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Building a Better Biscuit

A series of activities which encourage students to investigate and participate imaginatively in the process of researching, designing, packaging, advertising and retailing a new biscuit. The activities cover a wide variety of curriculum areas and can be adapted for both KS2 and KS3 pupils. Activities may be used individually or could be followed sequentially as a longer-term project.

A. B. C. D.

Designing a biscuit Packing a biscuit Advertising a biscuit Selling a biscuit

If the activities are followed through in sequence then having the students work in small groups of 3 or 4 can encourage excitement and engagement. Each group represents, in effect, a separate business. Their ideas and products can, at the end of the process, be tested by being put on the market - other students can be asked to vote for/buy the one they would prefer. Which biscuit will make the biggest profit? On the Huntley and Palmers website there is a 'Biscuit Millionaire' interactive. This covers some of the dilemmas faced by Huntley and Palmers in their early years. Students could be encouraged to have a go at this, both to increase their understanding of the historical background and to foster a sense of imaginative involvement. The Building a Biscuit Business PowerPoint presentation has separate sections, which accompany each of these activities. They can be used to introduce each activity and to illustrate design suggestions.
A lot of background information about the history of biscuits can be found on the Biscuits Theme Pages on the H&P website. Note, too, that recipes for some early biscuits can be found on the last page in this section. A few samples of these early biscuits will underline the way things have changed far more effectively than an hour of theoretical discussion! The aim of this activity is to encourage pupils to think about how biscuits have changed over time, what makes a good biscuit and to design their own new biscuit.

Before looking at the PowerPoint presentation discuss some of the following questions:
What is their favourite biscuit? Why? (Each student could also be asked to bring an example of their favourite biscuit to class)

celebrity endorsements. 3. in particular.1p …. A notional price list can be drawn up. film or TV tie-ins. the Conversation Biscuits biscuits with slightly saucy questions and answers (some of the ones shown here are in Spanish). and so on. or for the corner shop? The health food market? What gimmicks they might use to make their biscuit stand out and sell . Several of the examples shown here have a fancy design that is clearly aimed at children. 2.Colour? Shape? Or even such things as competitions. fancy packaging. and is that change for the better? A. 4. Some of the early biscuits are.2p Layer of chocolate inside . . and so on. Basic ingredients (Flour/milk/sugar) . vouchers-for-schools. What they will call their biscuit? If the children are working as a group and as part of a longer project it adds to the excitement if they have to work out the cost of their biscuit design. Designing a biscuit Ask the children to design their own biscuit. More information on these biscuits can be found by typing conversation into the Huntley & Palmers Search Engine. Encourage them to think about: What flavours do they like? What do other people like? Who they are making their biscuit for? Children? Adults? The luxury market. also.Building a Better Biscuit How are biscuits different from cakes? How many biscuits do they eat each day? Each week? Do they buy their own biscuits? Or do their parents dictate their choice? Is there any conflict between them and their parents over which biscuits to eat? How important are adverts (or other gimmicks) in their choice? A graph or other representational chart could be made to show which are the favourite biscuits Biscuit History Look at the Designing a biscuit section of the PowerPoint presentation. flavourings and.3p Chocolate coat .1p Nuts . For example: 1. free gifts. 6. surprisingly modern. 5.1p Layer of toffee . Note. at least in terms of their shape.2p Layer of jam . Talk with pupils about: When they think these biscuits were made? Who were the different biscuits intended for? What modern food products use fancy shapes to appeal to children? What shapes can they think of which could be used for a new biscuit? How are these biscuits different from modern biscuits? (Think about the use of sugar. chocolate) Why have biscuits changed.

Are they going for the luxury end of the market.can be found on modern wrappers? Think of product weight. Children working as a group could produce a mock-up presentation version of their packing . Which modern packaging is instantly recognizable? Why? How is packaging linked to advertising campaigns? The 1936 labels lack much of the information which can be found on modern packaging. As these examples from a salesman's catalogue demonstrate. address of manufacturer and so on. Designs should feature some of the information found on modern packaging . How do these designs differ from more modern designs? How successful are the designs? What qualities make the designs successful/unsuccessful? What design features are used to give unity to the range of biscuits? Look at some equivalent modern packaging. The wrapper also acts as a kind of advertisement. They make a vivid impression. or the cheap-and-cheerful end? In terms of shifting units the cheap-and-cheerful approach may be more successful than an up-market strategy. as in the 1936 catalogue. coloured foil always helps to make the designs stand out! . B. Finally ask the students to design their own wrappers.some of it is a legal requirement . Talk with the students about these designs.either flat versions. ingredients. Some products feature information such as 'Fair Trade Product'. or 'Suitable for vegetarians'). or a set of designs linked by colour and imagery.a single sale of a luxury biscuit that has a 10 pence profit margin will make more money than selling nine biscuits that make 1 pence per the design will need to feature a front and back. but does that mean biscuits can be sold individually. simply selling lots of items does not necessarily mean a large profit . individually wrapped biscuits are not as recent as some people think. On the other hand. Packing a biscuit Designing the wrapper for an individual biscuit Look at the examples of biscuit wrappers in the Biscuit Wrappers section of the PowerPoint presentation.Building a Better Biscuit The children should also think about how much profit they intend to make from each biscuit. In either case. These examples are boldly coloured and often feature multicoloured foil. Bar codes are another universal modern feature. What information . Wrapping each biscuit adds to the cost. or three-dimensional models. or messages such as 'May contain nuts'. Packages also generally contain appropriate health information (the number of calories. They can either produce an individual design.

