RETRO sweets Wham Bars and Highland Toffee will now be made in York after Tangerine Confectionery bought the brands.

Tangerine, which makes Barratts Refreshers, Sherbet Dip Dabs, Black Jacks and Fruit Salads, bought the brands from Scottish confectioner Millar McCowan, which recently entered administration.

Wham Bars, with sugar crystals to create a “tongue tingling” effect, were launched in the early 1980s and have been a firm favourite for more than 25 years establishing almost cult status amongst consumers. In recent times, it has expanded into new flavours and formats including minis and sharing bags.

Alison Lewis, marketing director, for Tangerine Confectionery, said that ownership of the Wham brand enhanced Tangerine’s position as the number one manufacturer in kid’s singles, with the business now producing six out of the top 10 chew bar brands.

She said: “To have secured the Wham and Highland Toffee brands and to be adding them to a portfolio which includes some of Britain’s best loved sweets is a significant step for the business. They both retain such a strong appeal for adults and kids alike and have a natural place amongst our family favourites.”

Highland Toffee, which has been around for 80 years, will broaden Tangerine’s more traditional confectionery offering alongside brands such as Taveners, Lion and Jameson’s, she said.

Tangerine said the acquisition was in line with its expansion strategy, which has seen the busines quadruple its turnover to more than £160 million in the last five years, acquiring Burton’s Confectionery in August 2006 and York’s Monkhill Confectionery in 2008, which manufactures Butterkist popcorn brand, Barratt Sherbet Fountains as well as Jameson’s chocolate confectionery.

The business said it was too early to say whether the acquisition would generate any new jobs.