2022 Top Australian food companies

In December 2022, Food & Drink magazine published a feature on Australia's 100 top food companies. Of the ten top… Read More

2018 Violet Crumble ownership change

In January 2018, Nestlé sold the iconic Australian chocolate bar to the South Australian confectionery company Robert Menz, returning it… Read More

2017 Vegemite Australian-owned again

Some people have suggested 19 January should become a national holiday to commemorate the day we saw Vegemite Australian-owned again.… Read More

2013 Rosella closed down – then revived

In March 2013 the remaining factory of iconic Australian brand Rosella closed down after the receivers failed to find a… Read More

2012 Peters Ice Cream Australian again, but not for long

In June 2012, international food company Nestlé sold Peters Ice Cream to the Australian private equity firm, Pacific Equity Partners.… Read More

2009 Pollywaffle discontinued

The Pollywaffle chocolate bar was introduced in 1947 by Hoadley’s Chocolates. It consisted of marshmallow inside a chocolate-coated wafer tube… Read More

2008 Australian-made cultured butter

Australia has a long history of butter-making. Originally it was an on-farm product but, in the late 19th century, the… Read More

2003 Four ‘n Twenty Australian again – for 19 years

In 2003, Patties Pies bought Four ‘n Twenty, Herbert Adams and Nanna’s from Simplot, putting the iconic pie brands back… Read More

2002 Food Standards Code introduced

The Food Standards Code set the standards for food labelling and composition for all States and Territories throughout Australia and New… Read More

1997 Arnott’s ownership passed to Campbell’s

The Arnott's ownership passed to the American  Campbell’s Soup Company in 1997.  Campbell’s had been increasing its stake in the company… Read More

1995 E.coli outbreak highlights food safety

In South Australia, an E.Coli outbreak among people who had eaten contaminated Garibaldi metwurst killed one four year old child… Read More

1991 Pacific Dunlop acquires Petersville

The Petersville brands acquired by Pacific Dunlop  included Edgell-Birds Eye, Peters Ice Cream, Herbert Adams Bakeries, Socomin and Four ‘n’Twenty.… Read More

1991 National Foods created

The new food giant, National Foods, was created by the Adelaide Steamship Company by amalgamating several dairy and food-related businesses with… Read More

1991 The National Food Authority founded

The new National Food Authority promoted cooperation between governments, industry and the community to provide a safe and wholesome food supply.… Read More

1990 Tiny Teddy biscuits launched

Arnott’s Tiny Teddy biscuits hit the market, becoming the most successful product launch in the company’s history. More than five… Read More

1990s More pre-packaged meals

In the 1990s, individually packaged, ready-made meals and snacks appeared in increasing numbers in the supermarket. Microwave pasteurisation techniques extended… Read More

1986/87 Peters and Pauls have widest ice cream range

Peters and Pauls were brands of QUF (formerly Queensland United Foods). The range of ice cream products included : Drumstick,… Read More

Mid 80s The term ‘functional foods’ emerges

The term functional foods was first used in Japan to refer to foods with added ingredients that claim to provide… Read More

1982 Yoplait Yogurt launched

Prior to 1982, yoghurt was consumed mainly by recent immigrants and health fanatics. It was largely sold by health food… Read More

1980 Kraft goes gourmet

By the 1980s, tastes were changing.  Kraft launched feta cheese, a satay sauce range and olives, as well as a… Read More

1980s Low fat a high priority

The first branded, fat-reduced milks arrive, along with low fat salad dressings and cholesterol-free mayonnaise. In 1982, the Australian Nutrition… Read More

1976 First muesli bar in Australia

Australia's first muesli bar was the Uncle Tobys Toasted Muesli Crunchola Bar, launched in 1976. It was a jolly good… Read More

1976 Kraft Singles launched

The best thing since sliced bread was sliced cheese. Kraft Singles, individually wrapped slices of processed cheddar were launched in… Read More

