Dick Smith Foods

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Dick Smith Foods is a food brand created by Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith to provide Australian owned and produced alternatives to products from foreign-owned food companies.[1]

It was formed in 1999 largely in response to the high market share of those companies, and the increasingly frequent take over of previously Australian-owned companies like Arnott's and Pauls. In particular, Smith was concerned that many companies which were no longer Australian owned still marketed as "Australian products": the iconic Australian breakfast spread Vegemite, for example, was owned by Kraft Foods (now known as Mondelēz), which in turn was (until 2007) owned by the Altria Group (formerly known as tobacco giant Philip Morris).[2]

Licensing arrangements and business[edit]

Dick Smith Foods does not manufacture its own food products. Instead, it sources products from other Australian-owned companies, which licence the Dick Smith Foods brand label.

Smith announced in 2011 that he would be taking control of the management of the company again, after turnover dropped from $80 million to $8 million over the previous five years. He implemented a vision for the return to Australian-owned, Australian-grown produce where all the profits stay in Australia, instead of heading offshore as they do with the majority of foreign-owned food suppliers. The company had previously been managed, and some of its products produced under licence, by the Sanitarium Health Food Company, which pays Dick Smith Foods for the rights to the company's branding. DSF then donates a portion of its profits to charitable causes. In 2004, Smith announced his intention to make Dick Smith Foods a commercial operation, and to list it on the stock market by 2009.[3]

Generally the brand focuses on producing local alternatives to products with large market shares like Kraft peanut butter and Vegemite. In October 2004, Dick Smith offered to purchase Vegemite from Kraft, but was unsuccessful.[4]

In 2006, the Herald Sun newspaper reported that Dick Smith Foods turnover had halved, due in part to the difficulty of finding local suppliers for their products.[5] [6]

Legal issues[edit]

Dick Smith Foods ran into legal difficulties in 2003, when Arnott's Biscuits Holdings took the company to court. The issue was a trademark dispute over DSF's Temptin' brand of chocolate biscuits, which Arnott's alleged had diluted their trademark as a similar biscuit (the Tim Tam), in similarly-designed packaging.[7] The case was settled out of court, and Smith responded by casting Greg Arnott, a member of the Arnott family, in a commercial for Temptins.[8]


  1. ^ AAP (2001-07-27), "Dick sticks with peanut butter", Herald Sun, p. 41 
  2. ^ Lewis, Peter: Dick Smith's tasty new adventure, Landline (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 23 April 2000.
  3. ^ Webb, Richard (2004-11-07), "Dick Smith Foods to change aim", The Sunday Age, p. 10 
  4. ^ Media Release: Dick Smith offers to buy Vegemite to help out a battling Kraft, Dick Smith Foods, 27 October 2004.
  5. ^ Walker, Frank (2006-02-05), "Vegemite could go Chinese: Dick Smith", Herald Sun, p. 28, archived from the original on 2012-03-24 
  6. ^ Cherry, Brenton (2011-03-11), "EXCLUSIVE: Aussie entrepreneur Dick Smith brings business and jobs to the beaches", Manly Daily 
  7. ^ Went, Sheree: Smith and fans tempt Tim Tams, The Age, 7 May 2003.
  8. ^ An Arnott is latest weapon for cheeky Dick, B&T, 26 September 2003.

External links[edit]