For decades, amidst evolving culinary trends and changing tastes, one iconic snack has stood unwaveringly at the forefront of the UK’s pub culture – the humble pork scratching.
It’s a legacy that transcends generations, the unmatched accompaniment for a pint down the local, and an ever-present feature amidst scenes of socialising, unwinding and merriment up and down the country.
With over 50 years of experience in the food and drink industry, the Morrisey family, operating under the banner of Snack Brands LTD, have been keeping the heritage of these beloved savoury morsels alive with their traditional hand-cooked scratchings, known as ‘Uncle Albert’s Porkshire Pigs’, which they’ve been selling for over thirty years.
Behind the business are Brian and Alex Morrisey, a father-and-son team from Sheffield. Brian cut his teeth working for iconic Yorkshire brands such as Bassett’s Sweets and Tetley Tea before the family moved into the pub trade in 1991, initially purchasing the East House pub on Spital Hill, and later The Riverside on Mowbray Street, formerly called The Brown Cow. In fact, if you look carefully, you should still be able to make out the old ‘Morrissey’s’ pub sign on the first floor of The Riverside.
It was after acquiring The Wortley Arms in Wortley Village that the family became involved in the bar snack business, initially supplying their own brand of pork scratchings to other pubs. Their three best-selling Uncle Albert’s products – Porkshire Pig Pork Scratchings (the quintessential classic), Porkshire Pig Pork Crackling (double-cooked indulgence) and Pork Crunch (a lighter, crisp-like variation) – swiftly propelled their snack enterprise into the forefront. This trajectory continues today, with Alex poised to carry the legacy forward and grown the business for the next three decades.
Part of that growth plan involves expanding on their retail offering, selling products directly to consumers, pubs and smaller shops via their website. Strangely enough, it’s an opportunity that presented itself to them most clearly during Covid lockdown. “When the pubs closed, that was the majority of our business gone overnight,” says Brian. “However, after a bit of time, people started setting up bars in their back garden and because they wanted the full pub experience, we started getting orders for one-kilo bags of scratchings. We’re looking to build on that.”
“The wholesale side of things is pretty steady,” says Alex. “But moving forward, we want to grow our eCommerce, dealing directly with the pubs outside of the local area who wholesalers are unable to reach and making sure people can buy from us via online platforms such as Amazon, Ebay and Etsy, which they are now able to do.”
While their marketing horizons may have expanded, Brian tells us that when it comes to a timeless snack, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. “Pork scratchings are eternal. There have been plenty of new entrants into the market, and we’ve diversified slightly by also offering our own range of Nuthatch Nuts, but the nostalgia and love for traditional pork scratchings continues. We want to keep those values alive and continue supplying local people and businesses in South Yorkshire and further afield.”
Should you wish to indulge in traditional pork snacks, crisps, and nuts from Snack Brands, visit www.snackbrands.co.uk to request a complimentary sample.