1975 “You oughta be congratulated”

The famous “you oughta be congratulated” advertising campaign was designed to assure mums that Meadow Lea Margarine would not only… Read More

1975 Leggo’s turns Italian

With a campaign featuring Gina Lollobrigida, Leggo’s changed its heritage from Cornish (Leggo is a Cornish name) to Italian. Abandoning… Read More

1971 Space Food Sticks launched in Australia

Space Food Sticks were developed by Pillsbury in the USA. The company worked in conjunction with NASA to develop a… Read More

1967 Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology

Founded in 1967, the Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology is an industry body that aims to advance Australia's… Read More

1963 Tim Tams launched

In 1963, Arnott’s launched Tim Tams , a new chocolate-covered biscuit based on a British product called Penguin. They were… Read More

1963 Bertie Beetle launched by Hoadley’s

The chocolate Bertie Beetle was launched by Hoadley's in 1963 and is generally supposed to have been created as a… Read More

1962 Deb Instant Mashed Potato

The potato has long been Australia's favourite vegetable. In early colonial days, stews relied on the starchy tuber to bulk… Read More

1962 Scotts TV dinners advertised

The term "TV dinners" emerged as a brand name in the USA in 1955, although frozen ready-to-eat meals had been… Read More

1961 Unilever acquires Sennitt’s Ice Cream

The Sennitt's Ice Cream brand was discontinued when Unilever acquired Sennitt's and the company was merged with Streets. The famous… Read More

1959 Streets Gaytime launched

The first Streets Gaytime was not golden. It was a combination of icecream, chocolate and strawberry shortcake. The famous Golden version,… Read More

1958 Barney Banana ice cream launched

Peters Barney Banana, a banana ice cream on a stick, was launched in 1958.  It was promoted as containing real… Read More

1958 Tinplate first made in Australia

Tinplate has a long history. Before its use for food packaging, it was used to make various domestic goods including… Read More

1958 Vittoria Coffee begins roasting

Vittoria Coffee has its origins in a company started by the Cantarella brothers, Orazio and Carmelo, who began importing European… Read More

1957 “Nibble Nobby’s Nuts” trademarked

It's a line that has provoked a chortle since 1957. "Nibble Nobby's Nuts" is ambiguous enough to be printable but… Read More

1956 Birds Eye Fish Fingers make their Australian debut.

Birds Eye Fish Fingers, produced by the quick freezing process developed by the eponymous Clarence Birdseye, were introduced in 1956… Read More

1955 Rocklea Road developed by Darrell Lea

Rocklea Road, a combination of chocolate, marshmallow, coconut and peanuts, was developed by Harry Lea as a gift for his… Read More

Mid 1950s Sliced and packaged bread

Sliced and packaged bread was introduced in America as early as 1928 but the widespread adoption of the sliced loaf… Read More

1954 (?) Choo Choo Bar

The Choo-Choo Bar was originally made by Plaistowe in Western Australia. Hearsay suggests it arrived in the early 1950s –… Read More

1954 Savoury Shapes biscuits launched

On 30 November 2020, which would, had he lived, have been my father's 100th birthday, my family had an online… Read More

1954 Mrs Mac’s Pie Company founded

Originally, the pies weren't Mrs Mac's. The bakery business Ken Macgregor started in Perth in 1954 used the brand name,… Read More

1954 Happy Little Vegemites jingle

The Happy Little Vegemites song, used to advertise Australia's iconic Vegemite spread, was written by Alan Weekes of advertising agency… Read More

1953 Capilano Honey founded

It may seem odd that Capilano Honey is named after a river in Canada. The Capilano River flows through Vancouver… Read More

1953 Colvan Chips

Although there is a story that margarine-manufacturer Ted Mayes founded the Colvan business with his winnings from the 1942 Melbourne Cup,… Read More

1952 Salada biscuits launched

Salada biscuits are among Australia's favourite crackers or, as we used to call them in my youth, dry biscuits. Originally… Read More

