Oh where oh where can my Benger's be?

I have had a cry for help.   Many of you read my recent article about Benger’s Food and may have read the comment from BigDave who still has one solitary tin, which he rations to himself with laudable self restraint.  This was his message:

My old mum used to give me Bengers food when I was poorly as a child.
It was so scrummy I would sometimes fake being ill just to get a drink of it.
I have looked everywhere to try to buy some recently, but I think its gone out of production.  What a shame and a great loss to my taste buds.

Does anyone know if it can still be bought anywhere and if not, does anyone have any at home they would like to sell to me?
I would pay a very good price.
Contact me on………..
verytalldave (@) hotmail.com
If you can help…………..
Thanks to all………………..

I have tried very hard to research not only when Benger’s went out of production (I suspect late 50′s/early 60′s) but whether there are any tins of Benger’s out there, to put an end to BigDave’s torment.

Any information gratefully received.  Let’s help BigDave.

Ps.  He’s tried Complan but it falls woefully short.

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62 Responses to Oh where oh where can my Benger's be?

  1. wartimehousewife May 16, 2013 at 00:20 #

    Welcome Costa and how exciting to have a reader in Bogota! I shall definitely look up the Agatha Christie reference and I do hope you keep reading.

  2. emmaline June 22, 2013 at 03:12 #

    The book an earlier poster referred to was “Miss Buncle’s Book” by DE Stevenson, that most British author of cozy novels from the 1930s to ’60s. I was just reading it myself and came across the reference to Benger’s. The village doctor has been out delivering a baby and his good wife has waited up for him, reading a novel. When he comes home, she goes out to the kitchen for Benger’s and Maria biscuits. I imagined Benger’s as an instant broth as the dog in the scene is promised her own bowl of it. Glad I googled it and found this great website!

  3. wartimehousewife June 24, 2013 at 23:55 #

    Welcome Emmeline. We are really building up a history here and what a great reference this is. Big Tall Dave and I are on a mission with Bengers and will keep you updated as to our progress. Hope you keep reading!

  4. wartimehousewife June 25, 2013 at 23:41 #

    Benger’s update: Regular readers, Andy and Teddy, did a bit of digging about and found the following. They also have me some sound advice on getting more information with which I shall update you in due course.

    “There’s a world of good in the early morning cup of Benger. Mixed with fresh new milk Benger forms a dainty and delicious cream, and is a complete food in most agreeable form”.

    Sold in powdered form, Benger’s Food was wheat flour mixed with pancreatic enzymes and sold as an easily digested food for infants, convalescents and the aged. Prepared according to the instructions, it partially digested itself before being eaten. It could be mixed with milk or beef tea, or used in sauces on other foods. Depending on how it was prepared could be a milky drink, a beefy broth or a floury sludge. 1940s descriptions refer to it as a vitaminised and mineralised powder taken in hot milk, much like a tonic version of Horlicks.

    Benger’s also produced a book of recipes: Benger’s Food Ltd Alimentary Enzymes in Theory and Application, with special reference to their use in treatment and dietetics ”

    (Benger’s Food Ltd, Otter Works, Manchester, England 1912). This described foods made by mixing gastric or pancreatic enzymes with milk, cream, beef tea and lentil flour, along with warnings about not mixing enzymes in such a way that they digested each other! The Benger’s book aimed for an authoritative scientific tone; its illustrations were microscope slides of congealed partially digested foods to show the flocculation structure and there were numerous references from pre-1910 medical books and journals, for example

    “Hutchison’s Food and the Principles of Dietetics”, a treatise on vomiting in pregnancy in

    “Nursing Times” of March 31st, 1906 and “Benger’s Food: Its Wider Uses”, from the “Medical Press and Circular” of Jan 23rd, 1907.

  5. wartimehousewife June 25, 2013 at 23:52 #

    “There’s a world of good in the early morning cup of Benger. Mixed with fresh new milk Benger forms a dainty and delicious cream, and is a complete food in most agreeable form”.

    Sold in powdered form, Benger’s Food was wheat flour mixed with pancreatic enzymes and sold as an easily digested food for infants, convalescents and the aged. Prepared according to the instructions, it partially digested itself before being eaten. It could be mixed with milk or beef tea, or used in sauces on other foods. Depending on how it was prepared could be a milky drink, a beefy broth or a floury sludge. 1940s descriptions refer to it as a vitaminised and mineralised powder taken in hot milk, much like a tonic version of Horlicks.

    Benger’s also produced a book of recipes: Benger’s Food Ltd Alimentary Enzymes in Theory and Application, with special reference to their use in treatment and dietetics ” (Benger’s Food Ltd, Otter Works, Manchester, England 1912). This described foods made by mixing gastric or pancreatic enzymes with milk, cream, beef tea and lentil flour, along with warnings about not mixing enzymes in such a way that they digested each other! The Benger’s book aimed for an authoritative scientific tone; its illustrations were microscope slides of congealed partially digested foods to show the flocculation structure and there were numerous references from pre-1910 medical books and journals, for example “Hutchison’s Food and the Principles of Dietetics”, a treatise on vomiting in pregnancy in “Nursing Times” of March 31st, 1906 and “Benger’s Food: Its Wider Uses”, from the “Medical Press and Circular” of Jan 23rd, 1907.

  6. Rob January 13, 2014 at 11:22 #

    Update? Did you get anywhere with your quest to replicate Bengers Food?

    If any help.. I came across an article that shows that Bengers Food Ltd. was relocated to Holmes Chapel in in 1939 and the company was then re-named Bengers Ltd. Fisons Ltd. acquired it in 1947. In 1995 Fisons PLC was acquired by the French owned pharmaceutical manufacturer Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Ltd.

    I would be interested in how you get on with your quest if still active. I remember enjoying drinking it at home when a child up to around 1978. I am now 50.

  7. wartimehousewife January 13, 2014 at 11:27 #

    Hi Rob. So sorry not to have replied to your earlier request for info, I’ve been a bit frantic and it slipped down my list of things to do.

    Thanks for the additional information; I haven’t done anything about it as yet, although it is definitely something I’ll be following up very soon. My plan is to get a couple of small samples from Big Tall Dave and, after assessing their level of interest, send them to Nestle (who currently make Ovaltine) and or Horlicks and see what they have to say. I will keep you posted and I appreciate you giving me a nudge!

  8. Rob January 15, 2014 at 09:36 #

    FAB! I’ll keep an eye out here :)

  9. Nikki March 12, 2014 at 08:05 #

    I have great memories of Bengers food. As a weekly child it made up most of my daily diet. I have often wondered where I could get some, but it would seem that it’s not possible?

    I agree that Complan is a poor substitute and considering the amount needed in each helping, it’s a very expensive answer.

    I was pleased to find your web site and will follow with interest

  10. wartimehousewife March 12, 2014 at 12:40 #

    Welcome Nikki. I have promised to get a sample from Big Tall Dave and send it off for analysis and thence to a company such as NEstle who might be interested in manufacturing it again. My workload is pretty mega at the moment but as soon as things quieten down I shall be on to it. I’m sure that there is a place for such a product in today’s market and people seem to have such fond memories of it.

  11. sue March 19, 2014 at 01:32 #

    Have you tried the Museum of Brands? The Robert Opie collection may have some old tins of Bengers or advertising emphemera.

  12. wartimehousewife March 19, 2014 at 16:47 #

    I have, Sue. I have plenty of ephemera but the tins don’t contain the eact ingredients because they didn’t have to in those days. However, I have had a new lead today so I will keep you all posted.

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