The brand was founded by the Norwegian chocolatier Johan Throne Holst (1868-1946) who already had launched the same chocolate recipe in Norway under the name Freia with great success – in the beginning of the 20th century Freia owned over 50% of the Norwegian market. During the first world war the continental European markets were closed, so the company decided to expand to Sweden. In 1916 the brand Marabou was created – as the name Freja was already taken in Sweden, the company decided to name their Swedish branch after the stork in the logo. However, the actual production didn't start until 1919 due to shortages in cocoa supply caused by World War I.
Throne Holst's second son, Henning, took over Sweden's first chocolate factory in Sundbyberg, just north of Stockholm in 1918. He was in charge of creating the brands which are still present today; Japp, Daim, Twist, Fortuna and Non Stop. The first Marabou chocolate to be established was milk chocolate (Mjölkchoklad), which was produced using the same recipe as Freia. From the mid-1950s on, Marabou chocolate was caramelized, which significantly changed its taste. Over time the Sundbyberg factory was not sufficient for the growing demand, so in the 1970s production moved, after 60 years in one location, to newly-built premises in Upplands Väsby, where it remains today.
At the end of the 1960s, the symbol of Marabou was changed from a stork to the marabou rounded “M”. It was designed by Sigvard Bernadotte. This also marked the beginning of the first commercials starring Yvonne Lombard who created the slogan "Mmm... Marabou!". Marabou chocolate is widely available in Sweden in assorted varieties.
Freia and Marabou later merged, and, in 1993, were purchased by Kraft Foods for 3 billion Norwegian kroner. Marabou chocolate is available in a number of European countries and was until September 2011 sold by IKEA in Canada, Israel, and Poland. Marabou chocolate is sold by IKEA in Australia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA, and the UK.
Notes and references
Media related to Marabou Chocolate at Wikimedia Commons