Our Story

White’s course has been one of uninterrupted progress and expansion and when and where obstacles were encountered they were used by the company merely as incentives to further enterprise. White’s has been based in Tandragee on the same site for 175 years and its growth and development was the contribution to commercial milling made by successive generations of a single family- the White family. Its success is down to investment over the years in brand, scale and technology- since the company’s inception in 1841 it’s never stood still always innovating and always growing.

1841

White’s was founded on the banks of the river Cusher at Tandragee, County Armagh, N.Ireland by Thomas H. White.
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Thomas Henry White came from Waterford to Tandragee and developed a corn and flour mill along the river cusher. Coming from a family of millers, his father James Taylor White was a mill manager in Cork as was his grandfather, he was keen to make his own mark in the oat milling industry. For many it was known simply as the ‘mill beside the river’ and being situated along the river cusher was a hugely valuable and significant asset for White’s. The water remained at a fast rate and could drive the water wheel which powered the mill at that time.

1897

1897 was undoubtedly to become a significant date in White’s fortunes; when it formed a merger with Tomkins & Courage Ltd and became a huge modern enterprise known as White Tomkins & Courage Ltd.
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White’s overnight became one of the major millers in the UK with mills in Tandragee, Belfast, Liverpool, London and factories in Dublin, Reigate in Surrey and Boston Lincs. It was quoted as being the company that ‘leapt as it were from its cradle in the mill beside the river to the hub of Ulster’s commerce- Belfast itself, then across the channel it went to London, on to Liverpool then to Boston and next to Derry’.

1920

The innovative and pioneering spirit continued on with the launch of Speedicook Porridge in the early 1920s
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Marketed to housewives in a hurry, White’s extended the wafer flake oatmeal from the ordinary variety which took 15 minutes to cook and launched a Speedicook variant, so aptly named because as one advert out it ‘Speedicook cooks in the time your kettle boils while ordinary takes 15 minutes.’

Speedicook soon went on to become a trusted household name up and down the country. It was launched in a 1lb box, 2lb and 3.5lb bag.

1930s-1960s

The remarkable expansion of White Tomkins & Courage was attributed to producing commodities of the highest standard and then marketing them under brand names, telling the public about them and maintaining the quality.
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White’s ‘White Line’ portfolio expanded rapidly. Pickwick brand- cereals, squash in orange, lemon, lemon and barley, and lime and barley), Pickwick fresh garden peas and butter beans, White’s Jelly Crystals a household favourite made from 25 different flavours, White’s Wafer Oats, purported to be responsible for the stamina and splendid bodies of Ulster children, Speedicook for housewives in a hurry, Red Star Flour, prepared from the creamy portion of the oat was the children’ invalids and persons of weak digestion food, White’s flavouring essences and colourings, Clarendo cattle food Bakonal and Speedi-start for pigs, Poulendo for chicks.

1960s-1908s

In 1964 Pauls of Ipswich merged with its biggest competitor White Tomkins & Courage and a new holding company was formed- ‘Paul’s and White’s’ with five wholly owned subsidiaries
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In 1967 Pauls & White’s restructured into 3 divisions- Malting & animal feedstuffs (Tandragee and Belfast) and general products (Liverpool, Belfast and Tandragee). The sharp recession from 1979 saw closures of many of the breweries- Courage (part of White’s,

Tomkins & Courage) Breweries in London closed around this time.

1980s

Henry Alwyn White retired in 1977 and this signalled the end of the White family ownership. In 1984 RHM (Rank Hovis Mc Dougall) assumed ownership of White’s but for a short time only.
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Speedicook continued its dominance and retained its market leadership position in Ulster keeping the company very profitable.

So when RHM put the business up for sale, it attracted local interest from four local businessmen. Sam & Jo Cunningham, Walter Smith and Maurice Taylor. They renamed the business White’s Speedicook Ltd.

1990s

Fane Valley recognised the potential of White’s, with its strong connection to Ulster families and its foothold in the local community spanning two centuries. It invested £2.5m to rebuild the mill at Tandragee
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Significant investment in new product development bolstered White’s portfolio of products and saw them lead the charge as pioneers; being the first to market with Toasted Oats. The range also expanded to include microwaveable oats, Organic Oats, fruit based porridge and of course Speedicook. Such investment in new products attracted new consumers to the healthy tasty benefits of oats and indeed to the White’s brand. White’s range has continued to expand and now includes a range of granolas, and functional porridge with added protein and fibre under the ActivOat brand.

White’s now markets its products throughout Great Britain, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE, Spain, Russia and China.

2014

White’s is Northern Ireland’s only porridge and oat based cereal producer and Ireland’s largest oat miller!
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White’s is part of a local farmer’s co-operative and works with a network of 25 local growers, some of whom have been supplying White’s with oats for three generations. It is the strength of the partnerships with local farmers that allow White’s to continually produce quality award winning porridge oats and oat based breakfast cereals. The White’s milling process is unique in that it gives the oats a special character in terms of its taste and texture, delivering a distinctively nutty texture and creamy taste that has become a household favourite across the breakfast tables of Northern Ireland.

White’s porridge oats and oat based cereals have won many Great Taste Awards from the Guild of Fine Food over several consecutive years within the luxury breakfast cereal category- 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 (including best in category double gold).

The natural, wholesome and nourishing goodness of White’s Oats provide the perfect start to the day.

2015

In 2014 White’s underwent a major rebrand to reflect and build on White’s heritage, expertise and dedication to milling great tasting porridge oats and oat cereals
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A strong visual identity was designed which focuses on the quality of the natural ingredient. White’s wants consumers who have a strong affinity with the brand to be able to instantly recognise White’s on the packaging and trust they are getting the best start to their day. As it was back in the 1900s so it is today- ‘It is sufficient to have White’s prefixed to any product to guarantee its ready acceptance by the consumer who insists upon the best’.

White’s relaunch is supported by its proposition of taking and making time. We hope you like.

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