E. Wedel

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E. Wedel (Emil Wedel)
Type Subsidiary of Lotte
Industry Confectionery
Founded Warsaw, Poland (1851)
Headquarters Warsaw, Poland
Website www.wedel.pl - confectionery company (Polish)
www.wedelpijalnie.pl - chocolate shops (Polish)

E. Wedel, known as Cadbury-Wedel Polska between 1999 and 2010, is a famous[1][2][3] Polish confectionery company, producing many varieties of high-quality chocolates, cakes, and snacks. Wedel is also a well-recognized brand of candy in Poland, considered by some to be the "Polish national brand" in that market, and is the leading candy brand among Polish producers with about 14% of the Polish market in 2005[4] and 11.7% in 2007.[5]

In June 2010 Kraft Foods sold Wedel to Lotte Group, a South Korean-Japanese conglomerate, as part of their enforced divestment program of certain parts of the Cadbury plc which it acquired in March 2010.[6]

History[edit]

Original Wedel building in Warsaw

Founded in 1851 by Karol Ernest Wedel (1813-1902), the company and its products became known in most of Central and Eastern Europe. The logo of the company is based on Karol Wedel's signature.[7] His son Emil Albert Fryderyk Wedel (1841-1919) apprenticed in candy and chocolate factories in Western Europe before inheriting and expanding his father's business. His descendant Jan Wedel (d. 1960), the last member of the Wedel family to own the company, was considered "the Willy Wonka" of pre-war Poland.[8] In 1894 the company moved its main factory from Szpitalna street in Warsaw.[5] In 1934, during the time of the Great Depression, Jan Wedel opened a second factory in Praga, one of the most modern in the Second Polish Republic.[7] The company was also known for its very generous social welfare policies.[9] As one of the first in Europe, it had its own creche, kindergarten, hospital and cafeteria, and rewarded its best employees with no-interest housing loans; its model was highly acclaimed by the Polish Socialist Party.[10] Hence prior to World War II, Wedel became a successful private company, with shops in London and Paris.

Information tablet on Emil Wedel's residence

Jan Wedel made plans for World War II, and the company managed to continue production during the first few years of the war; it also started producing basic foodstuffs such as bread for starving Warsaw, and was the site of the underground teaching.[9] Despite the family's German ancestry Wedel refused to collaborate with the Germans, and did not sign the Volksliste; increasingly this led to him and his employees being persecuted by the Nazis.[10] The war devastated Poland and the company; the buildings at Warsaw were destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising.[9] After the war, Wedel rebuilt the factory, only to have the communist government nationalize the company.[7][9] The Wedel plant itself was renamed '22 Lipca' (22 July) after the Communist 'Independence Day' (PKWN Manifesto), although even the communists chose to retain the Wedel brand name, with products bearing both the new and old logos (particularly as after 10 years of not using the logo, all attempts at exporting proved futile).[7][10] The company was reprivatized in 1989 after the fall of communism in Poland. In 1991 it was bought by PepsiCo Foods and Beverages, at which time sales were about $50-$60 million. In 1995 sales exceeded $200 million.[11] About 10% of the products are exported, primarily to the United Kingdom, United States and Canada.[5] The Warsaw facility employed 1,100 workers in 1998.[12]

Cadbury-Wedel Polska[edit]

Notable products of the E.Wedel company
The original E.Wedel shop at 8 Szpitalna Street in Warsaw

Cadbury Schweppes made its initial investment in Poland in 1993, constructing a chocolate plant for its own products in Bielany Wrocławskie.

In 1999, Cadbury bought E.Wedel and the factory in Praga, from PepsiCo for US$76.5 million.[13][12] The Praga factory was modernised in 2007, with investment in both new laboratories and office space, as well as a new production line for the brand's flagship product Ptasie Mleczko, a chocolate candy with a marshmallow like centre.[14]

In 2007, as part of the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone, Cadbury-Wedel Polska started building a £100m chewing gum plant in Skarbimierz.[15] It presently produces brands such as Trident, Stimorol, V6 and Hollywood. The company also acquired rights to an additional 60 acres (0.24 km2) plot which in 2009 it started to develop as a new chocolate facility, which would take over production of brands previously made at the Somerdale Factory in Keynsham, Bristol from 2011. In 2008, Cadbury received the accolade of “Most Significant Investor in Poland” from the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency.[14]

In recent years the company has also branched out, opening a series of chocolate shops based on pre-war tradition.[16]

Lotte Ownership[edit]

In March 2010 Kraft foods acquired Cadbury plc. The European Commission insisted that Wedel be sold in order for the takeover to go ahead as a combined Kraft/Cadbury-Wedel would have too large a share of the Polish confectionery market.[17] To satisfy this demand Wedel was sold to Lotte of South Korea in June 2010. It is Lotte's first investment in Europe although they are the 3rd largest chewing gum maker in the world and are a large player in the Asian confectionery market.[18] Kraft Foods have kept the rights to the Cadbury, Halls and other brands along with 2 plants manufacturing Cadbury products in Skarbimierz.

Popular products[edit]

Wedel chocolate fountain and cafe at InterContinental hotel
Wedel chocolate covered marshmallow
  • Ptasie Mleczko - chocolate covered marshmallow
  • Mieszanka Wedlowska - assorted chocolate covered candy
  • Torcik Wedlowski - a large, circular, chocolate covered wafer with hand-made decorations
  • Pawełek - chocolate bar with a flavored filling that contains a small amount of alcohol

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jeffries, Ian. Socialist Economies and the Transition to the Market: A Guide, page 443
  2. ^ Leo V. Ryan, Wojciech Gasparski, and Georges Enderle. Business Students Focus on Ethics, page 90
  3. ^ Batra, Rajeev. Marketing Issues in Transitional Economies, Page 35
  4. ^ Polish confectioner finalises leading brand acquisition 10/01/2005. Retrieved on January 24, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c (Polish) Beata Drewnowska, Historia pachnąca czekoladą, 05-12-2007
  6. ^ Cordeiro, Anjali (2011-06-28). "Kraft to Sell Poland Wedel Business to Lotte Group". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  7. ^ a b c d (Polish) Krótka historia czekoladowej firmy
  8. ^ Sweet Warsaw. Retrieved on January 24, 2008.
  9. ^ a b c d (Polish) Historia Wedla
  10. ^ a b c "Czekoladowa Dynastia". Film Polski. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  11. ^ "PepsiCo sells Wedel's chocolate business" Candy Industry, October 1, 1998. Retrieved on January 24, 2008.
  12. ^ a b "PepsiCo sells Wedel's chocolate business" Candy Industry, October 1, 1998. Retrieved on January 24, 2008.
  13. ^ "PepsiCo sells Wedel brand to Cadbury Schweppes" Eurofood, February 11, 1999. Retrieved on January 24, 2008.
  14. ^ a b "Cadbury and Wedel – a Sweet Investment - Discover Poland Magazine - Travel, do business and invest in Poland!". Discoverpl.polacy.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  15. ^ "Cadbury Schweppes Confectionery Factory, Skarbimierz". Food Processing Technology. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  16. ^ Haughney, Christine "Poland's Sweet Comeback", The Washington Post, December 26, 2004; Page P04. Retrieved on January 24, 2008.
  17. ^ "Kraft sells Polish Cadbury business to Lotte Group". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2010-06-28. [dead link]
  18. ^ "LOTTE". LOTTE. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  • Mieczysław Kozłowski, The Story of E. Wedel. How Poland’s Chocolate History was Made, Kraków 2004.

External links[edit]