Our Bread.
Our Brand.
Our Story.

We’ve been baking bread from the finest ingredients for more than 130 years. Our range may have changed and evolved over the years, but our exceptionally high standards of care and expertise never will.

Discover the history of Hovis® and the part it’s played in the history of our nation.

1886-1899

IN THE beginning

1886

Richard ‘Stoney’ Smith finds a way to separate the wheatgerm from the flour

Richard changed the way flour was milled, separating the wheatgerm from the flour without losing any of the vitamins or minerals found in the wheatgerm.

“Radically changing the way flour was made”
Richard Stoney Smith

Richard ‘Stoney’ Smith

Richard Smiths microscope

Richard Smith’s microscope

Germ Flour Process Report
Germ Flour Process Report
1887

Smith patents the process.

The process was registered as ‘Smiths’ Patent Process Germ Flour’ and more and more bakers began to use it.

1890

But what shall we call it?

In 1890, a national competition was held to replace the rather clumsy “Smith’s Patent Process Germ Flour” name. A prize of £25 was offered to the winner. The winner was Herbert Grime, suggesting the name “Hovis”, from the Latin “Hominis Vis” meaning “Strength of Man”.

“Strength of Man”
Strength of Man
1896
1896

Hovis® supplies bread to the Royal family.

The people at Hovis® were particularly proud of this and made sure the whole country knew. Well, can you blame us?

1899

The Hovis® Cycle Road Maps.

Hovis® launched eight cycle maps covering England and Wales, showing all the guest houses that served Hovis® bread.

Hovis Cycle Road Map

Hovis® Cycle Road Map

Hovis Cycle Road Map
1900-1925

Becoming a staple

1900

Annual competitions for bakers

Quality remains as important today as it was in 1900. As sales of Hovis® rose, an annual competition was organised amongst bakers to maintain the high quality of Hovis® baking.

Annual competitions for bakers
1912

Delivering Innovation

Horses and carts are replaced by innovative petrol-driven trucks.

1924

High levels of Vitamin B discovered in Wheatgerm.

Scientists discover high levels of vitamin B in wheatgerm, confirming Richard’s belief that there was goodness in wheatgerm.

1924 1924
1926-1954

Before and after the War

  • 1926
  • 1926
  • 1926
1926

Hovis® recipe booklets first published.

The first of many recipe booklets were published. Later editions included A Book of Sandwich Delights and, during World War II, Sandwich Suggestions for the Shelter.

  • 1930s
  • 1930s 1930s
1930s

‘Teas With Hovis®

Hovis® matches the nation’s favourite bread with its favourite beverage. Pubs, hotels and tea shops across the UK put up signs, encouraging customers to come in and enjoy this perfect pairing.

1941

Hovis® donates a Spitfire to the RAF.

The spitfire was called "Hominis Vis", very apt since the “Strength of Man” was vital in the Battle of Britain.

"Hominis Vis"
1954-2005

A new era

1954

A wrapped and sliced Hovis® is introduced.

And Hovis® sliced bread proves to be the greatest thing since Hovis® unsliced bread.

  • 1954
  • 1954 1954
1956

Hovis® on TV

Just a year after the introduction of TV advertising, the very first TV ad for Hovis® is shown. The start of some truly wonderful advertising.

  • Hovis on TVHovis on TV
  • Hovis on TV Hovis on TV
1973

A boy pushes a bike up a hill.

This iconic ad, directed by Sir Ridley Scott and often cited as the nation’s favourite ever TV commercial, appears for the first time on British TV screens. After directing this groundbreaking commercial Sir Ridley went on to hollywood to direct movies such as Alien and Gladiator

The ad centres around a boy delivering bread accompanied by what became known as “The Hovis® Music”. Or to give it its correct title, “Dvorak’s New World Symphony”

Watch our original ad

1987

Hovis® Granary® launches

A product that continues to be enjoyed by the British nation.

  • Hovis Granary launches
  • Hovis Granary launches
2001

Big idea for packaging.

In 2001, Hovis® unveils a bold new approach to packaging, grabbing shoppers’ attention in the bread aisle.

2005

As tastes evolve, Hovis® evolves with them.

We continue to innovate, launching Hovis® Invisible Crust in 2005, an instant hit with parents as they no longer needed to remove the crusts from their children’s sandwiches.

2005
2006...

Our past informs our future

2008

122 years in 122 seconds.

An epic 122-second TV commercial is broadcast to celebrate 122 years of Hovis®.

Watch Ad

2016
2016

Hovis® favourites. Now better than ever.

Hovis® Soft White and Best of Both® are re-launched with an even greater emphasis on quality. This remains as important today as it’s always been.

2018

It’s just bread.

We return to TV with the 'It's just bread' commercial for Hovis® Soft White. Through the role Hovis® plays in family moments, the ad shows why it’s so much more than “just bread”.

Watch Ad

2019

The 'Boy on the Bike' is back!

The 'Boy on the Bike' advert has recently been voted as Britains most iconic and heart-warming advert* and has now been lovingly re-mastered frame-by-frame by the British Film Institute for the digital age. Furthermore, we have added a brand new recording by the Ashington Colliery brass band, a new voice and we've brought the end of the ad up-to-date with our current pack. We are extremely proud of the result and that Hovis'® 'Boy on the Bike' is fondly remembered.

* Research was conducted in Great Britain via OnLineBus, an Internet omnibus survey administered by Kantar. A sample of 1,258 GB adults aged 16+ were interviewed by online self-completion from 11/04/2019 - 15/04/2019. The sample was weighted to represent the adult population of Great Britain age 16+.

Watch the
re-mastered advert

All images featured are historical and reflect the brand & legislation during the period shown.

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