In 1920, William Dean collected eggs from small holders and sold them door-to-door out of a straw-lined wicker basket. With the help of a horse and cart, he traded up to four miles from Tring in Hertfordshire. Deans Foods started egg packing over 85 years ago. Today, after nearly a century of leading the way, Noble Foods stands proud as an organisation with a rich and vibrant history.
Based in Hertfordshire, the Dean Family started the business back in the 1920’s packing and selling a small amount of eggs into local grocery stores and supermarkets in the south. They had a clear vision and did not just see themselves as egg packers but as innovative egg marketers. It was not long before the business expanded and began to acquire other companies.
By the 1970’s Deans were pioneers in egg marketing and innovation. An advertisement in ‘The Grocer’ April 1st 1978 read ‘You may find this difficult to believe…but you’re looking at the world’s first Salt ’n’ Vinegar flavoured egg! Now Noble Foods Chairman, Peter Dean recalls placing the ad… ’With it being April 1st we decided to place a spoof piece in The Grocer, there were seven pages with lots of different stories around flavoured eggs and the press reaction thereafter. We were aiming to create some interest in the category… it certainly worked as I got a call the day after from a retailer asking for more of our eggs!’ (Click to see the add) (Click to see the add) (Click to see the add) (Click to see the add) (Click to see the add) (Click to see the add) (Click to see the add) (Click to see the add)
The thirst for acquisition and innovation carried on into the latter part of the century. In 1988 Deans bought Goldenlay along with Dell and Hardie in 1997. The early part of the new millennium brought first Daylay and then Freshlay into the Group. In 2006 the then owner of Stonegate , Michael Kent, acquired half the business forming the Noble Foods we know today.
We have now widened our portfolio into the premium desserts category. In February 2010 Noble acquired GU Chocolate Puds and March 2010 saw the addition of Didier's Patisserie, a top end desserts business with a number of exclusive retail and foodservice customers.