Richard Smith created Hovis® in 1886. Smith was a miller who was able to find a way of separating flour and germ. He then lightly cooked the germ and afterwards returned it to the flour, without any loss in the wheat germ’s nutritional value.
In order to realise his discovery’s potential, Smith partnered with mill owner Thomas Fitton and together, they had Smith’s discovery patented in 1887. Once registered, Fitton then started producing the flour in his mill. To encourage more bakers to use the newly patented flour, Fitton and Smith put out advertisements to promote Smith’s flour.
In 1890, a competition was held for creating a new name for Smith’s patented flour, because ‘Smith’s Patent Process Germ Flour’ was too long. Herbert Grime won the contest with his suggested name, which was ‘Hovis,’ derived from the Latin phrase ‘Hominis Vis’ which means ‘strength of man’. Hovis became the new name of Smith’s germ flour.
By 1895, Hovis had become widely popular and demand continued to increase. This prompted Smith and Fitton to buy another mill, which was located in the southern part of England. In 1898, the company became Hovis Bread Flour Co. Ltd.
From 1895 to 1896, Hovis received the ‘Highest Award’ at a Food & Cookery Exhibition in London. The company’s breads were being supplied regularly to the Royal Family and the Queen, as well. In the succeeding years, Hovis products became so popular that there were businesses that sold fake Hovis baked goods.
In order to promote the Hovis brand and its products, the company also invested in advertising campaigns, especially in the field of print media. In 1924, it was discovered by scientists that wheat germ is an abundant source of vitamin B, which confirmed Smith’s belief. By that time, it was common knowledge that Hovis baked goods contain a lot of wheat germ, as compared to regular wholemeal bread. With the discovery about vitamin B and wheat germ, Hovis flour and Hovis products became even more popular with the public.
Today, Hovis breads are still widely popular in all of UK. Breads that are made from Hovis flour remain to be free from artificial flavourings and preservatives, which make consumers appreciate it all the more.
Headquarters: Windsor, UK
Ownership Type: Private
Employees: information not available
Geography: United Kingdom
Demography: baked goods consumers