History

Today, the Josef Manner & Comp AG is a rare example of a large successful Austrian company which is still, for the most part, owned by the family.

There are 700 employees working at the two locations - the headquarters in Vienna's 17th district and the branch in Wolkersdorf in Lower Austria. This is where the popular products made by Manner, Casali, Napoli, Ildefonso and Victor Schmidt are produced. These well-loved products are then exported to more than 50 European and non-European countries. In the 2012 business year the turnover of the Josef Manner & Comp AG was 176,3 million Euros.

  • Josef Manner I – pioneer and businessman

    Like all great success stories, this one too begins with just one person from the pioneer times of the company. Josef Manner, a trained businessman, opened a small shop in 1890 in the heart of Vienna just a stone's throw away from the huge doors of Vienna's St Stephan's cathedral. There he mainly sold bars of chocolate and fig coffee.  Josef Manner pursued the goal from the very beginning to offer better quality chocolate products cheaper than the competitors'. "Every child who spends a Kreuzer on one of my products", he used to say, "should not just get a sweet titbit, but also something of nutritional value".

  • Josef I becomes a chocolate manufacturer

    As Josef Manner's suppliers at the time were not in a position to deliver the desired chocolate quality, the chocolatier from Stephansplatz quickly decided to produce chocolate himself. 

    At the age of just 25, Josef Manner I bought a licence, the premises and modest facilities from a small chocolate producer in the 5th district of Vienna in the former Wildenmanngasse – and was, from the 1st March 1890, the new owner of the "Chocoladenfabrik Josef Manner“.

  • "Chocolate for everyone“

    "Chocolate for everyone“ – this was the beginning of the slogan. Today we have an old "rubbing stone" on which the cocoa beans were once ground by hand and a business card, (which shows the trademark "St Stephan's cathedral" in its original form and which has been used ever since) to remind us of these times.

    Josef Manner was at first – as was the case of many of his successful colleagues from the "period of promoterism" – a producer, salesclerk and advertising agent in one person and he often even delivered the products to the customers. However, the success made it all worthwhile - already in the year of founding - 1890 - he had to expand. The store at Stephansplatz and the factory in Wildenmanngasse - which very quickly proved to be too small - were sold.

    By 1897 the former sweets seller had become a veritable chocolate producer who bore the responsibility for over 100 employees in his office in Hernalser Kulmgasse, which was gradually being extended near his parental home.

  • Great value, great taste!

    Within not quite a decade the young company "Chocolade Manner" with its slogan "value for money and good" became one of the leading confectioners of the Austro-Hungarian empire and had extended its range of goods to so much more than "Manner-Chocolade“. Whoever looks in a catalogue, will find in addition to bars of chocolate, chocolate sweets and "pure cocoa" in tins, also such articles as raspberry juice, fig coffee, jelly fondant and a number of chocolate figures for children.

    Also in the area of organisation the company was innovative and changed the Josef Manner & Co. to a public limited company in 1913. Naturally there were many more milestones in the history of the company.

  • Neapolitan wafer No. 239

    Meanwhile, the Manner wafer, which has even risen to the level of a Hollywood icon in the hands of Arnold Schwarzenegger, was first mentioned in a Manner product catalogue in 1898 under the rather dry name of "Neapolitan wafer No. 239“.

    The Manner wafer - whose size 49 x 17 x 17 mms - has not changed to this day, owed its name to an early idea of controlled indication of origin - the hazelnuts in the cream mass between the five wafer layers came from the Naples area - an area that people in Vienna considered almost magical and which awakened Mediterranean desires. 

  • A new partner

    The rapid success of his enterprise made Josef Manner believe relatively early that it would seem advisable to take a business partner. He found one in his competent accountant Alfred Teller who already joined the company from the third business year with a 50% interest in the company. On the 16th October, 1900 – two years after the invention of the Manner wafers – Teller sold his interest to none other than his brother-in-law, Johann Riedl – and laid thus the foundation for the still continuing fantastic cooperation between the Manner and Riedl families.

