Express & Star

We took a look inside a family-run pork scratchings factory in Walsall – here's what happened

The pork scratching is a snack that the Black Country takes great pride in.

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Tom Simmons and Lauren Cross are very proud to be part of G Simmons and Sons

It's been a feature of pubs and butchers shops across the region since the 1930s and are a moreish mixture of pork rind, salt and seasoning which goes well with a pint of beer or as a snack on its own.

One of the market leaders and best producers of pork scratchings, cracking and crunch is G Simmons and Sons in Bloxwich, which boasts more than 40 years of experience in producing hundreds of bags of different products each day.

The manufacturer is one of the few which still produces by hand, in small batches, and has been doing so since moving into the purpose-built factory on Newfield Close in 1994, having begun life in the butcher shop of Graham Simmons in the 1970s where he produced scratchings.

The factory is set outside Bloxwich and has been open since 1994

Having been joined by his sons Shaun and Mark in 1980s, the three saw that pork scratchings were becoming very popular during the 1990s, while the shop itself was beginning to struggle, so made the decision to close the shop and open up the factory in 1994.

G Simmons and Son, as it was named, developed the familiar white packaging with a green leaf on the front and became the first manufacturer in Walsall to receive a food licence, which allowed it to export to the UK and into Europe.

G Simmons and Sons produce an array of products at the factory in Bloxwich

Since then, the factory has been expanded to another unit where the warehouse and shop are based and has become a third generation brand recognised across the West Midlands and beyond in its 30th year on site.

Shaun Simmons is still at the head of the business, but a lot of the day to day running has been left to his son Tom Simmons, who is head cook, and his daughter Lauren Cross, who is head of packaging.

Both have become part of the workings at G Simmons and Sons since doing work there during school holidays, with 32-year-old Tom saying he had been working there since 2010 and had seen the growth of the business first-hand.

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