Production of Nestlé’s popular Allen’s lollies has moved to regional Victoria proving Australia’s ongoing nostalgia for these sweet treats.
'Indulging in lollies every day takes the fun out of them, we want to keep them as a special treat,' Nestlé Factory Manager, Emily Bradbury says.
Emily is a star in her children’s eyes and is quick to add that they have a great relationship with their dentist who keeps their consumption in check.
'Our eldest is very interested in the samples I bring home, but she knows not to eat the whole bag as it will make the experience less special.'
Emily leads the factory team at the Broadford site in Central Victoria – home to Nestlé Allen’s lollies including the popular Minties and Snakes Alive. Production moved from the New Zealand factory in 2021 to allow larger amounts of lollies to be produced and for advanced technology to wrap the sweet treats at high speeds. The move from New Zealand increased lolly production to more than 20,000 tonnes at Broadford.
The $12 million expansion is supported by the Victorian Government’s Regional Jobs Fund and will create new jobs and long-term security for Nestlé staff - Mitchell Shires’ largest private employer.
Nestlé’s Allen’s factory was once located in the heart of Melbourne, close to trade routes. As the city grew, the lollies factory was pushed out to regional Victoria.
Nestlé started in 1866 and found fame in producing baby food with the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company. With the company stretching like a jelly snake around the world throughout the years, Nestlé also brought the well-known Kit Kat, Milo and Maggi 2 Minute noodles to the homes of many, along with other high profile pantry items. It is this long history of manufacturing that has made Victoria the leading manufacturing state in Australia.
Working at Nestlé for 15 years in 6 different factories, Emily jumped at the opportunity to return to her hometown in Broadford to use her knowledge and help produce quality product in a safe environment.
'My mum’s still in Broadford – it’s a really genuine Aussie town and so lovely,' Emily says.
The town is filled with factory workers and the family connections are strong. So strong that the Nestlé site has opened up a staff shop for the local community to purchase products at a discounted price while keeping connected. It was an idea born during the pandemic when locals were hesitant to visit supermarkets.
Australia has a long history with lollies and was another reason production moved from New Zealand to Victoria.
'There’s a bit of nostalgia with lollies in Australia,' Emily notes.
'Australians love a bit of fun, whether that’s putting a set of chewy teeth in your mouth and pretending you’re a vampire or just being surrounded by so much colour and that fruity smell.'
Emily focuses on improving products to create more of what consumers want and is proud to see the factory growing each year.
One way the food company is improving its products is by reducing the environmental impact of its packaging. The change means that people can put the wrapper into recycling after ripping it open for a sugar hit.
Emily says that 'people love our products and want more, and even better if they can enjoy it sustainably.'
As a child, Emily saw lollies as a party food only and something she didn’t have access to all the time. She says lollies are a celebration food and a sharing treat that brings people together.
'Whether you’re a kid or adult, lollies bring joy and a smile to your face,' she says.
'The texture in our lollies is also quite unique – I have memories of seeing how long I could pull a jelly snake.'
The childhood connection to lollies conjures up images of a lolly shop with brown paper bags filled to the brim with colourful treats gripped tightly by young hands. While only a few of these speciality stores remain in regional Victoria, Nestlé’s Allen’s Party Mix has filled this gap. The colourful lolly mix is accessible to a lot more Victorians and within minutes of their home.
'We’re about convenience and being able to buy what you need in one place.'
For more information on the fund supporting the new jobs and long-term security for Nestlé staff, visit: Regional Jobs Fund.