriotism – proudly using British wheat instead of imported grain like other biscuit makers.
Advertising from the 1930s and 1940s featured rosy-cheeked children to emphasise their nourishing qualities while a 1950s housewife put digestives at the top of her shopping list.
Original McVitie’s digestives have truly stood the test of time and remain one of the UK’s favourite biscuits even 125 years on
Kerry Owens – Marketing director
Things took a racy turn in the 1990s – when actress Jane Asher was literally poured into a chocolate “dress” to emphasise the biscuits’ seductive side, but the brand returned to its family image with adverts featuring puppies.
McVitie’s has released the vintage images to celebrate 125 years of the snack, coinciding with National Biscuit Day today.
Marketing director Kerry Owens said: “Original McVitie’s digestives have truly stood the test of time and remain one of the UK’s favourite biscuits even 125 years on.
McVitie’s poster for its digestive bisuits
“This collection of adverts through the ages not only offers an intriguing insight into British culture but also the original McVitie’s digestive’s strong place in it.”
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Britain scoffs more than 70 million packets of chocolate digestives each year – an average of 52 biscuits per second.
The chocolate is actually on the bottom of the biscuit, meaning that most of us eat them the wrong way up.
Digestives were invented by 27-year-old Alexander Grant, who had turned up at the company’s factory in Edinburgh five years earlier looking for a job. Grant, who was later knighted, had the idea of using coarse brown flour to give his new biscuit its distinctive flavour and texture.
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McVitie’s digestive biscuit poster from the 1990s
The combination of a treat that did you good made the digestive an instant hit.
But it was only in 1925 that someone had the genius idea of adding a little luxury by coating one side of it in dark chocolate.
Milk chocolate for those with a sweeter tooth followed.