On Thursday May 23rd at Melbourne’s exclusive Crown Casino Palladium Ballroom, Ferndale Confectionery was inducted into the Victoria Manufacturing Hall of Fame. It is a moment that the business will reflect on for many years to come, and it was made even more memorable as the entire Edward Family, including Bruce and his wife Vicki (Founders), Jarrod  (Ferndale’s General Manager), Leigh (Sales & Marketing Manager) and Tara Edward were all present to accept the award. The induction was testament to 18 years of hard work from the Edwards’, who today still own and run one of the last remaining large scale family confectionery businesses in Australia.

When Ferndale commenced business 18 years ago, the options consumers had for sugar free confectionery where not great. Sugar free products were generally imported, very expensive and left a lot to be desired in taste and enjoyment.

Ferndale set out to develop products which gave consumers a healthier option without any trade off for taste and enjoyment.

Mr Bruce Edward, the founder of the business said that all of Ferndale’s were developed to become mainstream market leaders, not niche products. He said that consumer testing was carried out without telling tasters that the products were sugar free, and only when products scored higher than existing mainstream market leaders were they launched.

The flavour profiles achieved by Ferndale for their sugar free brands which include JOLS Fruit Pastilles, LICORETTE  Pastilles, KOPIKO Coffee Drops, SLIM FRUITS  and JILA mints have absolutely no sugar free after taste, and have become market leaders in each of their flavour segments.

Ferndale’s brands go a lot further than simply being sugar free. They are fat free, low in calories, 100% safe for teeth, and in the case of JOLS, LICORETTE and SLIM FRUITS contain substantial amounts of soluble dietary fibre, an essential nutrient in healthy diets.

Ferndale’s brands are universally enjoyed by both sexes, and are targeted at 16 – 39 year olds. JOLS, JILA, LICORETTE, KOPIKO and SLIM FRUITS are all designed to last, and are packed in convenient click shut packs, perfect for the car, pocket and hand bag. In fact, the original click shut box was invented in Switzerland as a result of a brief from the country’s largest retailer, who required a pack which could be used safely with one hand, while driving a car, without spilling.

The brands represent an important sales opportunities in Gas & Convenience, providing  an impulse purchase option for a large number of health conscious customers not interested in traditional confectionery lines. Ferndale has numerous case studies which clearly demonstrate that  the sales of it’s sugar free range from the cash register key site is entirely incremental, as purchases are made by customers who otherwise would have purchased nothing.
The other huge advantage offered by Ferndale’s sugar free range is that the footprint taken on the counter is very small.

Sugar free products are in a very strong growth phase, but the experience at Ferndale is that being sugar free is only one product attribute for healthier confectionery. Consumers will not trade off flavour and enjoyment, and sugar free products must deliver better than sugar laden cousins to be successful.

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