|Revenue||A$1.2 billion (2004)|
|Parent||Campbell Soup Company|
The history of Arnott's Biscuits began in 1865, when Scottish immigrant William Arnott opened a bakery on Hunter Street, Newcastle, New South Wales, providing biscuits and pies to townspeople and ships docking at the local port.
Arnott's, in common with the majority of Australian biscuit manufacturers, operated primarily in its home state, New South Wales. In the 1960s, a series of almagamations and acquisitions in the Australian market resulted in the creation of the Australian Biscuit Company Pty Ltd. This included Arnotts and other companies such as Menz in South Australia, Brockhoff Biscuit Co. and Guest's Biscuits in Victoria. The Australian Biscuit Company was later renamed Arnott's Biscuits Pty Ltd.
Regional varieties were maintained after these mergers, such as Menz Yo-Yo, Brockhoff Salada and Guest's Teddy Bears. Until 1975 the company was under family control with the descendants of William Arnott, including Halse Rogers Arnott and Geoffrey Arnott, acting as Chairman. Their sole heir, Michael, currently works in New York.
1997 poison scare
In 1997, Arnott's Biscuits was subject to an extortion bid by a Queensland extortionist who threatened to poison packets of Arnott's Monte Carlo biscuits in South Australia and Victoria. The company conducted a massive recall and publicity campaign, publishing the extortionist's threats and demands in full-page newspaper ads. The recall cost the company A$22 million, but Arnott's was praised for its openness and honesty in dealing with the crisis.
Ownership and corporate history
In 1997, the Campbell Soup Company of North America, a shareholder of Arnott's since the 1980s, acquired Arnott's in full. Thus, in 1997, Arnott's Biscuits Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Campbell Soup Company. This caused a significant amount of controversy in Australia, based on the desire for such an Australian icon to remain in Australian hands, and a fear that Campbell's would Americanise the products.
Manufacturing of Arnott's biscuits, however, remained in Australia, and as part of a long-term expansion plan, Arnott's closed its Melbourne factory in September 2002. At the same time, it expanded its facilities in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.
In April 2008, Campbell Arnott's sold Arnott's Snackfoods to The Real McCoy Snackfood Co. and the company is now known as Snack Brands Australia.
Arnott's are well known in Australia and internationally for producing several quintessentially Australian biscuits. Some of their major products include:
- Caramel Crowns: a plain biscuit, topped with caramel, and covered in chocolate.
- Cheds: a savoury cracker that is perforated and sprinkled with cheddar cheese and salt.
- Chocolate Butternut Snap: a crunchy oatmeal and coconut biscuit covered in chocolate.
- Chocolate Dessert: a chocolate cream sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits. Discontinued in 2005 due to low sales.
- Choc Monte: a golden syrup, honey and coconut biscuit covered in dark chocolate.
- Chocolate Ripple: a chocolate-flavoured biscuit that is commonly used by Australian home cooks as the basis of 'Chocolate Ripple Cake' by adding layers of freshly whipped cream between each layer of biscuit and covering the whole construction in more cream and is then refrigerated overnight.
- Chocolate Royals: a vanilla biscuit topped with various flavours of marshmallow coated in dark or milk chocolate, similar to the Scottish Tunnock's teacake or New Zealands mallowpuffs. The royal comes in two versions. Dark chocolate (with white marshmallow) or milk chocolate (with pink marshmallow)
- Chocolate Wheaten: a new product acquired after Campbell's takeover. A round, semi-sweet, whole wheat flour biscuit covered in either milk chocolate or dark chocolate. Brand acquired from George Weston Foods in 2003.
- Coconut Rings: a coconut biscuit shaped in a ring. Discontinued after Campbell's takeover.
- Cruskits: a large rectangular crisp snack bread very much like French toast, available in Original, Wholemeal & Rice varieties.
- Custard Cream: a custard cream filling sandwiched between two rectangular vanilla biscuits.
- Delta Cream: two round chocolate biscuits with vanilla cream in the middle, similar to an Oreo, but sweeter and not so much cocoa.
- Golliwog / Scalliwag: a biscuit made in the shape of the Golliwogg toy, which was first sold in the 1960s and popular at that time. The name was changed to Scalliwag in the mid-1990s, however the biscuits remained in the shape of a Golliwog and the product was discontinued by the late 1990s. They made a reappearance in shops in 2010 but seem to have been removed from production again.
- Honey Jumbles: small honey gingerbread cakes, topped with pink or white icing.
- Iced Animals: created by the new owner Robert Arnotts, animal shaped biscuits with pink, green, yellow, and orange icing on top.
- Iced Vovos: a wheat flour biscuit with a raspberry jam and marshmallow topping sprinkled with coconut. After Campbells takeover, marshmallow and jam was replaced by thin layers of coloured frosting.
- Jatz: a round savoury crisp cracker, lightly salted, also available in a cracked pepper flavoured variety.
