Our Story

To truly tell our story we have to take you back to 1927 when, from humble beginnings, Harry Lea began selling chocolates and candies from a cart on the streets beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge – creating the Darrell Lea brand.

Since then, Darrell Lea products have continued to bring smiles to the faces of generations of Australians.

Darrell Lea is proud to be one of the few remaining iconic Australian food brands still owned, operated and manufactured right here in Australia.

While Darrell Lea has always been a staple in Aussie homes, with its Rocklea Road and liquorice products particular favourites, our modern-day story started in 2012 when Darrell Lea’s network of 32 retail stores went into Voluntary Administration.

It looked like a sad end for Darrell Lea until entrepreneurs and successful business owners Tony & Christine Quinn rescued the brand and brought it back to life, stronger and better than ever.

First order of business was closing all retail stores and investing $30 million into manufacturing, moving production to the current custom-built factory in Ingleburn, Sydney.

With a primary focus on rebuilding the great Australian brand and product range once again, Darrell Lea increased its export and became global, with a strong presence in USA and the UK.

In 2015, Darrell Lea’s ownership of iconic brands increased with the purchase of RJ’s, a New Zealand icon and family run business which dominated the NZ licorice market.

Success and growth continued, marking 2018 as the biggest year to date for Darrell Lea, when Quadrant Private Equity, an Australian PE firm, purchased the business from the Quinn Family.

In the same year, Darrell Lea purchased a range of iconic Aussie and NZ brands from Nestle including Lifesavers, Fabulicious, Mackintosh’s, Black Knight, Oddfellows and Heards.

This purchase allowed Darrell Lea to bring manufacturing of Lifesavers back to Australian shores and put other NZ icons back in the hands of a New Zealand business.

Expansion certainly did not slow down and in late 2018, Darrell Lea acquired Melbourne-based independent chocolate company Heritage Fine Chocolates. This purchase enabled Darrell Lea, Australia’s largest independently owned confectionery company, to establish a chocolate ‘centre of excellence’ in Melbourne.

Creating over 50 jobs and with bold plans for manufacturing, Darrell Lea now has new capabilities to expand its range of products and categories.

In 2019, the RiteBite Group was born, creating a company that could offer the whole snack box, from health snacks through to pure indulgence products.

The RiteBite Group seized the opportunity to create a broader snacking business with the purchase of four fast growth brands in the healthy snacking category.

The Bar Counter

Well Naturally

ThinkFood Munch


Planet Food

The RiteBite Group is now one of Australia’s leading modern snacking companies consisting of one of the fastest growth confectionery companies, a market leader in liquorice (with Darrell Lea and RJ’s brand).

For our latest APCO action plan, please click here.