The Polly Waffle is back … and it’ll be made right here in SA

A decade after disappearing from supermarket shelves, the legendary Polly Waffle chocolate bar is back.

Fourth-generation South Australian family business Robern Menz has acquired the long-lost chocolate treat from Swiss confectionery giant Nestlé, which discontinued the Polly Waffle in 2009.

Robern Menz – maker of much-loved Fruchocs – will take ownership of the Polly Waffle brand and trademark as well as the famous recipe.

The Polly Waffle’s history dates back to 1947, when Melbourne-based Hoadley’s Chocolates first made the chocolate-coated wafer and marshmellow bar.

Robern Menz acquired another iconic sweet – the Violet Crumble – from Nestlé in 2018 and rolled the first bar off its production line last October. The addition to the company meant 30 jobs were created and the factory expanded.

Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims says the Polly Waffle has entered into the territory of Australian legend, after production ceased almost 10 years ago.

“There are kids and even young adults out there who don’t really know what a Polly Waffle is and haven’t tasted it before, but there are also many devoted fans who have been campaigning hard for its return,” he says.

“Since taking over the Violet Crumble brand we have been bombarded with two distinct questions, when are you bringing back the bags of Violet Crumble and when are you bringing back Polly Waffle? There is even a Facebook page that has over 55,000 members petitioning to ‘Bring Back The Polly Waffle.’

“As an Australian family-owned business, we have a real affinity for local brands and to have the opportunity to revive them and bring them back into the market is such a privilege. We also love a challenge and are honoured to be the business that gets the chance to try to bring back the Polly Waffle.

“Australia’s food production industry is important to our future economy and sustainability. We believe our role and contribution is keeping as much manufacturing here as possible and creating jobs, and we’ve been doing this for over 150 years.”

When Brand SA News shared news of the Violet Crumble acquisition in 2018, social media users inundated Brand South Australia’s Facebook page, commenting on their desire for the Polly Waffle to return.

“Great news for SA! Now bring back the Polly Waffle,” said Derek Turner, while Sam Gibbs agreed. “Fantastic. I’m also on the POLLY WAFFLE bandwagon too. PLEASE.”

Nestlé business executive officer–confectionery, Chris O’Donnell, says Nestlé is also excited about the Polly Waffle’s return.

“Polly Waffle is one of those iconic brands that despite its absence from market still has a loyal following,” he says.

“We wish Robern Menz the best of luck in bringing it back and giving Australia’s Polly Waffle lovers the opportunity to enjoy it once again.”

Robern Menz is also bringing back the much-loved Violet Crumble 180g bag, featuring bite-sized versions of the chocolate bar, available at a number of national retailers from March 2019.

The Robern Menz factory is located at Glynde in Adelaide’s north eastern suburbs.

Header image is of Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Sweet export deal for SA-made chocolate icon

The iconic South Australian-made chocolate bar, Violet Crumble, will make its way from Adelaide and into the hands of American chocolate lovers as Robern Menz expands its export plan in the US.

A 20-ft shipping container holding 77,000 of the chocolate honeycomb treats will leave Adelaide for Los Angeles and San Francisco this week, following a deal between Violet Crumble’s maker Robern Menz and distributors British Wholesale Imports last month.

Violet Crumbles have been available in a small number of US outlets including Cost Plus World Market, Wegmans, Stater Brothers and 7 Eleven for more than 20 years, but Robern Menz has a strategic focus to expand internationally.

Inside the Robern Menz factory. Photo by Julian Cebo.

Fourth-generation family business Robern Menz, also the maker of the round chocolate apricot treat Fruchocs, acquired Violet Crumble from Swiss confectionery giant Nestlé earlier this year, bringing ownership of the famous purple and yellow wrapped bar back to Australia for the first time in 46 years.

Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims says the company is “thrilled” to be in a position to manage the expansion of the well known Aussie brand into international markets, including the US.

“The reception around our planned expansion in the US has been really positive; Violet Crumble’s unique taste profile and branding is really resonating with Americans, who want to know how they can buy it locally,” he says.

“It’s so rewarding to see the first shipment leave the factory and make its way into the hands of American consumers and we can’t wait to hear the reaction from many more Americans to something that Australians hold so dear.”

The Violet Crumble is known for its tagline ‘it’s the way it shatters that matters’.

Production of the Violet Crumble in Adelaide began in October, following a $4 million refit and extension of the Robern Menz factory at Glynde in Adelaide’s east.

The factory’s overall output was increased by 37% and 30 additional staff were hired to oversee production and management of the Violet Crumble.

Robern Menz is also celebrating for another reason this week, after becoming the inaugural inductee for the Consumer Award Legend at the SA Food Industry Awards.

The Violet Crumble chocolate bar has been around since 1913 when it was invented by Melbourne man Abel Hoadley.

It was made in Adelaide until 1985 before moving to Melbourne under Nestlé’s ownership.

Header image by Julian Cebo.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Robern Menz begins Violet Crumble production in SA

What’s wrapped in yellow and purple and shatters into glistening shards of honeycomb when crunched?

The iconic Violet Crumble chocolate bar this week began production in Adelaide after South Australian sweets maker Robern Menz acquired the brand from Swiss confectionery giant Nestlé earlier this year.

Thirty jobs have been created to oversee the production and management of the chocolate honeycomb treat, increasing the Robern Menz factory’s overall output by 37% – equating to enough Violet Crumbles to stretch from Adelaide to Sydney if laid end to end.

It is the first time in 46 years that the Violet Crumble is Australian owned.

With financial support from the State Government, Robern Menz acquired nine semi-trailer truckloads of equipment from the Melbourne Nestlé factory, a process taking three months and more than 100 people working on the project.

The Robern Menz factory at Glynde in Adelaide’s east has also undergone a $4m refit and extension with new warehousing facilities added.

Robern Menz has more than 150 years of sweet tradition and is mostly known as the maker of local favourite the Fruchoc, a chocolate coated apricot and peach-centred sweet that is National Trust Heritage listed.

The fourth-generation family owned business is now the custodian of the original Violet Crumble recipe, which it says it will keep using, in addition to sustainable and ethically sourced cocoa.

Phil, left, and Richard Sims from Robern Menz.

Robern Menz CEO Phil Sims says it’s a privilege to have custody of one of Australia’s greatest chocolate bar brands, and to produce it in a way that does justice to its history.

“The recipe and process technique is top-secret,” says Phil, also an I Choose SA ambassador.

“That’s why the Violet Crumble explosive and shattering honeycomb experience is so unique and so loved by generations of Australians since it was first created in Australia by Abel Hoadley as Australia’s first chocolate bar in 1913.”

“It’s exciting to be part of the legacy.”

The Violet Crumble was invented by Melbourne man Abel Hoadley in 1913 and was made in Adelaide by previous manufacturer Rowntree Hoadley until 1985.

Nestlé later bought Rowntree and the Violet Crumble has since been made in Melbourne – until now.

The crumbly sweet is known for the tagline ‘it’s the way it shatters that matters’.

Robern Menz is one of the largest Australian-owned confectionary businesses and aside from Fruchocs produces over 100 other products included Crown Mints and JeliChocs.

It exports to the US and throughout Asia.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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