1952 The Esky ® invented

No doubt to the annoyance of the brand’s owners, the term ‘Esky’ is widely used in Australia as a generic… Read More

1951 Chiko Roll developed

Frank McEnroe  was a boilermaker from Bendigo who developed the iconic deep fried Chinese-style roll to sell while catering at… Read More

1951 Maggi dried soups launched in Australia

Dried soups became an essential part of store-cupboard cookery in the 1950s. Unilever’s Continental brand was Maggi’s principle competitor. Their… Read More

1950 Betty King debuts as ‘leading home economist’

Betty King, Home Economist, of World Brands Pty Ltd was one of the leading ladies of Australian cookery…the Margaret Fulton… Read More

1950 Twisties invented

Twisties were one of the first “extruded snack foods”. The brand was originally developed by Melbourne businessman Isodor Magid who… Read More

1948 FruChocs first produced

FruChocs, now made by Menz Confectionery are unique to South Australia. Originally produced by  W. Menz & Co., biscuit and confectionery… Read More

1947 Raleigh Preserving Co. registers Biddy’s trademark

Raleigh Preserving Company is among Australia's forgotten food companies.  Once a popular brand, the company manufactured a range of canned… Read More

1947 DON® Smallgoods founded

When it comes to the history of Don Smallgoods, it's another case of "don't let the facts spoil a good… Read More

1947 Wizz Fizz sherbet confection launched

This childhood favourite was originally a  paper sachet of sherbet with a liquorice straw. The Wizz Fizz is still made… Read More

1947 Golden Circle cannery opens

By the mid-1940s,  the pineapple industry was well established in Queensland. To provide marketing and financial stability, a cooperative was… Read More

1947 – Four ‘n Twenty Pie introduced

Australians eat more than 12  meat pies per capita per year - more than anyone else except the Kiwis who… Read More

1944 Frozen vegetables first processed in Australia

Amidst the food rationing of the war years, imported quick frozen vegetables became available in Australia. The first Australian plant… Read More

1939 Beginnings of San Remo pasta

Some accounts suggest that the founder of San Remo pasta, Luigi Crotti, arrived from Italy in 1936 and immediately began… Read More

1938 Nescafé instant coffee invented in Switzerland.

While not the first instant coffee to be marketed,  Nescafé was the first to be made by a spray drying process… Read More

1938 Brockhoff launches Savoy Crackers

The supermarket shelves offer a plethora of round, crinkly-edged crackers. Three of them are under the Arnott's brand: Jatz, Savoy… Read More

1937 Narooma fish cannery opens

The Narooma Fish Cannery was opened at the suggestion of Theodore Cleveland Roughley, an economic zoologist from the Technological Museum,… Read More

1937 Sunshine powdered milk launched in Australia.

Sunshine Powdered Milk became a staple during the war years. It was often used to make up bottles for babies… Read More

1935 Heinz starts manufacturing in Richmond

Products made by the US-owned Heinz company had been imported and sold in Australia since the late 19th century. The… Read More

1934 Introduction of the ute

According to legend, in the early 1930s the Australian branch of the Ford Motor Company received a letter from a… Read More

1934 MILO introduced

First marketed as Nestlé’s Tonic Food, Milo powder was developed at Abbotsford in Sydney and launched at the Royal Easter… Read More

1932 Yo-Yo biscuits launched

Yo-Yo biscuits, now made by Arnott's, are a uniquely South Australian product. They were first produced by W. Menz and… Read More

1932 First Meadow Lea margarine released

Meadow Lea was one of the first margarines marketed in Australia.  The brand was founded by Oliver Triggs, a Melbourne… Read More

1932 Vita-Weat first made in Australia

Vita-Weat crispbreads were first produced by Peek Frean in the UK and were the foundation product when the biscuit company… Read More

1932 Nuttelex vegetable margarine introduced

Unlike many early margarines which were made from or included animal fats, Nuttelex has always been a purely vegetarian spread.… Read More

