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Company Reports - Darrell Lea Chocolate Shops  


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Darrell Lea Chocolate Shops

A selection of specialty confections to suit any taste

Laurie Baratti

A selection of specialty confections to suit any taste


Since 1927, Darrell Lea has been creating delicious confectionery treats for Australians. Today, it is largest specialty confections producer in Australia, maintaining its own manufacturing facility and operating retail stores in every state throughout the country. Darrell Lea continues to operate solely in Australia, though its products are now available worldwide, with distributors in the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

As it has been for the past 80 years, the business is still owned by the Lea family, and is now in its fourth generation of family members who hold key positions and an active involvement in its operations. The Lea family and entire team invite customers worldwide to delight, savour and share in its many great tasting chocolate and confectionery treats, produced fresh every day.

Its top two best-selling products are Darrell Lea Original Soft Eating Liquorice (black) and its iconic Milk Chocolate Rocklea Road. Darrell Lea's other confectionary offerings span several specialty product lines that provide something for everyone, ranging from box chocolates, to fresh licorice, to sugar-free products and fundraising bars.

Darrell Lea is a team-focused organisation that values the contribution of all in its decision making. They believe decisions are made better with the input of others and, although accountability ultimately rests with the individual, the team effort is what they celebrate as being vital to the company’s success. The company is committed to allowing its people to use their initiative at all levels in the organisation, creating room for people to move, make decisions and grow within the business. Darrell Lea endeavours to maintain its awareness as to the needs of its customers and partners, and to embrace challenge and change for the betterment of the business.

Darrell Lea is a company that focuses strongly on customers’ needs and prides itself on excellence in the manufacturing and retailing of fine quality confectionery. As such, it is committed to providing quality products and service to its customers and partners.

The company upholds a commitment to continuous improvement, and through its TPN productivity management practices. Darrell Lea’s commitment to food safety and product quality is also evidenced by its implementation of HACCP-based food safety programs (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), in line with internationally recognised Codex Guidelines.

Darrell Lea’s Quality Systems are as an integral part of its management programs, and are closely integrated with Food Safety programs. These are audited by an independent, third-party auditor on a regular basis. The continuous system serves to provide Darrell Lea an all-important assurance that it is providing a safe product to its customers, and delivering high-quality products and services to market). The company must be confident that Darrell Lea products are something consumers are proud to give and delighted to receive.

Although it is a company built on old-fashioned values, Darrell Lea is progressing in 21st-century fashion by using today’s top technological tools to propel its business forward. It has already established an internet presence to connect with confection connoisseurs across the globe.

The website offers Darrell Lea’s devotees the opportunity to subscribe to their choice of two e-newsletters. Darrell Lea's monthly ‘Sweet News’ e-newsletter affords customers an excellent way to keep up-to-date with the latest product news, special offers and promotions. There’s also the ‘Gifting Guide’ e-newsletter, for those looking to receive information on Darrell Lea corporate gifts, including Christmas, Easter, and all year round gift ideas. Darrell Lea’s extension as an e-business is currently under development.

The company is also increasing customer engagement through its “Indulgence Card” loyalty program, wherein buyers accumulate stickers with each purchase of over $10 and collect a $1 savings reward with each sticker. The program is designed to give a little bit back to customers for treating themselves and others.

Internally, the company has implemented broad-based systems software and Management software throughout its facilities. Its service department utilizes specialized software designed to streamline in-house processes, optimise operations, check orders & expedite fulfilment, along with systems to manage consumer feedback, enquiries, etc.

Darrell Lea takes its role as a good corporate citizen very seriously and is very conscious of its environmental obligations. As its factory in Kogarah is located adjacent to a residential area, Darrell Lea employs the very best technology available in pollution control, and has a system in-place to respond promptly to the concerns of its neighboring residents, if and when any should arise.

The company has also installed high-temperature, odor control equipment, a waste water filtration plant, a cardboard recycling program and noise control equipment, and conducts regular acoustic site surveys. All employees are required to park on- site to prevent cars blocking residential premises in the adjoining streets.
A very important initiative for Darrell Leas has been its water conservation program, whereby it currently uses 40 percent less water for production purposes. The company also looks to improve this figure on a continuing basis in the future.

As part of its commitment to respecting and protecting the environment, the company became a signatory to the National Packaging Covenant (NPC) — an industry initiative aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of packaging — in October 2001. By meeting its NPC packaging objectives, Darrell Lea is playing an increasingly active role in the reduction of waste material to landfill. The packaging covenant plans and activities have the full endorsement and support of the Board and management of Darrell Lea Chocolates.


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