Food & Beverage staples say now’s the time to lend a hand

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Vegemite, Four’n Twenty and Rosella got together for a virtual meeting recently to, resulting in a network of Aussie businesses sharing strategies to get through current uncertainties. Collectively, the four iconic Australian brands have survived floods, fires, and even the Great Depression, but the next battle is COVID-19.

In a period where consumers are being encouraged to purchase Australian-made brands, iconic Aussie business, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, is taking things one step further and encouraging Aussie businesses to support fellow homegrown businesses. The old-fashioned way.

John McLean, CEO of Australian family-owned Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, met with the chief decision-makers behind iconic Aussie brands; VEGEMITE, Four’n Twenty, and Rosella, to start a network of guidance and support throughout the Australian FMCG and broader business community.

“Whether you’re Australian-owned, manufactured or employing Aussies, our national business community needs to be there for each other,” says John McLean. “If the changes brought on by COVID-19 become the new normal, we need to work together to ensure Aussie brands live long into the future.”

With over 320 years of collective experience, all four brands involved in today’s discussions have previously overcome ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ challenges and know the only way forward is with the support of others.

“For us, it’s not just about consumers supporting local brands; it’s about Australian businesses supporting Australian businesses – even if they’re not in the same category. If we can provide insights, suggestions or manufacturing capability that can help others navigate complex times, we will – it’s the Aussie way” said McLean. “You never know what you may need help with or when. Now is the time to know the capabilities of our wider business community and start the conversation about supporting each other.”

The  brands are all involved in the business of manufacturing FMCG products, a complex space made even more complicated by the challenges of COVID-19. There are a lot of moving parts in the successful delivery of products to supermarket shelves. This is particularly challenging given the importance of consistency and the current rapid increase in demand from consumers.

“We are seeing a significant shift in Australian consumers entertaining at home with the brands they know and trust. We’ve been around for fifty years, and we want to continue to treat Australians for the next fifty,” said McLean.

Procurement of ingredients, logistics, warehousing are all considerations, and during COVID-19, the barriers keep moving. Aussie manufacturers may very well need to lean on each other as the fall out of COVID-19 becomes our new normal.

With the complications of global manufacturing, the brands hope to see more collaboration between Australian businesses to manufacture locally and potentially share each other’s capabilities. While we won’t be seeing a Ginger Beer and VEGEMITE flavoured meat pie any time soon, the support and Aussie mateship between Australian brands will be a reality.

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks is an Australian family-owned business known for brewing Australia’s favourite Ginger Beer. Now exporting to over 60 countries, Bundaberg recently installed their first in-house canning line to meet demand. Bundaberg Brewed Drinks have been working around the clock to meet the rapid increase in global demand generated by COVID-19 as consumers shift towards affordable indulgences.

“For us, it’s not just about consumers supporting local brands; it’s about Australian businesses supporting Australian businesses – even if they’re not in the same category,” said McLean.

Four’N Twenty is an iconic Australian brand synonymous with ‘The Great Australian Taste’ since 1947. Owned by parent company Patties Foods, today, Four’N Twenty is a much-loved part of Australian culture. Not only is it the official pie of the AFL, the iconic pie is capturing fans overseas, championed in the US through its partnership with NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and homegrown superstar Ben Simmons. Product innovations continue to evolve the brand to ensure there is a Four’N Twenty pie for all Australians.

“Patties is a proud member of the Australian business community, and part of that is giving back – it’s the Aussie battler spirit! We’re committed to supporting fellow businesses and doing our part to help the industry stay alive – not just for the economy, but for the livelihoods and lives of millions. We’ll all get through this together,”  said Paul Hitchcock, CEO Patties Foods

Since it hit Australian shelves in 1923, VEGEMITE has become one of the country’s most iconic ‘Australian’ brands. VEGEMITE is in most Australian homes and is loved by children, teenagers and adults alike. VEGEMITE will celebrate its 97th birthday in October, as the brand continues to play an important role in the lives of Australians. VEGEMITE is proudly owned by Bega Cheese Limited, whose impressive portfolio includes a range of Aussie products.

“We’re proud to be a part of a very important discussion today – one that is centred around extending mateship and support to one another, as we continue to produce great quality products for Australian consumers,” said Adam McNamara, Executive General Manager Bega Foods.

Rosella was founded in the late 1800s and since this time, its mission has been to provide Australians quality, purity and taste through its products with an uncompromising attitude to only using the best of ingredients. Rosella was purchased in 2013 by the Australian family owned company Sabrands who immediately set about restoring the original vision for the brand.

“Rosella has been providing great tasting Australian made food products for Australian families since 1895 when the founders HR McCracken & TJ Press established the brand 125 years ago. Still 100% Australian owned today and proudly supporting Aussie farmers Rosella has just launched an Organic Sauce range – made from 100 per cent Australian Grown Organic Tomatoes,”  said Michael Bartholomew, CEO Rosella

Rosella now back on the table with renewed market share

Two years after nearly dropping to less than two per cent of the sauce market, Australia’s oldest sauce brand is on track to increase market share.

2015 marks the 120th anniversary since two men founded the business in a backyard in Carlton, using glass jars to preserve fruits and vegetables throughout its history.

In its 120th year, executive chairman Dan Presser says that Australian families trust and love the brand to ensure that everything is made with the very best quality and the most wholesome ingredients.

Speaking to Food Magazine, Presser said “Australia in the past 40 years has become a far more multicultural country with food and taste influences brought over and integrated into our diets through each wave of new Australians. This has certainly been a large influencer on our tastes.”

Reflecting on the challenges faced as an Australian and family-owned company, Presser believed that Australian consumers had become more discerning in relation to where they spent their money as the range of choices broadens.

Rosella Tomato Sauce or Tomato Soup is essentially timeless: the ingredients put into the products have stayed the same, but the method in which the product is delivered is always set to change –predominantly through supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores.’

Returning the brand to its founding mission of using quality local ingredients was one of the first commitments Presser followed through on when family owned company Sabrands purchased Rosella in 2013.

Sabrands is no newcomer to marketing against bigger brands as it already produced Sunraysia and Devondale juice brands before its latest purchase.

Rosella was founded in the late 1800s, with a mission to only use the best of ingredients. It’s about going back to basics, Presser says.

By addressing the key challenge of competing with large multinational companies that have larger financing capabilities with their parent companies in the US, Rosella will attempt to keep up with the current hyper competitive retail environment.