In January 2018, Nestlé sold the iconic Australian chocolate bar to the South Australian confectionery company Robert Menz, returning it to Australian ownership. The Violet Crumble ownership change was announced by no less than the Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill. He said the manufacturing operation would return to South Australia, creating 30 new jobs.
Violet Crumble had not been Australian owned since 1972, when the UK-owned Rowntree company bought Hoadley’s. The Hoadley’s confectionery factory was originally located just south of the Yarra River, near Melbourne’s Princes Bridge. Violet Crumble appeared sometime between the opening of the factory in 1913 and 1921, when they were advertised in a Perth newspaper.
Rowntree-Hoadley moved the manufacturing operation to South Australia, but there was another Violet Crumble ownership change in 1989 when the brand was sold to Nestlé, who moved operations back to Campbellfield north of Melbourne. Now it will move again.
New owners Robern Menz already produced more than 100 products, including a South Australian favourite called Fruchocs. Fruchocs are fruit balls covered in chocolate. They are perhaps not the most prepossessing of sweets. “Agronomists the world over must marvel at a state that turns its stone-fruit harvest into chocolate coated pellets resembling rabbit poo,” writes Nick Ryan, of the Adelaide News.
Robern Menz is a fourth-generation family owned confectionery business tracing its origins back to 1911. This latest Violet Crumble ownership change was assisted by a $750,000 state government Future Jobs Fund grant and a $900,000 loan from the South Australian Investment Attraction Agency. Which explains why the Premier was keen to be personally involved in the announcement.