Menier Chocolate

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14.03.2014 Posted in Food No Comments

A few days ago I watched the most amusing documentary about Menier Chocolate, one of the first chocolate producers in France.Affiche_Chocolat_Menier-Bouisset-1894

What does this  have to do with Red?

Most of the publicity of the once famous Menier Chocolate was Red I also thought it was a beautiful story.

Though I have been living in France for 15 years, this was the first time I haa heard about the Menier family and the chocolate they produced. The company was created in 1816 by Antoine Brutus Menier, the founding patriarch of the Menier business. Mr Menier was a pharmaceutical manufacturer at the time, when chocolate was a medicinal product used for coating bitter –tasting pills.

Chocolaterie_Menier_moulin_Saulnier_reflet_MarneMenirer had a factory in Noisiel, a small village in the suburbs of Paris, where he produced his chocolate powder and where a few years later he produced his first block of chocolate wrapped in decorative paper. By 1864 Menier had become the largest chocolate producer in France. The family expanded their business. To attract workers they built houses in Noisiel, a school for children who eventually would work in the factory, a hospital, grocery shops, a retirement home and a town hall where the inhabitants of Noisiel could meet, enlarging the community from 200 to a few thousand.

La_fillette_MenierThe Menier family were real pioneers of advertising. An image of a girl wearing a red blouse and holding a red umbrella was a real breakthrough in publicity, which hugely increased the consumption of their products. The same girl on another advertisement-poster warned consumers against the forgery of Menier chocolate, since Menier imitations were swiftly invading the market. Menier chocolate was supplied to the soldiers during Menier KioskWorld War I. Menier was also the first to produce chocolate sticks which could be inserted into bread.

A real market success, the sticks were widely distributed in Red hexagon-shaped red kiosks.

With more Swiss, Belgian and French chocolate appearing on the market, the Menier Family eventually sold their business to Nestlé, which now has its HQ in the former Menier factory.

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