Australia’s First Chocolate Manufacturer


    Earning the reputation for producing high quality chocolates, countries like Switzerland and Belgium have yet another rival, Australia. 

    Established in Sydney in 1914, Hillier’s Chocolates was founded by Ernest Hillier, a committed chocolate enthusiast, who hand employed a selection of boutique chocolates, made available through his Pitt street refreshment store. This Marked the beginnings of Australia’s first chocolate manufacturer.

    Hillier’s vintage factory circa 1940

    “In 1934, after the depression the company moved its sole factory to Melbourne in where it remains. As the first chocolatier to set up in Australia, Ernest Hillier still proudly remains Australian owned and made. ” said Ernest Hillier’s General Manager, AnnaMaria Lapetina.

    The company, now a household name in Australia, currently employs 87 staff, has a product range consisting of over 600 products and exports to countries like Singapore and New Zealand.

    When asked about how the rising Australian dollar has effected operations, AnnaMaria Lapetina believes the uncertainty of the price of  ingredients is a concern.

    “The uncertainty surrounding the rising costs of our key ingredients such as cocoa butter, sugar is always an ongoing challenge for the business even with the rising Australian dollar. Having said that, the rise in the dollar has also been beneficial to some degree too,” she said.

    With a rich manufacturing history, almost spanning 100 years, the family run business has already experienced the increase in operations under the Government’s new carbon tax.

    AnnaMaria Lapetina, Hilliers General Manager

    “We have already started to see proposed rises in price for packaging from suppliers as an effort to try and cover their own costs for the carbon tax. Having said this, we are based in a very competitive industry when it comes to price point, and we are increasingly finding it difficult to compete with lower priced imported goods. The additional costs in supplies to cover our suppliers tax is really concerning, as the passing the buck game generally stops with us.”

    However, Lapetina believes the tax has pushed the company towards leaner manufacturing methods.

    “The carbon tax is paving a path for companies like us to explore renewable packaging, as the additional costs for the recycled supplies can now be subsided.  We already look at ways of cutting down on costs and carbon by reducing handling and transport and  we try and reduce packaging components were necessary.”

    For more information, please visit Hillier’s Chocolates.