1931 Smith’s Potato Chips arrive in Australia

Smith’s Chips  (then called Smith's Crisps) were first sold in the UK by Mr. Frank Smith. The potato chips he… Read More

1931 Sweetacres make Jaffas

Jaffas, with their chocolate core and orange-flavoured shell, were made by James Stedman-Henderson’s Sweets Ltd of Sydney under the brand… Read More

1930 Freddo Frog introduced

Freddo Frog was introduced by MacRobertson's in 1930. The original plan was to launch a mouse-shaped chocolate bar, but a… Read More

1930 Fantales introduced

For decades, going to the movies involved either a pack of Jaffas or a a box of Fantales. The chocolate-covered… Read More

1930? Queensland bans peanut butter

It seems the dairy industry objected to the word “butter” being used for anything other than the dairy product. In… Read More

1930 Personality Chocolates in Sydney

Personality Chocolates was a boutique chocolate maker with a factory in Bayswater Road, King's Cross. The company began in 1930… Read More

1930 Perfect Cheese founded by Natale Italiano

Natale Italiano was born in Scido in Calabria, near the toe of Italy's boot. He emigrated to Australia in 1922… Read More

1930s Procera becomes Australia’s first franchise

The Procera bread baking process involved enriching the flour with gluten, thus boosting its protein content, decreasing starch and improving… Read More

1928 Scorched Peanut Bar introduced

The Mastercraft Scorched Peanut Bar began life as the White Signet Scorched Peanut Bar, first advertised in 1928.  White Signet… Read More

1928 Maxam Cheese launched in Queensland

In 1928, a 23-year-old entrepreneur named Oliver Kenneth McAnulty opened a processed cheese factory in Brisbane. His Maxam Cheese operation… Read More

1928 Sliced bread introduced in USA

In the town of Chillicothe in Missouri, the eponymous Chillicothe Baking Company was the first company to use a slicing… Read More

1927 MacRobertson’s Max-Mints Alphabet Book

MacPherson Robertson began making sweets in 1880 and by the late 1920s had 17 factories employing 2600 people. The Max-Mints… Read More

1927 Darrell Lea founded in Sydney

The confectionery company Darrell Lea was founded in Sydney by an English immigrant, Harry Levy, in 1927, and named after… Read More

1927 Aeroplane Jelly launched

The inventor of Aeroplane Jelly was a tram driver.  Bert Appleroth first made jelly crystals at home in his bathtub… Read More

1926 Edgell begins canning asparagus

Gordon Edgell and Sons of Bathurst launched their canned asparagus in 1926 after 18 years of experimentation in growing the… Read More

1926 Business which became MasterFoods founded

Although no longer Australian-owned, MasterFoods (variously Master Foods and Masterfoods) is an Australian brand that traces its history back to… Read More

1925 Fred Walker gains Australian rights to Kraft Cheddar

The Melbourne entrepreneur,  Fred Walker, had been experimenting with the processing of cheese. Learning about the process that had been developed and… Read More

1924 Newman’s Chocolates founded

When I was growing up in the 1950s, there were certain Easter traditions my family observed. Good Friday meant hot… Read More

1924 Cherry Ripe Bar

The Cherry Ripe bar was introduced in 1924 by MacRobertson Chocolates (later to be taken over by Cadbury in 1967)… Read More

1924 Kellogg’s starts making corn flakes in Sydney

Seventh Day Adventist Dr John Harvey Kellogg  filed a patent for flaked cereal process in 1895 when he and his… Read More

1923 Golden North ice cream in South Australia

The Bowker family moved to Laura, 240km north of Adelaide, in 1870 and in 1880 began selling the milk and… Read More

1923 Vegemite launched

Vegemite was developed by food technologist Cyril P. Callister for  the Australian company Fred Walker & Co. in 1922  and,… Read More

