MANNER – Tradition & Innovation from the heart of Vienna
In a constantly evolving world, a touch of continuity all in pink
We live in times where many aspects of our society are developing very rapidly. More and more disruptive ideas and changes are happening in almost all aspects of our lives. And the world of vegan food is no exception in this regard. Here at velivery, we try to keep abreast of the times in order to identify the food concepts of the future and to be able to offer them to you.
Today, however, we want to present a company which already had a different view of things more than 100 years ago, and has been keeping this innovative spirit alive right up to the present day. Because sometimes, in these turbulent times, it’s nice to have something which stands for permanence and “the good old days”. So, come with us to a rose-tinted world in the middle of historic Vienna!
Tradition coupled with early far-sightedness
MANNER is one of Austria’s most tradition-steeped companies, which is well-known internationally for its delicious confectionery and snacks. The company was founded by Josef Manner in Vienna in 1890, and has a long success story spanning many generations behind it.
One of MANNER’s best-known products is their Neapolitan wafers, which have always been vegan. They date back to 1898, when Josef Manner brought them onto the market for the first time. Since then, they have become a true classic and they are seen, light-heartedly, as part of Austrian culture.
MANNER wafers consist of five thin wafer sheets and four sheets with a creamy hazelnut filling. The sheets of wafer are crispy and have a pleasant bite, while the filling has a rich, nutty flavor. The wafers are available in Manner’s typical rose pink packaging, and are considered by some to be a symbol of Austrian confectionery in general. Many people associate them with skiing, hiking and the Alps, and even the Austrian Federal President likes to use them as an official gift with a personal touch when he’s abroad.
A crispy, creamy treat which has always been vegan
What makes MANNER wafers really unique, however, is the fact that they have always been vegan. This is particularly remarkable if one considers that many other confectionery items (in the past, and, unfortunately, into the present) often contain animal products such as milk, butter, or gelatin. MANNER, however, decided very early on not to use animal-derived ingredients, and instead to manufacture a purely plant-based variant. This was a very conscious decision for Manner at the time. Sustainability, as well as allowing people to enjoy a moment of sweetness even if they didn’t have much money, were the company founder’s main motives.
This sustainable, vegan approach has brought the company considerable acclaim and recognition. Alongside its Neapolitan wafers, of course, MANNER sells many other delicious sweet treats, including chocolate-coated foam bananas, new types of wafers, chocolate-coated mini wafer fingers, Mozart-Kugeln (traditional Austrian sweets made from chocolate, nuts and marzipan) and many more.
Doing things out of conviction, and based on values
Tradition and well-defined values have always been central pillars for MANNER. And bringing these with them into the future is one of the firmly established aims of the company and its 800 staff. This also means, for example, that a conscious decision has been made to retain the old production facility in the 17th district of Vienna. One illustration of the seamless combining of old and new ideas is, for example, that until the management moved a few years ago, a time-honored pneumatic post system was still in use. And the old production facility is quite simply charming.
“We have always had our production in a pre-WWI building in the center of Vienna,” Manner’s press spokeswoman says proudly. While the technology at the production facilities in the historical building is kept up-to-date, loyalty to Vienna as a base is a fundamental part of the company’s philosophy. If you’re ever in Vienna, you should definitely visit the production facility! All around, you will smell freshly roasted cocoa beans which are delivered and processed here each day. The company remains loyal to this method of manufacturing – starting with high-quality raw materials (this is unusual – not just in Austria) and processing them right up to the end product. You can taste and smell the company’s history, and experience it first-hand.
For the company’s staff, too, MANNER is more than just a job. Sustainability has social aspects, as well, and in this case it means working and living with people. Since as early as the beginning of the last century, there has been a so-called “summer retreat” for all the staff, during which they go on trips and travel with the management. This means that many staff members associate more than just their work with their employer. It’s not rare for staff to be photograph their kids with their first MANNER wafers for the family album.
There are many connections to Vienna and the surrounding areas, too. In its capacity as the main shareholder of the company, for example, the MANNER Foundation supports numerous projects in the region. There’s a particularly close link to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna (known in German as the Stephansdom, or affectionately as the “Steffl”). That’s why the cathedral is part of the company’s logo. And there’s a good reason why a bust of Dr. Manner looks out from the cathedral towards the 17th district, which is home to MANNER.
From Vienna to the whole world
From a financial perspective, MANNER has become a large international company. The stock corporation is still mainly family-owned. Even though the great-grandson of the company’s founder, Dr. Manner, didn’t have any children, arrangements were made before he died to ensure that his values would live on. With the support of the University of Vienna, a catalogue of values was created which, to this day, is used by the management team as a guide. “What would Dr. Manner have thought about it?” is still the first port of call for business decisions – even in terms of complex topics.
Famous Austrian sportspeople are also more than happy to be seen eating Manner wafers. But it’s not just sportspeople…
You know that MANNER really has made it internationally when, in “The Terminator”, one of the most famous Austrian actors around holds a pink MANNER wafer up to the camera. If even the Terminator likes MANNER, then surely everyone does?