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.

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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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