Rileys Crisps

Who remembers Rileys Crisps? Alongside standard flavours such as Cheese & Onion and Salt & Vinegar, Rileys created some pretty unusual ones, including New Potatoes with Mint, Scampi & Lemon and Grouse flavour.

Rileys Crisps was founded in 1947, just after the end of the Second World War, by Bill Riley, son of a fish & chip shop owner in Scunthorpe.

Rationing was still in place, and with Smiths dominating the potato crisp market, starting out must have been a risky prospect. By 1947, however, Rileys was producing 100 tins of crisps a day. The company weathered a vegetable oil shortage during the Korean War in the 1950s, despite the oil being rationing in Britain for two whole years. By 1972, Rileys had become a multi-million pound business.

Like many crisp producers, the company changed hands several times: in 1981, the company changed its name to Sooner Foods. A year later it was sold to Rowntree Mackintosh in a deal worth £13.5million. After further takeovers and acquisitions, Sooner Foods became part of Golden Wonder in 1992 and Rileys snacks were rebranded with the Golden Wonder logo.

Storm unearths ancient family picnic

Photo: Colin Lane, Liverpool Echo
Photo: Colin Lane, Liverpool Echo.

In March this year a storm uncovered an old family picnic bag on Formby Beach. The bag contained a variety of snacks from the 1970s, including an empty Murphy’s Prawn Cocktail flavour crisp packet, Crispi Ready Salted, and two packets of Riley’s Salt & Vinegar flavour crisps. Amazingly, one of the packets of Riley’s crisps appears to still contain crisps. It’s a bit disturbing that everything is in such good condition after half a century buried in the sand. [Via Liverpool Echo.]

6 thoughts on “Rileys Crisps

  1. I was born and bred in Scunthorpe in 1945, I remember well as I grew walking past Riley’s Crisps in a back street.
    I was reminded of that today as I opened a packet of Lays cheese & sour cream crisps (chips) . I said to my wife these taste just like Riley’s Crisps, “who” she said. Oh my


  2. I loved all the flavours ..Rileys made and my favourite was and still is cheese and onion….they should bring Rileys crisps back for a limited edition too celebrate and all us in scunthorpe can enjoy like we did as kids..even do the see through bags for the crips.


  3. I remember Riley’s tomato sauce flavour in the 1980’s. My surname is Riley also though no relation to the Riley family in Scunthorpe. I was just telling my 10 year old boy about them and we looked them up on Google. Made me feel very nostalgic!


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