Australia’s top 10 food firms by revenue revealed, and soon none will be wholly home-owned

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

Australia's top 10 food brands by revenue revealed.
Australia's top 10 food brands by revenue revealed.

Related tags: Private label, Coca-cola, Australia

A study of Australia’s largest food firms shows nine out of 10 are at least partly owned by foreign companies…but with Murray Goulburn about to be sold to Canadian rival Saputo, that number will soon be zero.

Kiwi dairy giant Fonterra tops the revenue list followed by Coca Cola Amatil - which is listed on the ASX but Coca Cola is the largest shareholder - and Lion.

Outside of the top three, Murray Goulbourn took fourth spot. The dairy firm is currently Australian-owned and operated, but this week agreed a deal​ to be taken over by Canadian company Saputo.

George Weston Foods, Wilmar International, Nestle, Mondelez, Parmalat and Asahi made up the rest of the top 10.

The food map has been produced by the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia (PHAIWA), which is now drawing attention to the fact that these 10 firms “either own or are connected to hundreds of different products, ranging from healthy to unhealthy options.”

Ainslie Sartori, a nutrition expert and a research associate with the Curtin University-based PHAIWA, said: “Once we started to map out who owned each food and beverage brand, we were quite surprised to realise some of the links between companies that sell healthy and unhealthy products.

Market dominance

“Many brands that are promoted at sporting events attended by children and young people are actually linked to companies that own alcohol or other unhealthy products.”

PHAIWA director Dr Melissa Stoneham added he research showed that just 10 companies own a large share of Australia’s food industry.

“We want Australians to be more aware of the connections between products they purchase and other companies, particularly when they may be unhealthy,” ​she said.

They highlighted the popular children’s icy pole, Zooper Dooper, a sponsor of the Big Bash League, which  is actually owned by beer giant Lion.

The food map also found Asahi, the Japanese-based beer company, owns popular soft drink brands such as Solo, Sunkist and Cool Ridge Water.

The full top 10

1. Fonterra

New Zealand-owned, with operations in Australia. The firm calims to be Australia's leading consumer and food service dairy supplier, with numerous private label operations.

2. Coca-Cola Amatil

Coca-Cola is the largest shareholder of the ASX-listed company. However, the firm is headquartered in Sydney. It also has interests in condiments, preserves and canned foods.

3. Lion

Japanese-owned, subsidiary of Kirin Holdings and Mitsubishi It holds a 25% market share in fruit juice, in Australia, and are the private label milk supplier for Coles in WA, SA and Tasmania.

4. Murray Goulburn

Currently Australian owned and operated. It holds a 21% market share in Australian Milk and cream production. The company also hold the exclusive contract to produce Coles private label cheese.

5. George Weston Foods

The subsidiary of Associated British Foods. In Australia it produces a number of leading bakery and cured meat brands. Its parent company also owns a number of brands in the Australian market.

6. Wilmar International

The Singapore-based company runs all food operations through its Goodman Fielder subsidiary. It is the industry leaders in sugar, flour and bakery products, and also produces a number of spread and condiments.

7. Nestle

The Swiss company produces a large proportion of the coffee and cereal brands in Australia, and is the third largest confectionery supplier.

8. Mondelez

The American company is the leading chocolate supplier in. the Australian market.

9. Parmalat

The Italian-based company is a subsidiary of French firm Lactalis. The company produces dairy products, including desserts, speciality cheeses and milk.

10. Asahi

The Japanese company is the second largest beverage distributor in the country. As the licensed supplier of Pepsi Co. products, along with other acquisitions the control a number of major brands.

Related topics: Markets