Percy Pig is under attack!

Yes, the sweet so beloved of people young and old sold by good old Marks and Spencer is in the firing line dear reader

How, what, where, why, we hear you ask?

Well, according to the nation’s Sweet Czar (we made that title up by the way!), the packaging on Percy Pig’s, which sell ten million bags each year, is misleading.

That’s because according to Henry Dimbleby, the co-founder of Leon who is leading a government review of the British food system, they don’t go far enough to highlight the sweet’s high sugar content.

Cue the backlash from Percy Pig fans….

Now, we totally understand the need to reduce sugar in your diet, but in a month where we have been focusing on sweet-based recipes, we wonder if this attack on Percy and therefore sweets in general is going a little too far? After all, Marks and Spencer did also bring out a range of Percy’s with a third less sugar and there is now genuinely always an alternative, lower sugar version to most of the sweets we know and love.

Most people know when they are eating sweets that they are not the healthiest thing in the world, but it’s something we have always enjoyed and as adults they bring back lots of happy memories for us.

Memories of a 10p mix up which actually went quite far back in the day; or eating beer bottles thinking they would get you drunk, or literally breaking your jaw on a jawbreaker.

There’s a reason why retro-sweets are so big these days – think Sherbet Dib Dabs, Hubba Bubba, Rainbow Drops, Refreshers, Cola bottles etc.

So really, it’s all about moderation and seeing sweets as an indulgent treat to have every once in a while.

There’s nothing wrong with that, is there Percy Pig?

Speaking of retro, here’s a great recipe to end our sweet-themed month.

Classic artic roll

For the ice cream:

  • 2 eggs separated
  • 45g icing sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
  • 125ml double cream

For the jam:

  • 150g strawberries, quartered
  • Juice of one small lemon
  • 175g golden caster sugar

For the sponge:

Knob of butter, for greasing

  • 3 eggs
  • 100g golden caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract


  1. To make the ice cream, whisk the egg whites in a bowl until stiff. In another bowl, whisk the yolks, icing sugar and vanilla seeds until fluffy. In a third bowl, whip the double cream until it is holding its shape.
  2. Fold the yolk mixture into the cream, then egg whites. Pour into a large loaf tin lined with a sheet of baking parchment bigger than you’ll need. Freeze for 2 hrs.
  3. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and tin when it feels set but soft. Use a spatula to shape the mixture into a rough sausage shape, then use the parchment to roll the mixture tightly together into a cylinder about 35cm in length.
  4. Twist the ends of the baking parchment like a cracker and return to the freezer for a further 1 hr.
  5. To make the jam put the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
  6. Put 1/4 tsp of the jam onto a cold saucer to set.
  7. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line a 24 x 32cm Swiss roll tin with baking parchment (with plenty of excess) and grease well. Whisk the eggs and sugar together with an electric hand whisk for 2-3 mins or until thickened and pale.
  8. Fold the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract into the egg mixture with a large metal spoon
  9. Gently tip the mixture into your prepared Swiss roll tin and bake in the oven for 15 mins or until lightly golden and springy to the touch.
  10. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 1-2 mins or until cool enough to handle, then carefully roll up the sponge while it’s still warm (keeping the baking parchment attached). Leave to cool completely in its rolled-up shape.
  11. Uncurl the sponge and spread the jam on the inside. Working quickly, unwrap the ice cream and put it on top of the jam. Roll the cake up around it.
  12. Wrap the Arctic roll in a new sheet of baking parchment and a layer of foil too. Return to the freezer for a further 20-30mins, then unwrap, slice, and serve immediately.
Jane Beesley
About Jane Beesley
Development & Innovations Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.