which can be heard on the website) and in the 1930s .many of the questions used would be appropriate when discussing a tin or box design. which shows a variety of simple tin designs. Advertising a biscuit (1) Designing a rectangular tin This is a variation of the previous activity . they produced advertising gramophone records in the mid 1920s (For Every Mealtime There's a Biscuit . Capacity should not be compromised by novelty. Fancy or novelty tins were made to be sold as presents. Most tins produced after World War Two were variations on either circles or rectangles. New tin designs were especially produced for sale at Christmas. so the shape of the tin/box should be limited to variations on a simple rectangular shape. The aim of this activity is to teach basic design principles. creating an actual tin is not practicable cardboard versions will have to do! In fact. Obviously. Boorne and Stevens as part of the design process. Students should be encouraged to produce similarly neat and accurately measured designs. Until well after the Second World War most biscuits were sold from large tins out of which the grocer would scoop loose biscuits and wrap them in a paper bag. Begin by looking at the Huntley & Palmers advertising material from different periods. As with previous activities. Their design should fulfil the following three criteria: Their tin should be functional. Huntley & Palmers were alert to new advertising possibilities. There also needs to be lid to get the biscuits out! The tin should be usable as a toy after use. The Powerpoint presentation includes some images of design boards created by the designers at the Huntley. Students should design and create their own novelty tin. which can be found in the Advertising section of the PowerPoint presentation. it is primarily a container for biscuits. begin by looking at some of the examples in the Novelty Tins section of the PowerPoint presention. Some tins were designed which could be used as a toy after the biscuits had been eaten. For more information about the way tin styles changed over time see the Biscuit Tins Theme Pages on the Huntley and Palmers website. These images can be used as a stimulus for discussion and planning. Begin by looking at the Rectangular Tins section of the PowerPoint presentation. Boorne and Stevens tin factory. Obviously modern advertising is dominated by TV adverts. For example. (2) Designing a novelty tin with moving parts The focus here is more on the technological challenges of the task. The tin should use moving parts.Building a Better Biscuit C. such mock-ups of designs were regularly produced at Huntley. That is.

Remember to include .brief. The first adverts were much like modern For Sale items in local papers . If they have priced their biscuits. even at that early date the name had become familiar .strong visual imagery. what factors determined their choice . ingredients to produce a high quality biscuit.Huntley and Palmers. They also produced advertising films such as The Royal Baker in 1937. also. packaging and adverts should present a display of their work. However. Information about all of these developments can be found on the website. imageless and informative. Here we use only printed adverts.Building a Better Biscuit they paid for adverts on the pirate stations Radio Luxembourg and Radio the top or the bottom end of the market? Huntley and Palmers liked to think of themselves as the country's premier biscuit manufacturer using quality . such as 'My Fair Lady' or 'Muffin the Mule'. Note the prominent use of the brand name . However. They can be issued with a nominal amount of money and asked which biscuit(s) they would spend their money on. Note the use of slogans.'Huntley and Palmers. The history of advertising is marked by the increasing emphasis on visual imagery and the reduction of text to catchy slogans. D. In fact the firm would more appropriately have been known simply as Palmers Biscuits. as the Huntley family no longer had an active interest in the firm after 1857.the biscuit design? Packaging? Advertising? Results can be collated to find out: Which biscuits sold the most? Which biscuit made the most profit? Which factors contributed most to the success of these biscuits? . Can this be seen reflected in these adverts? Finally. When looking at the advertisements on the PowerPoint presentation Note the way the earliest advert is all text. What is the audience for each advert? The audience dictates both the imagery and the text. Selling a biscuit Pupils who have worked in groups and produced biscuit designs. What modern brands are so well known? Where these adverts position H&P . Find out. In the 1950s and 1960s they linked many of their biscuits with Hollywood films of children's TV programmes. pupils from other classes can be invited to inspect their displays. the first name you think of in Biscuits'. ask the students to design their own advert.and they wisely decided to stick with old formula. a brand name and other features of contemporary advertising. By 1900 the name was known all around the world.a brand . slogans. What makes a good slogan? The most enduring H&P slogan was . these reflect changes in the wider advertising industry and are a useful way to introduce the topic.