Australia’s First Chocolate Manufacturer Labelled Foreign


Australia’s oldest chocolate manufacturer, Ernest Hillier’s, has fought back amidst initial claims by Ausbuy that the company was foreign owned.

Picture: Ernest Hillier’s Plant in Coburg North

A couple of months ago an article in Australian Manufacturing, published under the category of Australian Made, highlighted Australia’s longest running chocolate manufacturer, Ernest Hillier’s Chocolates.
Established in Sydney in 1914, Hillier’s was founded by ‘committed chocolate enthusiast’ Ernest Hillier. As the company grew, operations moved to Melbourne and after 98 years Hillier’s  continues to be a ‘fully Australian owned family company’.

Recently Ausbuy, an organisation that represents Australian owned businesses, published their nationwide “AUSBUY GUIDE” which listed Hillier’s as foreign. The guide, which is distributed three times a year, is designed to promote locally owned businesses and foreign companies.

Hillier’s was quick to respond to the false listing, issuing a statement:


“How could Ausbuy get it so wrong? We are Australian owned with 98 years of Australian heritage, and the “AUSBUY GUIDE” state that the Ernest Hillier brand is foreign.”

With consumers becoming increasingly aware of the benifits of buying Australian products, Hillier’s believes their Australian heritage is one of their major selling points.

“We recognise ourselves as having a strong customer base, through competitive pricing and more importantly producing a quality Australian made product.”

“We are extremely aware of the growing trend to encourage consumers to invest in Australian Made produce, rather than imported and we are strongly supportive of companies that communicate to consumers about Australian Made brands, and the benefits to both Australian population and the environment. However, with the current climate, a lot of these Australian made “clubs” have price tags, and in a recent edition of the AusBuy Buying Guide we have been labeled as a “foreign brand “and not Australian. ” Hillier’s.

Ausbuy CEO, Lynne Wilkinson commented on the issue, putting it down to a clerical error.

“Please note that we have placed an erratum on our web site prominently and have made the necessary adjustment in the next AUSBUY Guide – the error recently occurred as a clerical error and was not identified till Ernest Hillier advised us.”

“The Guide has been produced for 21 years and only this year included Hilliers. We give priority to our members and as a matter of courtesy include non members companies, ” said Wilkinson.

Picture: Hand Placing chocolates inside the north coburg factory

Hillier’s has questioned the overall creditability of the publication, believing incorrect information will cause more harm than good, as after requesting the change, they were shocked to discover they had been again listed as foreign for another ‘3 months of the magazines shelf life’.

“The question we ask is, does the management of the AusBuy Buying Guide verify all of the facts prior to printing, or are they simply not interested, so long as companies pay for a membership? ” Hillier’s.

The publication has been produced for 21 years, and Lynne Wilkson believes there are few if any errors in the Guide.

“We only recently included Hilliers in the Guide and a single error was made – when it was corrected the error was not removed.”

“Apologies have been given and the error will be corrected in the next Guide,” she said.

Hillier’s has called for the support of local buyers to keep their Australian operations going.

Ernest Hillier, Hillier’s and Newman’s are all 100% Australian made and owned. We hope you all can continue to support our Aussie chocolate making facility in Melbourne so we can continue to create premium chocolate magic for many more years to come.”

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