1923 Weet-Bix developed

A company called Grain Products Limited added small amounts of sugar and malt to flaked cereal biscuits and launched Weet-Bix… Read More

1922 Minties invented by Sweetacres

Minties were invented in 1922 by James Noble Stedman and marketed under the Sweetacres brand. They were patented in 1926.… Read More

1922 Cadbury factory opens in Hobart

Australia had been the first export market for the British chocolate giant, Cadbury. In 1922, a consortium of the British… Read More

1922 Eskimo Pie arrives in Australia

The Eskimo Pie – a foil-wrapped ice cream bar covered in chocolate – was invented by Christian Kent Nelson in… Read More

1922 Life Savers arrive in Australia

In 1921, in Sydney, a group of businessmen, reportedly Americans, formed a company "To acquire by agreement from Mint Products… Read More

1921 Violet Crumble first advertised

Some accounts would have it that the Violet Crumble dates back to 1913, while the manufacturers say 1923. The true… Read More

1919 Three Threes Condiments founded

The founder of Three Threes Condiments may not be as famous as one of his workmates, Bert Appleroth who founded… Read More

1918 SPC (Shepparton Fruit Preserving Company) founded

In 1917 a group of fruit growers in Victoria's Goulburn Valley decided to form a cooperative which they named the… Read More

1916 Copha trade mark registered

The Copha trade mark was applied to a shortening made from coconut oil and was registered by Lever Brothers, the… Read More

1916 Kraft cheese process patented

James L Kraft was an American cheese merchant who wanted to produce a cheese with better keeping qualities. His pasteurised,… Read More

1915 Haigh’s Chocolates founded in Adelaide

Alfred Earnest Haigh opened for business in Adelaide's Beehive Building on 1 May 1915. Haigh's Chocolates became an Adelaide icon,… Read More

1914 Letona founded as Leeton State Cannery

Letona is another of Australia's forgotten brands. Despite growing to be one of the largest fruit-canning operations in the country,… Read More

1914 Earnest Hillier makes first Australian chocolates

After running what he claimed to be Australia's first soda fountain at Sydney's Imperial Skating Rink, Earnest Hillier opened his… Read More

1914 Barker’s Paper Patty Pans introduced

The cupcake craze of the early 21st century could not have taken off without paper patty pans. These fluted waxed… Read More

1913 Arnott’s Teddy Bear Biscuits

Arnott's Teddy Bear Biscuits were not a world first, or even an Australian first. There were Teddy Bear Cookies in… Read More

1910 Bulla Dairy Foods founded

Bulla Dairy Foods was first established by Thomas Sloan as the Bulla Cream Company in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne. Thomas had… Read More

1909 Allowrie brand introduced for butter

The Allowrie brand took its name from a former electoral district on the New South Wales south coast in an… Read More

1908 Australian branch of Nestlé opens

Founded in 1867 in Switzerland by Henri Nestlé, the company merged with the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co. in 1905.  By 1906,… Read More

1907 Peters Ice Cream founded

Peters Ice Cream was founded in Sydney by American migrant Fred Peters. His first Peters Ice Cream family bricks, reputed to… Read More

1906 SAO biscuits introduced

SAO biscuits are up there with Lamingtons among the "iconic" Aussie foods. They are  still made by Arnott's. There are… Read More

c1905 Camp Pie canned in Australia

Although camp pie in various guises had been around for many decades, it appears that Foggitt Jones of Queensland were… Read More

1904 Foggitt Jones Co. founded in Brisbane

Foggitt Jones & Co. set up their business in 1904, buying an existing bacon factory at Oxley, south west of… Read More

1904 Peck’s Pastes arrive in Australia

While the General Mills website claims Peck's Pastes were  introduced to Australia in 1904, the brand advertised 60th birthday specials… Read More

1904 Sennitt’s Ice Cream

John Sennitt was an English-born engineer  who, in 1899,  acquired his employers' firm Victorian Cold Accumulator Proprietary Company Ltd. The… Read More