- Clix: a round savoury cracker but more buttery and saltier than Jatz with a softer texture.
- Kingstons: small round coconut biscuits with chocolate cream in the middle.
- Lemon Crisps: two sweet crackers with a light sprinkling of salt and lemon cream sandwiched in between.
- Marie: a plain sweet, vanilla-flavoured biscuit similar to a rich tea biscuit.
- Milk Coffee: a sweet biscuit with a hint of coffee flavouring.
- Milk Arrowroot: historical flagship biscuit brand of Arnott's, made with Arrowroot flour, commonly given to babies to introduce them to solid food.
- Mint Slice: a round chocolate biscuit topped with mint flavoured cream and coated in dark chocolate. Also available in Mandarin, Tia Maria and Coconut flavours.
- Monte Carlo: a raspberry and cream fondant sandwiched between two golden syrup, honey and coconut biscuits.
- Nice: a sweet biscuit covered with granulated sugar.
- Orange Creams: two vanilla biscuits with orange cream in the middle.
- Quatro: chocolate-coated biscuits with toppings such as fruit and nut, or caramel. Brand acquired from George Weston Foods in 2003. As of late 2010, no longer in production.
- Raspberry shortcake: a biscuit base with raspberry filling then topped with a doughnut shaped biscuit and sprinkled with granulated sugar
- SAO: a large square-shaped, plain cracker biscuit. The name stands for "Salvation Army Officer" as the biscuit was made especially for the Salvation Army Officers of the day as a snack that they could carry with them on their visiting rounds.
- Salada: a salted crisp cracker, rectangular in shape but with perforations down its centre to allow it to be halved for hors d'oeuvres. Originally a Brockhoff product.
- Savoy: a crispy cracker. Originally only sold in Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania but later available in New South Wales, ACT, and Queensland. Originally a Brockhoff product.
- Scotch fingers: shortbread biscuit, also available in chocolate-coated variety.
- Sesame wheats: savoury cracker topped with toasted sesame seeds.
- Shapes: a savoury cracker with sprinkled flavourings. Sold in various varieties such as Barbecue, Pizza, Cheddar, Chicken, Nacho Cheese and Cheese & Bacon.
- Shortbread creams: two vanilla shortbreads with vanilla cream in the centre.
- Strawberry tarts: a tart base with strawberry jam in the centre.
- Teddy Bear Biscuits: biscuits shaped like a teddy bear. Also comes in a chocolate coated variety. They are a different product to Tiny Teddies.
- TeeVee Snacks: a bite-sized chocolate coated biscuit, promoted as being ideal for TV snacking.
- Tic Tocs: clock-shaped iced vanilla biscuits, with clock faces embossed on the underside.
- Tim Tams: a two-layered oblong chocolate-coated biscuit originally with a chocolate cream filling. Flavours now include milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, double coating of chocolate, caramel centred, chilli, coconut, berry filling (Pink Wish charity edition), Kahlua, Love Potions series (chocolate and raspberry, vanilla and toffee, choc mud) and latte filling. The latest flavour to be released in 2008 is orange.
- Tina Wafer: a sweet cream sandwiched between two light wafers. Varieties include chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
- Tiny Teddies: thumb-sized teddy bear-shaped snacks. Practically identical to the American Nabisco brand Teddy Grahams
- Venetians: a sweet round biscuits with chewy dried blueberries. One side dipped in a sweet white chocolate syrup.
- Vita-Weat: wholewheat crisp bread available in original and sandwich size.
- Wagon Wheels: marshmallow and jam sandwiched between two round biscuits, coated in chocolate (original variety); also now available with chocolate fudge in place of jam (double choc variety). The original brand was acquired from George Weston Foods in 2003.
- Water crackers: original, sesame and cracked pepper.
- Yo-Yo: a sweet biscuit made with butter, eggs, milk and honey, originally baked by Menz in South Australia.
- Drake, Isobel (24 April 2009). "Arnott's issues ultimatum to Krispy Kreme". Australian Food News.
- Campbell Arnott's (30 September 2012). Campbell Arnott's Submission to NFP Green Paper "Campbell Arnott's Submission to National Food Plan Green Paper". Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
- Arnott's Biscuits Heritage external website.
- Radio National (PM): Herron's actions a contrast to Arnotts' open-ness, ABC Radio, March 17, 2000.
- The 7.30 Report: Mars, snickers threat aimed at unnamed organisation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, July 4, 2005.
- Moynihan, Stephen: Tearful workers feel the final crunch at Arnott's, The Age, August 3, 2002.
- Business Breakfast: Arnotts bids for Snack Foods, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, July 6, 2002.
- Salvation Army: Did You Know?
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arnott's Biscuits.|
- Boag, Charles: The Story of Arnott's Famous Biscuits: A History & A Celebration (1993), Lansdowne (Sydney). ISBN 1-86302-284-8.
- Arnotts, Robert: 'The Biography of a Rich Man, Robert Arnotts - Family and Work' (1992)