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Why it matters that Colman's is made in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 13:13 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 06 October 2017

The entrance to Colmans, Norwich.
Photo: Denise Bradley
Copy: EDP business
For: EDP business
Archant Norfolk pics © 2006
(01603) 772434

The entrance to Colmans, Norwich. Photo: Denise Bradley Copy: EDP business For: EDP business Archant Norfolk pics © 2006 (01603) 772434

Archant © 2006

In the hours after it was announced that Colman's could be leaving Norfolk, I texted a friend to commiserate.

“Can’t believe it. I love mustard (sad emoji)”, I wrote.

Him: “Not bothered. Why does it matter where it’s made? Still tastes like mustard.”

My – and, I suspect, your – initial reaction to his response was to think that he’s a dimwit. Of course it matters where things are made.

Could Melton Mowbray pork pies be made in Manchester? Would Cromer crab still be Cromer crab if it was caught off the coast of Cornwall? Surely Chorley cake has to be made in... Chorley?

But his glib response did get me thinking.

The sad truth is that many of the aforementioned products and brands – as well as an endless list of others including cheddar cheese, Branston Pickle and Worcestershire sauce – simply have the veneer of being attached to a place. In reality, few are still made where they were created.

But that does not mean they are any less important to that place.

Take Robinson’s and Colman’s as two examples.

Both are nationally recognised brands, made in Norwich.

But if you went to Land’s End or Inverness or Kilkenny, how many people would know where Robinson’s is made?

Colman’s, on the other hand, would start ringing geographical bells with most people.

It is an iconic brand, emblematic of the city, and entwined in so many things here. It is also a byword for traditional English values and quality – and takes Norwich’s name with it.

These kinds of associations are not lost on people, and it puts our county city in the spotlight.

Scour a map of the British Isles and you’ll come across countless towns – and even cities – which you are unlikely to have heard of unless they have a fantastic product or a football team which carries their name.

So while the real, immediate tragedy here is the jobs that

will be lost and the lives that will be disrupted, the loss of Colman’s would beg the question – what is Norwich best known for now?

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