Brand History of Menier


Menier was founded by Jean Antoine Brutus Menier in 1816. Menier was initially a pharmaceutical company based in Paris, although not trained as a pharmacist, he sold a number of different powders for medicinal purposes. Chocolate was used initially by him as a medicinal ingredient and covering for bitter- tasting pills.


Menier built a factory in Noisiel in 1825 to accommodate an expansion in the company which in 1830 became the first mechanized mass production factory for cocoa powder in France.


Menier then became the first company to introduce blocks of chocolate in 1836 which were wrapped in a yellow paper. Menier was an entrepreneur and innovator, pioneering the conching process that enabled the mass production of premium chocolate.


After an expansion at the factory in Noisiel, by 1853 Menier was producing over 4,000 tonnes of chocolate a year.


In 1862, Emile-Justin Menier invested in a plantation in Nicaragua with sugar beet fields and a sugar refinery at Roye in the Somme in France as well as a merchant fleet of ships for transportation.


A factory in London was purchased which became known as the Menier Chocolate factory as well as a site in New York.


Further expansion at the Noisiel Factory saw the construction of the most modern production facilities in the world


Owing to increased production, now up to 125,000 tonnes annually, more workers were needed in the factory and were needed to be sought from other towns and cities. Owing to the lack of housing in the small town of Noisiel, Menier built, on 30 hectares of land near to the factory, 312 houses for their workers and a school for the workers children to attend. The town hall was also built and a Menier family member would be a mayor ever year up until 1959.


In 1878 Menier won 7 gold medals in the World’s Fair in Paris for excellence of their products and the way in which they looked after the welfare of their employees.


A modern refrigeration system was added to the plant in 1881 and a rail line was built up to the Noisiel Factory which helped to reduce the costs for incoming and outgoing freight and allowed for a far wider, and quicker distribution.


The factory in New York was constructed in 1891 on West Broadway and Leonard Street.


Firmin Buisset in 1892 created a poster that would leave its mark on the history of advertising.


At the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago they were billed as the leading chocolate makers in the world.


The Menier establishments are rewarded during the universal exhibition of 1900 and obtain a gold medal ex aequo.


By 1900 the London factory is producing 1,000 tonnes of chocolate in a year and the Noisiel factory was creating 16,000 tonnes, more than half of the French market.


The city of Noieiel is complete. It includes 138 houses and 312 accommodations. This though is only enough to house 60% of the personnel and so they go on to build a small city of 53 accommodations and five shops for trade in Champs – sur- Marne. They also go on to organise 100 accommodations in the surrounding villages


In 1914 the factory workers count is 2,400 and they are producing 6,000kg of chocolate a day.


Menier is the first company in 1929 to cover the roads and hour before the racers pass in the Tour De France with the distribution of paper hats and samples of their chocolate.


Menier in 1930 began selling the kiosk money boxes aimed at children for Christmas.


In the June of 1939 the company carries a reduction in capital by the withdrawal of buildings in Paris and the field of Noisiel.


The Menier Family leave the management of the company in 1959 and also the city of Noisiel


The First and Second World War in France took their toll on the production and work force and saw the company merge with Cacao Barry.


By 1965 the Menier family held no interest in the company.


The Menier factory in Noisiel was sold to Group Ufico-Perrier which became part of British confectioners Rowntree Mackintosh in 1971.


In 1988 it was acquired by the Swiss food and drinks company Nestle.


The factory in Noisiel was designated by the government of France as an official ‘Monument historique’


In 1996 Menier moved production to Broc in Switzerland where it remains today. The main building at the Noisiel Factory site was turned into Nestle France’s headquarters and other parts of the site have been turned into a chocolate museum, open to the general public.


The derelict Menier Chocolate Factory in Shoreditch, London reopened as a theatre with café, bar and art space and can be visited here


The factory in Noisiel is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site


Menier celebrates its 200th Anniversary Year