Britain's famed HP sauce goes Dutch

One of Britain's best-loved condiments, HP sauce, will no longer be made in England, ending more than 100 years of history.

by: Peter Griffiths | 16 Apr 2007

Despite a storm of protest, the famed brown sauce that generations of Britons have smothered on their fried breakfasts or fish and chips will now be produced in the Netherlands.

With a picture of the Houses of Parliament on the label and the advertising slogan "The Official Sauce of Great Britain", HP has long been a British institution.

Crossing barriers
Its appeal crosses Britain's famous class divide, with generous dollops of sauce enjoyed at thousands of "greasy spoon" cafes and by prime ministers.

In the 1960s, it became known as "Wilson's Gravy" after the wife of former Prime Minister Harold Wilson let slip that his one fault was that "he will drown everything in HP".

The sauce is a tangy mix of malt vinegar, dates, sugar, apples, tomato and spices.

Despite its long history in Britain, the brand's U.S. owner H.J. Heinz has said the move is needed to use spare capacity at its Netherlands factory.

One wag suggested HP now stands for "Holland Produced".

Saucy protests
Unions, local government officials and local newspapers in Birmingham, central England, opposed the move.

A protester dressed as John Bull, the top hat-wearing symbol of a typical Englishman, climbed onto the factory roof this week.

"To take it away after 100 years simply isn't on," Ray Egan told the Birmingham Mail.

Image: A bottle of HP sauce: REUTERS

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