The Croatian company that designed the world’s first chocolate with rice
Croatia introduced the world to a number of inventions, from the tie, the torpedo and the parachute, to the mechanical pencil and the speedometer.
Another lesser-known creation was rice chocolate or rice chocolate. This invention was made by the leading Croatian confectionery manufacturer Zvečevo.
Based still today in the town of Požega, in Western Slavonia, Zvečevo has a very interesting corporate history dating back over 100 years.
After the chaos that arose as a result of the First World War, Požega was chosen as the ideal place for a factory to start stimulating the economy.
The Société Stock Cognac Médicinal was established in 1921, producing alcohol, mainly spirits and various types of brandy.
In 1934, the Swiss company Nestlé offered Stock a ten-year contract for the rental of factories to produce chocolate bars and sweets. The offer was approved by the Ministry and the Viceroyal Royal Administration in Zagreb, and in 1936 Nestlé was thus granted a license to start manufacturing chocolate and chocolate products.
The factory employed 350 people, mostly from Požega, and they were assigned to eight major departments – cognac and other spirits; chocolate bars and sweets; cocoa powder and cocoa butter; pralines and filled chocolate; candies; hard candies and caramels; fruit jams and syrups; waffles and fine desserts; roll tea leaves.
The factory motto was “be honest” and it was written on one of the factory buildings. Like a good ghost, the motto unites all employees and management, and so a library, a singing society and an orchestra were founded within the factory.
Ten years later, in 1946, production continued in the nationalized factory, and the factory began to operate under the name Zvečevo in 1951. In the following years, Zvečevo underwent major changes: in 1958, the Zvečevo system is joined by a dairy, in the 1960s the unprofitable production of fruit juices and flour was stopped.
The company focused on the production of cocoa products, spirits and the processing of milk into milk powder. And then something happened that would really change everything. A few enthusiasts, directors, masters and employees designed, in 1963/64, the first rice chocolate in the world.
It consisted of expanded rice and 90% milk chocolate, made from milk from its own dairy. Mikado – the Japanese earthly and heavenly ruler will always be synonymous with chocolate with rice; food for men and gods, as it is one of the main brands of the company.
Nestlé and Zvečevo signed a long-term business cooperation contract in 1970, and Zvečevo conquered the local and international market. In 1987, Zvečevo started flour – waffle production, and since 1994 it has been operating as a joint-stock company.
The Zvečevo factory has made the town of Požega famous as a chocolate town for more than half a century.