    Under the management of the successful duo Josef Manner and Johann Riedl the success and turnovers of the enterprise rose continuously. Already in 1904, therefore, the further extension of the Hernals factory had to be started. For nine years, up to 1913, industrious construction activity was the order of the day and because the order books often filled faster than the rooms could be extended, it was not seldom the case that production took place "on the building site“.

  • A stock company was established

    After having extended the existing factory building, which had been in existence since 1895, and replacing Manner's old parental home with a practical new building, highly-modern machinery was acquired, which helped the Manner company make the jump to the uncontested number one of the confectionery companies of the Danube Monarchy.

    Considering this story of success, the next step was – as for every prosperous company – to go public. On October 23rd 1913, the Josef Manner & Co company became a stock company named Josef Manner & Comp AG. At the helm of the company (which by then had more than 3,000 employees, over 60 horses and, in the meantime, the most modern production facilities of the time) were Josef Manner and Johann Riedl, who was supported by his four sons and his son-in-law.

  • World War I

    When World War I broke out on 28 July 1914, the Manner company faced considerable, but, for the time being, not unresolvable, problems. The company easily managed to get through the first few years of war thanks to a well-stocked store. Later on in 1918 and 1919 the store ran dry and the Hernals confectionery factory had trouble keeping itself afloat. The practically inexhaustible market of the former Danube Monarchy of 56 million people shrank to the just 6 million people of the Austrian First Republic after the end (a disastrous end for Austria) of the First World War. The Manner company suffered under the subsequent inflation and the economic crisis of the thirties in Austria. 

    The following decades, which were not just economically hard, proved to be a great test for the second generation who took over the company after Johann Riedl's death in 1929 and Josef Manner's retirement in 1935. These hurdles were overcome thanks to extremely careful business practices and strict economising. 

    It is from this time that the saying we still hear today originates: "We should be able to sell at least one railroad car of chocolate or wafers (meaning 10 tonnes) a day!"

  • World War II

    Also the vague hope that with the Anschluss to the Third Reich new markets could be opened up, proved themselves wrong when the outbreak of World War 2 in September 1939 put paid to all investment plans. 

    The Manner production building survived the heavy bombing in 1945 without suffering too much damage and the machinery was completely intact. At the end of the war the company was forced into "donating" their last reserves to Stalin, however, this did mean the company had the chance of a tentative new beginning. In the middle of this restart phase the founder of the company, Josef Manner I, died on 5 May 1947.

  • From economic miracles to the era of design

    Unfortunately, the founder of the company did not live to see how the Manner company, after a tentative new start in the late 1940´s, quickly became very much a part of the following economic wonder years and gained international success. Many tried and tested products, which are still popular today, were slightly modernized at this time, in that they were adapted to the increasing demands of the product shelf live.

    In 1960 the Manner company then managed the still acclaimed leap into the age of technology with an innovation which is still considered significant today. This is the packaging that keeps the flavor of the Manner wafers in, thanks to double aluminum foil with the typical red tear strip. 

    This new packaging meant sudden worldwide recognition for the good old Neapolitan wafer. The new Manner wafer was born. The packaging guaranteed not only a longer shelf life, but also made it easier to open the pack and ever since has counted as one of the Austrian "design classics".

  • Manner is again at the very forefront

    In this way the Manner wafer very quickly became the most successful and bestselling article within the Manner range. In 1964 the Manner company set a milestone thanks to this mega seller. For the first time since 1914 - that is 50 years after the best business year of the company history - the record turnover reached at the end of the Danube Monarchy was surpassed.

    To not only safeguard, but also to develop the success, financially strong partners were sought. Already in 1970 the merger with the second largest confectionery company, Napoli, Ragendorfer & Co, owned by the Andres family, took place. With the consequent addition of the brand names Casali and Napoli, Manner could rapidly expand its array of products to make many dreams of those with a sweet tooth come true - for example, Casali chocolate bananas and Napoli Dragee Keksi (iced biscuits). 

