1990’s advert for Jacobs Club Classics

Jacob’s is a brand name for several lines of biscuits and crackers. The brand name in the United Kingdom is owned by United Biscuits, while the brand name in Ireland is owned by the Jacob Fruitfield Food Group.

History

The originator of the Jacob’s brand name was the small biscuit bakery, W & R Jacob, founded in 1881 in Bridge Street, Waterford, Ireland by William Beale Jacob and his brother Robert. It later moved to Bishop Street in Dublin, Ireland, with a factory in Peter’s Row and also opened a branch in Liverpool, England. In 1916, the Bishop Street premiss was one of several prominent Dublin buildings occupied by rebels during the Easter Rising. In the 1920s the two branches separated, with the Dublin branch retaining the W & R Jacob name while the Liverpool branch was renamed Jacob’s Bakery Ltd. In the 1970s, W & R Jacob in Dublin merged with Boland’s Biscuits to form Irish Biscuits Ltd. and moved to Tallaght, Ireland.

In 1990, the two companies once again came under common ownership and became Jacob’s Biscuit Group when they were acquired by the French company Groupe Danone. In July 2004, Groupe Danone and United Biscuits announced that they had made an agreement for the latter to acquire Jacob’s Biscuit Group.  With the acquisition of Groupe Danone’s biscuit division by Kraft, the production and sales Jacob’s biscuits in Malaysia are done through Kraft Malaysia. However, days later Groupe Danone, United Biscuits, and Fruitfield Foods announced that Jacob’s Biscuit Group would be split, with United Biscuits acquiring only the UK portion of the Group and Fruitfield Foods acquiring the Ireland portion.  Fruitfield Foods was subsequently renamed the Jacob Fruitfield Food Group.

Since their acquisitions, United Biscuits and Jacob Fruitfield Food Group have sparred in court over the use of the Jacob’s brand name.

In 2009, however and after 156 years of making biscuits in Ireland, Jacob Fruitfield shut it’s Tallaght plant. 220 jobs were lost although the company retained around 100 staff in a variety of roles.

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