The logo used for Mainland Cheese
|Private (subsidiary of Fonterra Co-operative Group)|
|Parent||Fonterra Co-operative Group|
Mainland Cheese is a brand of cheese now owned by Fonterra Co-operative Group that is sold throughout Australasia and parts of the Americas. It began as a family business in the South Island of New Zealand (which is jocularly known as the "mainland" of New Zealand because it is larger than the North Island).
Mainland Products Ltd was founded in 1954 by Peter McConnon. It grew rapidly, encompassing fresh and processed milk, cheese (with which the company's name is most associated today) as well as ice cream (Tip Top), processed meats (Kiwi Huttons) and other consumer foods. Kiwi Co-operative Dairies led by CEO Craig Norgate acquired 83% of the business in the 1990s. The balance was acquired by Fonterra (formed by a 2001 merger which included Kiwi Co-op), also led by Norgate, in 2002.
In 2005, Fonterra sold most of the business that was formerly part of Mainland to Graeme Hart's Rank Group Ltd but it retained all the cheese assets. Mainland cheese now comes under Fonterra Brands. The balance of the former Mainland company is now part of Goodman Fielder. Mainland remained a family owned and operated business with Peter's sons Baird and Alan along with grandson Simon McConnon until its sale to Fonterra.
Mainland established an iconic advertising campaign (see, for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfHptym_hXE, an ad from 1991). Mainland's advertising in New Zealand has been largely focused on the theme of waiting/patience, mirroring the aging process of cheese.
Mainland's advertising in Australia has been largely focused on playing on the New Zealand accent. For example, "your frind in the frudge" (your friend in the fridge), and confusing the sound of "cheese day" with "Tuesday".
- "Anchor brand to return to Fonterra product range". The New Zealand Herald. 8 August 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- "Mainland Cheese Cheesemakers on TV", The Inspiration Room Daily blog (26 October 2005).