Violet Crumble back in Australian hands

The iconic Violet Crumble chocolate bar is back in Australian hands after a fourth-generation family owned Adelaide business inked a deal with Swiss food and beverage giant Nestlé to acquire the brand.

Robern Menz, one of the largest Australian-owned confectionery businesses, will buy the Violet Crumble brand and its associated intellectual property, plant and equipment for an undisclosed sum. Manufacturing, sales and marketing operations will transition to Robern Menz gradually through 2018.

It already produces more than 100 products including Menz FruChocs, Crown Mints and JeliChocs at its Adelaide factory, which will begin manufacturing Violet Crumbles in the coming months.

English migrant Abel Hoadley is credited with inventing the Violet Crumble in the early 1900s at his confectionery works in Melbourne. His Hoadley's Chocolates business was bought in 1972 by the UK's Rowntree Company, which was in turn acquired by Nestlé in 1989.

Robern Menz will acquire the Violet Crumble brand and its associated intellectual property, plant and equipment for an undisclosed sum. Photo: AAP

Robern Menz will acquire the Violet Crumble brand and its associated intellectual property, plant and equipment for an undisclosed sum. Photo: AAP

Violet Crumble has been manufactured at the Nestlé factory in Campbellfield, Melbourne since then. Nestlé said there would be no changes to staffing at its factory.

Robern Menz chief executive Phil Sims said: "We are really excited to have partnered with Nestlé and reached an agreement to acquire what is undoubtedly one of Australia's great brands.

"As the new gatekeeper of Violet Crumble, we are aware of the responsibility that comes along with owning a brand so highly regarded in the Australian market place.

"We are fiercely passionate about Australian brands and with a significant honeycomb business of our own, the opportunity was too good to pass on. With our expertise, we can ensure that Violet Crumble is produced with no change to the recipe, and with the same passion and affinity Australians have had towards the brand since 1913."

Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims, left, with Richard Sims, said: "As the new gatekeeper of Violet Crumble, we are aware of the responsibility that comes along with owning a brand so highly regarded in the Australian market place." Photo: Supplied

Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims, left, with Richard Sims, said: "As the new gatekeeper of Violet Crumble, we are aware of the responsibility that comes along with owning a brand so highly regarded in the Australian market place." Photo: Supplied

Mr Sims said Robern Menz was planning to reintroduce the product in a variety of "nostalgic formats".

Robern Menz, which will investing $4 million in 2018 on a factory refit and extension and new warehousing facilities, expects the deal to create up to 30 jobs.

Nestlé general manager, confectionery, Martin Brown said the company was delighted that the history and tradition of Violet Crumble would continue under local ownership.

"I want to recognise the passion of generations of confectioners who have made Violet Crumble in our Nestlé Campbellfield factory. We remain committed to manufacturing our other loved brands, such as KitKat, Milkybar, Allens and Soothers here in Australia," he said.

Robern Menz was aided by a $750,000 state government Future Jobs Fund grant and a $900,000 loan from the Investment Attraction Agency.

BusinessDay

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