Behind-the-scenes at the Lyle’s Golden Syrup factory

A pancake a day keeps your sweet tooth at bay…

OK maybe that’s not exactly how the old saying goes but surely it has some truth to it and it’s rather appropriate with Pancake Day looming.

Behind-the-scenes at the Lyle’s Golden Syrup factory

Pancakes are best served with… Well, the possibilities are endless, but many of us love nothing more than a drizzle of Lyle’s Golden Syrup.

The golden goo has been around for over 125 years – an enduring classic to say the least. I was recently invited to see how it’s made – I discovered the rich tradition that is Tate & Lyle’s.

Equipped with a hard hat, goggles, earplugs and other fashionable factory garb, I embarked on a tour of Lyle’s to see how golden syrup goes from sugar to the gooey goodness we know it as.

Two things stand out from this tour. The first is that it’s sensory overload – the entire factory smells of warm, nutty, sweet syrup. It’s the type of scent you wish you went home smelling like at the end of the day. It stayed in my hair and my clothes –  I was so happy it did.

The second thing that stands out most is the tradition. The tradition of the factory and the machines, but also of the workers. I met three factory workers at Lyle’s; two had been working there for over 30 years and another had been there for a mere 27 years… A rookie in Lyle’s terms.

I found that Lyle’s equals loyalty and not only in the sense of career length, but also in the secretive nature of the syrup recipe. Only seven people in the world know the recipe for Golden Syrup. Those seven people are, rather aptly, called ‘Goldies’ and they’re passionate about their syrup. Their job is to make sure the golden syrup in your kitchen is the same, high-quality product that it has been for decades.

The one thing that rivals the workers’ longevity is the machines’, many of which have been in commission for 40–50 years. Walking through the factory, tins of Golden Syrup whizz by overhead in an almost Willy Wonka-esque way. I couldn’t help but feel as though I’d been taken back in time. The video above was taken in 2016 and the photo below, in 1949. The machine is the same, give or take a few upgrades, and it’s job is still to ensure that the vacuum seal on Golden Syrup tins is secure. They sure don’t make ’em like they used to…

With 18 million tins of Golden Syrup sold in 2015 (in the UK) you can’t deny this country’s passion for the sweet stuff. It’s perfect on porridge, baked into tarts and even better drizzled over a pancake.

While Lyle’s holds onto tradition in many ways, they don’t let it hold them back from being inventive. If you’d rather have maple syrup on your pancakes this February 9, Lyle’s has you covered. How about blueberry or butterscotch or strawberry syrup? Again, Lyle’s has you covered. They’ve expanded their product range to cover everyone’s tastes, but nothing beats the original in my opinion…

And the best tip I learned along the way? Serve your Golden Syrup warmed up. If you can believe it, it’s even better than the room temperature stuff.

Check out some delicious. recipes that use Golden Syrup:

Honeycomb, pancetta and maple popcorn
Salted caramels
Millionaire’s shortbread
Lemony treacle tart


What’s your favourite way to use Lyle’s Golden Syrup? Let us know in the comments.

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