1900 Robur Tea Company founded

Until around 1880, most of the tea consumed in Australia came from China. However, from this time tea from Empire… Read More

1899 Introduction of Granose, predecessor to Weet-Bix

Granose flaked wheat biscuits were first made by Kellogg in the USA in the mid 1890s. In May 1899, the… Read More

1898 Sanitarium peanut butter

Australia’s first commercially available peanut butter was made by the Sanitarium Health Food Company and introduced in 1898. It was… Read More

1898 White Wings founded

In Australia, when you say cake mix, the first name that springs to mind is likely to be White Wings.… Read More

1895 Rosella Preserving Company founded

Partners  H.R. McCracken (a commission agent) and T.J. Press (a grocer) converted their backyard  jam and fruit preserving operation into… Read More

1895 Norco founded in Byron Bay

Norco is Australia's last 100 per cent farmer-owned dairy cooperative, with a $651 million turnover as of 2023. It was… Read More

1894 Founding of Leggo’s

Think Leggo’s is Italian? Nope. Their heritage is Cornish. Henry Madren Leggo was the son of Cornish immigrants who arrived… Read More

1893 Uncle Toby’s Oats trademarked

The Uncle Toby's company of today has a number of parents which perhaps accounts for the rather confusing history of… Read More

1892 Saunders Malt Extract first produced

My interest in Saunders Malt Extract began when I received a note from a reader who remembered being fed the… Read More

1891 Hargreaves cannery in Brisbane

John Hargreaves was Yorkshire born, emigrating to Melbourne in 1872. He moved to Brisbane in 1886 and set up a… Read More

1891 Allen’s confectionery founded

Alfred Weaver Allen began making his own confectionery in 1891 in a shed behind his Fitzroy shop. The founder of… Read More

1891 Sargents Pies first made

Sargents Pies were first produced by George and Charlotte Sargent at their shop in Paddington. The small pies sold for… Read More

1891 Henry Jones IXL jam company founded

Henry Jones had worked from the age of 12 for Hobart jam manufacturer George Peacock, rising to become foreman. When… Read More

1890 Origins of Plaistowe Confectionery

The forerunner to Plaistowe Confectionery was the Silver Pan Confectionery Company,  founded by John Hobbs and Edward Merton in 1890.… Read More

1890s Frozen rabbit industry takes off

The introduction of refrigerated railway cars made it viable to ship frozen meat, including frozen rabbit, to major cities and… Read More

1889 Hoadley’s Preserving Works established

At the age of 21, Abel Hoadley migrated from England to Australia, arriving in 1865. By the early 1880s he… Read More

1886 Junket goes commercial

What is junket? Essentially, it's a dessert made from milk set with rennet, an enzyme naturally produced in the stomachs… Read More

1882 Brockhoff’s Biscuits founded

Adolph Brockhoff established his flour mill and bakery in North Melbourne in 1882. His son Frederick took over the company… Read More

1880 MacRobertson confectionery founded

MacRobertson confectionery had humble beginnings in the Fitzroy, Victoria, home of Macpherson Robertson. Born on the Victorian goldfields in 1859,… Read More

1879 Fritz sausages in Melbourne

Fritz sausage or, as it's often called, bung fritz is a manufactured luncheon meat more or less unique to South… Read More

1876 Barnes Honey founded

Barnes Honey is possibly the oldest honey brand in the Australian market. The brand had its origins in a small… Read More

1875 Origin of Sweetacres

In 1875, James Stedman bought the confectionery business where he had been working for the past 21 years. The shop,… Read More

1875 New South Wales Fresh Food & Ice Co. formed

Although not the first Australian to develop a commercial ice-making plant, Sydney businessman Thomas Mort saw the advantages of freezing… Read More

1875 Arnott’s first factory opens

In 1865, William Arnott opened a bakery in Newcastle supplying goods to local people and visiting ships. Among his products… Read More

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