World famous premium sweet brand Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls is celebrating its first overseas order since before the coronavirus outbreak, as demand for its products starts to return to normal.

The order, from American speciality foods importer British Delights, of Westford, Massachusetts, is for 600 packets of traditional and sugar free mint balls as well as 60 800g share jars, 50 2kg bulk bags and 30 250g share cartons.

Uncle Joe’s is also starting to receive foreign enquiries for product availability and pricing, the latest coming from a firm in Texas.

John Winnard, Joint Managing Director of Wigan-based Uncle Joe’s, said foreign orders had been affected due to the uncertainty and restrictions caused by coronavirus but that it appeared confidence was starting to return to the market.


He said the coronavirus pandemic had resulted in the cancellation of two major trade shows – the Food and Drink Expo 2020 at the NEC, Birmingham, in March and interpack, Düsseldorf, at the end of February.

With the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York this month also cancelled, he said export demand across the industry had suffered a large and unforeseen drop.

He said: “We have a good, long-standing relationship with British Delights and they had been ordering from us every six to eight weeks up until January, when coronavirus uncertainty started to have an effect on all foreign orders.

“It is great that this type of order is returning and we are hoping that it is a sign of increased confidence across the marketplace.”

British Delights serves a network of British Stores across the Eastern Seaboard, which provide British expats with the foods they miss from home.

Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are made by William Santus and Co Ltd, a privately-owned traditional sweet company that was established in 1898. The ownership has been passed down through the family generations.

The Mint Balls are still manufactured using the same traditional methods as when Mrs Santus originally made the sweets in her kitchen in 1898.

In April last year HRH Prince Charles enjoyed a tour of the Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls factory in Wigan to celebrate the centenary of The Toffee Works.

He saw how the sweets were manufactured and met Joint Managing Directors Antony Winnard and John Winnard MBE, the great, great nephews of the company’s founder, William Santus.

The completely natural “secret recipe” has been passed down through the family generations. Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls contain no artificial additives or colours, they are GM free, gluten free and are suitable for the vegetarian/vegan market.