The brand was founded by the Norwegian chocolatier Johan Throne Holst (1868–1946), who had already launched the same chocolate recipe in Norway under the name Freia with great success – in the beginning of the 20th century Freia owned over 50% of the Norwegian market. During the First World War, the continental European markets were closed, so the company decided to expand to Sweden.
In 1916, the brand Marabou was created in Sweden as the name Freja was already taken in Sweden, the company decided to name their Swedish branch after the stork in the logo. However, the actual production didn't start until 1919 due to shortages in cocoa supply caused by World War I.
Throne Holst's second son, Henning, took over Sweden's first chocolate factory in Sundbyberg, just north of Stockholm, in 1918. He was in charge of creating the brands which are still present today: Japp, Daim, Twist, Fortuna and Non Stop. The first Marabou chocolate to be established was milk chocolate (Mjölkchoklad), which was produced using the same recipe as Freia. From the mid-1950s on, Marabou chocolate was caramelized, which significantly changed its taste. Over time, the Sundbyberg factory was not sufficient for the growing demand, so in the 1970s, production moved, after 60 years in one location, to newly built premises in Upplands Väsby, where it remains today.