Farmers Union Iced Coffee
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|Country of origin||Australia|
|Variants||Farmers Union Iced Coffee Regular, Farmers Union Iced Coffee Strong, Farmers Union Iced Coffee ONE, Farmers Union Iced Coffee EDGE.|
Farmers Union Iced Coffee is a flavoured milk drink popular in Australia, primarily the state of South Australia. It continues to be sold under the "Farmers Union" banner, originally a South Australian co-operative, subsequently the listed company National Foods, and then by a series of subsidiaries of the Japanese brewing company Kirin. The current manufacturer's company name is Lion Dairy & Drinks.
First launched in 1977 when "Farmers Union" was a co-operative of South Australian dairy farmers, the brand has achieved iconic status in South Australia and is now also available in all other Australian states and territories. The drink is made with coffee, glucose, and homogenised reduced fat milk and milk solids. In the past Farmers Union Iced Coffee's labelling also made mention of "iced confection" as an ingredient. The flavour of the product changed considerably when this ingredient was removed. The product is available predominantly in 600 mL and smaller 375 mL cardboard cartons. It is also sold in 1 litre cardboard cartons, 2 and 3 litre plastic bottles and 750 mL plastic bottles also known as Stubbies.
In 2003, Australians consumed in excess of 22,000,000 litres of Farmers Union Iced coffee, making it Australia's best selling flavoured milk drink/milk shake at that time. The drink's popularity has more recently been reflected by some McDonald's, KFC and Hungry Jack's restaurants selling it as a part of their menus across the country. In 2008, Farmers Union Iced Coffee outsold Coca-Cola in South Australia at a rate of almost 3:1, with South Australians consuming 36 million litres, making it the only place in the world where a milk drink outsells a cola product, and one of the few places where Coca-Cola is not the most popular locally consumed bottled beverage, a success shared only by Inca Kola in Peru and Irn-Bru in Scotland and various drinks in nearly every Asian country.
Farmers Union Iced Coffee in Australia also enjoys a high profile for popular commercials featuring rough male workers acting out ballet with heavy machinery in order to take up their boss on his word that he would provide them with a truck load of Iced Coffee if all his workers took up ballet. Another well-known run of advertisements features a dramatic voice-over detailing world headlines and issues, but shows very low-key average Australian equivalents on screen. These include:
- "When the wall came down" - depicts two men demolishing a wall as part of a DIY project. This relates to when the Berlin Wall was demolished.
- "Survived the Apollo Disaster" - shows three motorists (one consuming Iced Coffee) as their Holden Apollo is towed away after an accident. This may refer to one of two major incidents involving Apollo spacecraft—either the Apollo 1 fire, in which three astronauts died during a launch-pad test exercise, or the Apollo 13 explosion, which scuttled a planned lunar landing but saw the three astronauts safely return to Earth.
- "There when the bras were burnt" - shows an absent minded male watching television as a bra is burnt by an iron in the foreground. This refers to the famous act of female liberation.
- "When Chisel broke up" - shows a construction site with a devastated builder holding two pieces of a broken chisel. Refers to when the band, Cold Chisel broke up.
- "Saw Cathy in Sydney in 2000" - shows one male supposedly meeting with an old friend in Sydney who is also named Cathy. Relates to Cathy Freeman winning the 400 m in the Sydney Olympics.
- "The Children Overboard" - shows two males in a speedboat talking as their children have fallen off the back in an inflatable that is being towed. Refers to the scandal when the Howard government falsely claimed that children were thrown overboard from a boat full of asylum seekers.
- "Lived through the Millennium Bug" - shows a man in a dinner suit in a sleeping bag drink an Iced Coffee while slapping a bug on his neck. Relates to the Y2K bug.
- "...and Trevor's Underarm" - shows two construction workers both drinking Iced Coffee; one lifts his arm revealing his body odour and the other recoils in disgust. Refers to Trevor Chappell's infamous underarm delivery on the last ball of a One Day Cricket International. Features actor Terry Rogers in an early role.
- "Strongly opposed the Bush Invasion" - shows a man cutting his neighbours overhanging bushes. Relates to the opposition of George Bush leading the invasion into Iraq.
On Monday, 23 October 2006, two new flavours of Farmers Union Iced Coffee were released in South Australia. Farmers Union Strong Iced Coffee which features a stronger coffee blend, which subsequently began sale in Tasmania, and Farmers Union Light Iced Coffee which has no added sugar (aspartame is substituted for sugar) and a taste similar to the original.
According to the company, both the original variety and the Light flavours contain approximately 18 mg of caffeine per 100 mL, while the Farmers Union Strong Iced Coffee contains 24 mg.
The Light Iced Coffee proved to be rather unpopular, as many consumers didn't like the slightly weaker taste and chose the original alternative. In August 2011, the company released a new product Farmers Union Iced Coffee One, claiming that One had "100% taste, 1% fat and no added sugar", and was a completely new formulation. FUIC One was not overly popular at launch, given the reputation of the Light Iced Coffee, leading to a huge promotion in December 2011, where customers who 'liked' the On the Run Facebook page could print a coupon from the internet, and redeem one of 10,000 free Iced Coffee Ones from any petrol station or convenience outlet in South Australia.
Also sold under Farmers Union imprint are the Feel Good range of low-fat/sugar milk drinks, currently including coffee and chocolate flavors.
Thanks to its shared South Australian origins, the cupholders of the locally made third generation Mitsubishi Magna were designed to hold both normal round drinks and Farmers Union Iced Coffee cartons. The same is true of the first generation Holden Cruze.
- Convenience Report 2004, ACNielsen (PDF document)? Archived August 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Meredith Booth (24 June 2008). "Coca-Cola Amatil plans flavoured milk sales in SA". adelaidenow. news.com.au. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Coke hopes things go better with - milk". The Advertiser. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
-  Farmers Union Iced Coffee's Facebook page with launch details. (Retrieved 17/4/12)
-  Farmers Union Iced Coffee's Facebook Page, with 'One' and 'Light FUIC' compared. (Retrieved 17/4/12)
-  Farmers Union Iced Coffee's Facebook Status regarding promotion. (Retrieved 17/4/12)