    In 1996 the Walde Candita company in Wolkersdorf/Lower Austria was taken over and on 1 January 2000 the renowned company Firma Victor Schmidt & Söhne GmbH with their classic brands "Ildefonoso“, "Heller“ und "Victor Schmidt Austria Mozartkugeln“ celebrated its first day with the Manner family, which had risen to one of the most powerful confectionery companies of the "Global Players".

  • In The Age of Globalization

    The company's main plant is, as is the whole head office, on the historical site of the company in Vienna-Hernals - in the Viennese district, therefore, in which Josef Manner I's parental home was located. 

    However, the plant in Lower Austrian Wolkersdorf in the Weinviertel industrial center in the north of Vienna is fitted with equipment which is every bit as modern as that of the main plant.

    All Manner production locations work using the same most modern production processes and have the IFS certification, the world's greatest guarantee of product safety and highest quality. 

  • Manner as a global brand

    Fifty countries all around the world see pink when they hear "Manner". This is how far the marketing system of Manner as a global player reaches.  The German market is one of the significant European core markets for Manner & Comp AG. However, attention is currently being paid to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe where the Manner brand has been particularly successful since the economic boom of the "velvet revolution". Thanks to the new members of the EU the Manner export turnover accounts for approximately 50% of the entire turnover.

    A clear goal of the company is above all to advance the development of these core markets in the future and give them direct responsibility. The key to this is the step-by-step development of independent marketing organizations in each country. Therefore, a branch was set up in Slovenia in 2004 and since 2006 Manner products have also been directly marketed in Germany. In 2009 Manner successfully started a branch in Czech Republic.

    Manner knows no bounds which is why the two company colors of pink and blue as well as the "St Stephan's Cathedral trade mark" are known wherever there are satisfied Manner customers.

Production Sites

The Josef Manner & Comp AG company is today a rare example of a large successful Austrian company which is still for the most part owned by the family. The majority of the management is made up of family members. There are 750 employees working at two locations - the headquarters in Vienna's 17th district and the branch in Wolkersdorf in Lower Austria. Goods, above all Manner's Neapolitan wafers are exported to over 50 European and non-European countries.

Vienna

Approximately 400 employees work in the headquarters in the 17th Viennese district. The building has been the main plant and the company headquarters since the founding of the Josef Manner Comp AG. 

Already before World War I it was built to the size it is today and houses the most modern production facilities.  Manner wafers, biscuits, sponge fingers and gingerbread are carefully produced here.  Chocolate production for the so popular Manner chocolates and couvertures as well as chocolate icing for our products is also carried out here. Production, by the way, is carried out using the raw materials - the cocoa bean, something quite special in Austria!

Josef Manner & Comp. AG
Wilhelminenstrasse 6
1171 Vienna

Wolkersdorf (Lower Austria)

Wolkersdorf is a small community in the north of Vienna.  The factory has belonged to Manner since 1996 and has been continually expanded upon over the past few years. The most modern building technology and facilities are used. 

Production carried out is foamy sugar goods, dragees, pralines and seasonal articles.  Austrian confectionery classics such as Casali chocolate bananas, Casali Rum-Kokos, Napoli Dragee Keksi, but also Victor Schmidt Mozartkugeln and Ildefonso pralines are produced by approximately 260 employees with the greatest care in the Wolkersdorf site.

Josef Manner & Comp AG
Johann-Galler-Straße 9
2120 Wolkersdorf

Corporate Social Responsibiltiy

Employees and Leadership

"The success of our company is based on the motivation and the eagerness to learn as well as the creativity and the qualification of our employees."

Employees at Manner
The main assets of the company are our highly qualified employees. Since more than 120 years, the Josef Manner & Comp. AG persists as a traditional Austrian family business. The long-term success of the company is based on the smooth cooperation between many talented people with different talents. Manner does take the social responsibility very serious, in order to ensure and create jobs in Austria for the future. With this vision, Manner is creating a working environment in which every employee feels like being a part of the big Manner family.

