National Foods

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Not to be confused with the Pakistani company, National Foods Limited.
National Foods
Industry Food & Beverage
Founded 1991
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia
Area served


New Zealand
Key people
Andrew Reeves, MD
Products Dairy & Juice
Increase A$117 million (2007)
Owner Kirin Holdings Company, Limited
Number of employees
Parent Lion Nathan National Foods
Subsidiaries Dairy Farmers

National Foods is a dairy & beverage company which operates in Australia and is a subsidiary of holding company Lion Nathan National Foods,[1] wholly owned by the Japanese Kirin Holdings Company Limited, and consequently the Mitsubishi Group.

It is Australia's largest dairy food and juice company, with core activities in milk, fresh dairy foods, juice and speciality cheese.

National Foods was created by the Adelaide Steamship Company in 1991 by amalgamating several dairy and food related businesses with brand names and histories dating back to the 19th century.

The company is a major milk producer in Australia with its flagship Pura brand. It is also a major juice producer and a leader in the fresh dairy products market. As of 2007, National Foods has almost half the national flavoured milk market with brand Big M, and Farmers Union Iced Coffee has the unusual distinction of being one of only three soft drinks to outsell Coca-Cola in its market-place. National Foods also manufactures yoghurt, fromage frais, dairy desserts, cream and cheese under brands that include Yoplait, Frûche, Divine Classic, YoGo and Farmers Union. The company also produces a range of premium speciality cheeses under brands such as King Island Dairy, South Cape, Tilba, Timboon and Clover Creek.

Acquisition and merger[edit]

San Miguel Corporation entered a bidding war for National Foods with New Zealand's Fonterra in 2004. National Foods board unanimously accepted the San Miguel Corporation offer. In 2005 San Miguel acquired National Foods for $1.8 billion. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had earlier signed off on San Miguel Corporation's various Australian acquisitions, noting "there is no overlap between San Miguel's different activities in Australia and hence no change likely to the different markets in which these businesses operate." National Foods had earlier sold its juice business to Berri Ltd. After their acquisition National Foods regained 100% ownership of Berri Ltd. in December 2005. The two operations began the merger process soon afterwards. Following the merger, National Foods became the largest citrus and fruit processor in Australia, packaging approximately 50% of all fruit juice beverages sold in Australia. This led to National Foods having 3500 employees and 20 processing plants around Australia and New Zealand, with seven milk plants, five juice plants, four speciality cheese plants, a cheese packaging plant, two dairy foods plants and a joint venture soy beverage plant.

On the 8 November 2007, San Miguel Corp. sold National Foods to Kirin Holdings Co. (which had a 20% stake in San Miguel) for $3.1 billion. National Foods became a wholly owned subsidiary of Kirin, and in 2009, when Kirin acquired Lion Nathan, the two were merged to create Lion Nathan National Foods. San Miguel no longer had any working relations with Australia.


National Foods core brands are: Pura (milk), Big M (flavoured milk), Farmers Union (flavoured milk, including Iced Coffee, yogurt), Masters (flavoured milk),[2] Moove (flavoured milk),[3] King Island Dairy (cheese), Tasmanian Heritage (cheese), Yoplait (yogurt), Dairy Farmers (yogurt), Berri Ltd. (juice), Daily Juice (juice), Vitasoy (Soy Milk, Oat Milk, Rice Milk). It produces these products from a total of 24 major facilities (19 in Australia, 1 in New Zealand, 2 in Malaysia, 2 in Indonesia).

Company milestones[edit]

  • 1991 - Listed on Australia Stock Exchange;
  • 1992 - Acquired NSW dairy company United Dairies;
  • 1994 - Acquird Masters Dairy in Western Australia;
  • 1995 - Secured Australian license for French brand Yoplait. Sales of Yoplait brand started in the following year;
  • 1999 - Pura brand became Australia's first and only national milk brand;
  • 2000 - Acquired Big M brand;
  • 2001 - Acquired King Island Company. Entered into speciality cheese market;
  • 2002 - Won first national supermarket house brand milk contract;
  • 2005 - Acquired by San Miguel Corporation; San Miguel subsidiary Berri Limited merged with National Foods;
  • 2006 - Acquired speciality cheese manufacturer Lactos Pty Ltd;
  • 2007 - Acquired by Kirin Holdings Company, Limited;
  • 2008 - Planned acquisition of Dairy Farmers (as Australian Co-operative Foods Limited)
  • 2009 - Kirin gained shareholder approval to acquire 100% of Lion Nathan - plan to create "Lion Nathan National Foods"

Industrial relations[edit]

In early October 2009, National Foods gave evidence at an Australian Senate inquiry into milk prices; the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) is concerned because National Foods was paying Tasmanian farmers only 29 cents a litre for milk, about 10c/L below the amount it costs to produce the milk.[4]


  1. ^ Lion Nathan National Foods, Lion Nathan National Foods. Retrieved on 19 Feb 2010.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Angry farmers to eyeball National Foods at Canberra Senate hearing, 3 Oct 2009, Retrieved on 5 Oct 2009.

External links[edit]