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Unilever Heartbrand logos.png
Heartbrand logo accompanying various brands of Unilever ice creams
Type Private limited company
Industry Food
Founded 1786
Founder(s) Richard Wall
Headquarters London, England
Area served Ice cream: Global
Meat products: UK
Products Ice cream, meat products
Owner(s) Unilever (ice cream)
Kerry Group (meat products)
Website (ice cream) (meat)

Wall’s is a United Kingdom-originated food brand, covering both meat products and ice cream, owned by Unilever. Founded in London in 1786 by butcher Richard Wall,[1] it was acquired in 1922 by Lever Brothers, which became a part of Unilever in 1930. To avoid summer lay-offs due to the down turn in its core meat products market, Wall’s launched a range of ice cream in 1922. Unilever sold off the meat products business and a licence to use the Wall’s brand on such within the United Kingdom in 1996 to Kerry Group. Wall’s itself is now core to Unilever’s Heartbrand global ice cream business, used currently in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia,[2] Maldives, Mauritius, Pakistan,[3] Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.



[edit] History

In 1786, Richard Wall opened a butcher’s stall in St James’s Market, London. Selling meat and meat products, he gained a reputation for being a fine pork butcher. In 1812, Wall received the first Royal Appointment to George, Prince of Wales as “Purveyor of Pork,” continuing to serve him through his later reign as King George IV.[4]

In 1817 his son, Thomas Wall, was born, followed in 1824 by a daughter, Eleanor. Wall’s business boomed, and in 1834 he moved to new premises at 113 Jermyn Street. However, he died the same year, leaving his widow, Ann, and the 17-year-old Thomas to run the business, now trading as Ann Wall and Son.[4]

Two years later, in 1836, Ann also died, and Thomas Wall took sole charge of the business, as well as the care of his 14-year-old sister. However, the business continued to prosper. In 1846 his first son, Thomas Wall II, was born, followed shortly afterwards by a second son, Frederick. They joined the company board in 1870 and 1878 respectively, after which the business became known as Thomas Wall and Sons Ltd. Throughout this period, the business maintained its high-level standards and resultant recognition, receiving a series of Royal Appointments from Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V.[4]

The business had always faced problems in the summer, when sales of meat, meat pies and sausages fell, and staff had to be laid off as a consequence. Thus, in 1913, Thomas Wall II proposed developing a line of ice cream to avoid these problems. This proposal, however, was put on hold due to shortages arising as a result of the outbreak of World War I, and was not implemented until 1922.[4] Before that, Thomas Wall II decided to retire, and so sold the business in 1920 to Mac Fisheries, which itself was acquired in 1922 by Lever Brothers.

Now under the direction of Maxwell Holt, ice cream production commenced in 1922 at a factory in Acton, London. As ice cream grew in significance, Unilever split the company into two, T Wall and Son (Ice Cream) Ltd and T Wall and Son (Meats) Ltd. In 1959, Wall’s doubled capacity by opening a purpose built ice cream factory in Gloucester, England. In 1981 Unilever merged T Wall and Son (Ice Cream) Ltd with Birds Eye Foods Ltd to form Birds Eye Wall’s Ltd. Following a review of production facilities, the Gloucester factory was expanded and updated, and the Acton factory was closed (“Project Phoenix” 1983).

[edit] Meat products

Type Sausages, Meat pies
Owner Kerry Group

After the purchase of sausage and pate producer Mattessons in 1965, Unilever ran both companies as part of Unilever Meat Group UK under the chairmanship of Werner Mattes, eventually merging the two companies to form Mattessons Wall’s following his retirement in 1986.

Following a review, in 1994 Unilever sold off Mattessons Wall’s, the ownership to the Mattessons brand, and a licence to sell meat products within the UK under the Wall’s brand to Kerry Foods. Still a prominent manufacturer of sausages and meat pies, their advert for “Wall’s Balls” mimic a scene from the film There’s Something About Mary. Wall’s Balls was introduced February 2003 with a series of humerous TV adverts.[5]

[edit] Ice cream

Unilever continues to use the brand for ice cream in the UK.[6] Whilst remaining (2006) the market leader in the UK for individual hand-held products such as Cornetto and Magnum, and value-added multi-portion products designed to be eaten at home, such as Viennetta, the Wall’s brand faces severe competition from the major supermarket brands and to a lesser extent from Nestle (absorbing the Rowntree’s and Lyons Maid brands) and Mars spin-off ice cream products.[citation needed]

Wall’s was introduced in Pakistan at the start of 1995. Soon after its launching Lever Brothers purchased all assets of Polka Ice Cream, the only large competitor in Pakistan to Wall’s ice cream.

[edit] Environmental impacts

On 1 May 2008, Unilever Group Chief Executive Patrick Cescau announced that all Unilever’s palm oil will be certified sustainable by 2015. He also told the audience at the Prince of Wales’ May Day Climate Change Summit in London that Unilever was supporting the call for an immediate moratorium on any further deforestation in Indonesia for palm oil plantations.

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