Values at Manner
The top priorities within our defined values are the people. This value inside our “value pyramid” is the foundation on which all the other values are based on.

We support and encourage our employees – most important for that are professional and social qualifications. Our employees assume responsibility, focus on goals and show high commitment as well as discipline. Our managers provide the best example possible for people to follow. Working as a team is one of the essential preconditions for our visions, as well as cross-functional manager training integrated in everyday work. We want to provide a motivating, achievement-oriented, remunerated work environment for our employees.

Equal pay for men and woman is as a matter of course very important for our company.

We also focus our attention on the training and education of our apprentices. There are 16 apprenticeship places with 5 different occupational areas (IT-technician, electrical installations engineer, mechatronics technician, confectioner, food technician). Our apprentices participate in international exchange programs as well as extracurricular workshops (e.g. personality guidance). The apprentices get support in the form of free lunches and bonus for outstanding scholastic achievements. Manner was selected as “excellent in teaching” in 2010 for those efforts.

Our former employees, who are retired now, have a very close relationship with Manner. We appreciate their commitment and support it.

The health and well-being of our employees are important issues which we feel very strongly about. The support of sports activities has a long tradition at Manner. For our employees, we enable a free participation and at the same time support events like women’s run, Bussiness-to-row, rowing competitions, Red Nose Run, etc.

"We strive after a healthy balance of economy, ecology and our social responsibility."

Sustainability is more than just a contemporary catchphrase for Manner – our company lives by it for already more than 120 years. Even the foundation of the company in 1890 has been for a social cause. Back then, Josef Manner was not content with the quality of chocolate and was considering producing it himself. Therefore, quality has always been a cornerstone of our company and this has not changed since today. In 2011, Manner started a major CSR offensive with focus on sustainability for palm oil and cocoa.

Manner and UTZ for sustainable cocoa

The Manner AG is the largest confectionery manufacturer in Austria. Due to the high quality requirements, all of the chocolate is produced in-house, beginning with the roasting of the cocoa beans. Because of that, social and ecological sustainability regarding the cocoa is very important.

As a processor of raw material like cocoa, we condemn any kind of slavery or child labor. To ensure, that the cocoa which we use in our products meets our social and ecological principals, Manner is a member of UTZ Certified since 2012. UTZ is one of the world’s largest sustainability programs for coffee, cocoa and tee. The goal of UTZ regarding the cocoa is to provide an efficient certification and sustainability program for a socially responsible and environmentally friendly production of cocoa. This program meets both the requirements of the manufacturer and the market. Since 2012, our company obliged to buy UTZ certified cocoa for all the produced wafers of the brand Manner. The audition process of our manufacturing sites has been completed in the first quarter of 2012. Until 2020, it is planned to cover the total demand of cocoa beans for the products of Manner with sustainable cocoa.

Further information at www.utzcertified.org

Download a list of products with 100% UTZ certified cocoa

Download UTZ certificate

Utilization of sustainable palm oil

We cannot abstain from the usage of palm oil for the manufacturing of our confectionary. Palm oil does have technical and sensorial qualities that many other oils do not have. For Manner it is important to use palm oil, which was examined via a certification process about his sustainability in order to avoid negative social and ecological after-effects.

We can confirm, that the amount of palm oil our company obtains, does originate directly from certified European producers, which are all RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified members. The palm oil is acquired without any intermediaries.

Since the second two quarters of 2011, we buy only segregated palm oil. “Segregation” means, that the palm oil does originate only from certified plantations and is also physically retraceable for us. However, for the used palm kernel oil, the blended palm oil and the derivative it is not possible to use the segregated product. In this case, we buy the RSPO certified model “Mass Balance” since the third quarter of 2011. The company Manner itself is a member of RSPO since 2011 and the certification of the production sites was completed at the end of 2011.

