Plain round biscuits based on a 70% blend of wheat flour (54%) and wholemeal wheat flour (16%) (*figures as of June 2015).
The Digestive remains the oldest product in the McVitie's portfolio with it dating back well over a century to the very beginnings of the brand.
The introduction Alexander Grant and the Digestive
In 1880, Robert McVitie died and passed on his successful bakery business in Edinburgh to one of his sons, Robert Jr. McVitie. With help from a former Cadbury salesman, Charles Price, McVitie grew the business successfully under the name McVitie & Price. In 1888 McVitie took on a young man by the name of Alexander Grant as an assistant baker. Born in Forres, North Scotland, Grant went on to help McVitie & Price grow across the country with factories opened up in London and Manchester. However, most notable of all, in 1892 Grant created the now iconic Digestive for the firm.
The Chocolate Digestive is created
With McVitie & Price focusing more heavily on biscuits due to their ability to travel well, the Digestive was used as a basis for innovation. Indeed, through experimentation with chocolate, the firm eventually created the Chocolate Digestive in 1925.
The Digestive survives the War and UB is created
With the Second World War McVitie's 370-strong portfolio was slashed to just 10 core offerings in 1945. Of course, the Digestive, already so popular with the British public, survived this cull and carried on as a cornerstone of the business as it transformed in to the United Biscuits Group with a merger in 1948.
The Digestives Range starts rapidly expanding
With decades of success, UB eventually broadened the Digestives range in 1999 with a Caramel Milk Chocolate variant added. Subsequently, in the 2000s, the Digestive range saw great expansion with, firstly, a Lemon & Ginger Digestive introduced in 2003. Following on in 2005, an Orange Milk Chocolate Digestives limited edition was added to the range and then, towards the end of the year, a seasonal offering, White Chocolate Digestives, was launched along with Mint Milk Chocolate Digestives a bit later. Later a Dark Chocolate variant was added to tie in with a growing trend towards dark chocolate that had seen many manufacturers introduce it in to their products, for example Kit Kat launched a dark chocolate four finger variant in 2006.
Recipe changed for Original Digestives
In 2009 and 2010, the recipe for McVitie's classic Digestive was changed in a two stage process. This change saw the sustainable palm oil used in the manufacturing process replaced with reduced saturated fat sunflower oil. Supposedly, this move came as a result of the firm wanting to lower the product's fat content in light of growing cultural concern over high fat levels in foods. Indeed, on this matter, McVitie's had already released a new Digestive Light product to explicitly target those seeking low fat options.
Limited edition Digestive launched ahead of Royal Wedding
In the 2010's, more innovation came for the Digestives range with McVitie's unveiling a limited edition Caramel Dark Chocolate variant in 2011. This move came as a result of the manufacturer wanting to capitalise on the popularity of the brand and the forthcoming Royal Wedding where biscuit consumption - especially of those products related to traditional brands - was expected to increase.
McVitie's Digestives go chocolate mad
At the beginning of 2013, McVitie's launched a new TV advertising campaign to highlight that Chocolate Digestives now came with more chocolate. Alongside this advert, came the introduction of the brand's new limited edition variant, Double Chocolate Digestives. The offering added further emphasis to the amount of chocolate in Milk Chocolate Digestives with the plain base replaced for a chocolate-chip studded chocolate biscuit.
McVitie's launches cheesecake-inspired limited editions
Later in 2013, with the Digestives brand ranked number one in the category, the range extended even further with Lemon and Vanilla Cheesecake flavours, two desert-themed limited editions that played on the biscuits long association with cheesecake. These new products represented the greatest change in the Digestives format to date (*as of June 2015) with the biscuits comprising of two medium-sized Digestives sandwiching the aforementioned cheesecake-inspired fillings.
McVitie's Original Digestives returns to old recipe
After changing the recipe McVitie's reportedly received a number of complaints from consumers saying that they missed the old taste, texture and dunkability. Taking this in to account, McVitie's eventually decided to revert to the recipe of old in February 2014. In light of this, the manufacturer emphasised their Digestive Light product as suitable for those wanting a lower fat product.
McVitie's Digestives get cute with integrated campaign
Come 2014 and McVitie's brought back Orange Milk Chocolate Digestives. Then later this year, after hiring a new advertising agency, Grey London, McVitie's embarked on a new campaign entitled 'McVitie's...Sweeet'. In a growing trend for brands, this campaign integrated communications across the three biggest selling products, Original Digestives, Chocolate Digestives and Jaffa Cakes. Introducing cute animal personalities for each brand the ads tried to capture the unique emotional quality of the consumption occasion.
1970's (see here)
1980's (see here)
1990's (see here)
2000's (see here)
2010's (see here)
OTHER PRODUCTS IN THE RANGE
McVitie's Milk Chocolate Digestives
McVitie's Caramel Milk Chocolate Digestives
McVitie's Orange Milk Chocolate Digestives
McVitie's Dark Chocolate Digestives
OTHER MCVITIE'S PRODUCTS
Tweets by @GBDiet