Manner AG RSPO Certificate 2013-2018

Manner Cooperation with SOS-Kinderdorf at the Ivory Coast

In November 2013, Manner started his cooperation with the SOS children’s village (a children’s charity) and provided as a start for the cooperation 110,000 Euros. Manner will build a new house for a family at the children’s village in Abobo Gare / Abidjan and also pay for the education and support of the family and the children living in the village. The African country was selected on purpose, since Manner receives the cacao for the chocolate production from the Ivory Coast. Our company got a detailed idea about the project directly on the spot and also got to know the family personally, which will be supported in the future. Manner will on one hand fund the house construction but on the other hand also sponsor the children’s education. The personal contact with the family is very important. It is also essential to know, how the supported family is doing and also trace the progress of the children.  

Relation to Austria

In order to establish a connection with Austria for this cooperation, Manner focuses also on a second priority at the children’s village in Stübing / Styria. The village, which exists since 50 years, is in the process of being renovated. On one hand, money has been collected at the Manner shops. On the other hand, there has been a sale organized with furniture that was not needed any more after moving into the new Manner office. The achieved amount was doubled by Manner, so the company could contribute as much as possible to the replacement of the furniture at the children’s village in Styria. With those projects, Manner is not only possible to support a family at the Ivory Coast but also contributes to a charity in Austria.

"We take a part in the social and cultural life and support charitable projects to the best of our ability. We sense the success of our company as an important contribution to the acquisition and protection of employment."

Manner and its trademark St Stephan's cathedral

For over 30 years, stonemasons using traditional methods of their craft, are making sure that St Stephan's cathedral in Vienna is well-maintained. For over 30 years Manner has taken over the wage and ancillary wage costs for a stonemason: a sign of the close relationship between the historical construction and the cult brand. For Dr. Carl Manner, grandson of the company´s founder, this is a very special relationship, "The cathedral is holding a protective hand over Manner" – and the company that has used the Viennese landmark since 1889, is returning the favor accordingly. 

Information about the cathedral building lodge

  • The cathedral building lodge has been in existence since the 14th century.
  • In its current form, it has existed since the middle of the 19th century - that is more than 150 years.
  • Currently, around 20 employees work there, more than a half are stonemasons. 
  • The cathedral building lodge considers itself a preserver of old craft traditions (stone mason craftsmanship).
  • The most modern technology is also used, like, for example, laser technology.
  • The annual budget amounts to €2.5 mil.
  • Around 10 % of this comes from the state
  • About 20 % come from the revenue of the lift to the Pummerin (bell in the north tower), the rest is financed by donations.
  • Manner is the greatest donator!

 

"Our brands meet great sympathy and trust from the customers. Every employee at Manner is responsible for the high quality of the products to reach the customer."

Product quality and quality management

Quality means that our customers can enjoy Manner products of the same high quality that they have always appreciated at any time.

Did you know that the recipe for the Original Neapolitan wafer from Manner was not changed since the invention by Josef Manner I. in 1898? The same holds true for many other successful products from the assortment of Manner such as Casali Rum-Kokos and Napoli Dragee Keksi, just to name a few.

Best confectionary indulgence

Brand products from the Manner company stand for the best confectionery indulgence. However, every luxury article is only as good as the sum of the individual ingredients, which is the reason for us placing importance on selected, high-quality ingredients. All raw materials are submitted to a detailed check on delivery to our quality control laboratories before they can be released for production. Our philosophy is to enter into a long-term fair business partnership with our suppliers to be able to guarantee consistently high quality. 

Naturally the quality of our products is also checked during the continuous production process: for example, samples are taken on a daily basis from each production batch and are checked and evaluated by a trained team of tasters. You can well imagine that a great number of people wish to join this team of tasters!

The continuous improvement of our high-class standards is one of the cornerstones of our enterprise success and for this reason we constantly set ourselves higher goals. Since 2005 the Manner company has been the proud owner of the particularly stringent quality standard "IFS" (International Food Standard). This standard assumes high safety regulations and hygiene regulations and is regularly checked by external consultants. With the extension of the certificate in 2016 we could achieve the foundation level for both Manner locations. 

IFS Certificate | Site Vienna 2016-2017

IFS Certificate | Site Wolkersdorf 2016-2017