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Mums and dads of Bega to share in Vegemite coup

By Charlotte Harper - 19 January 2017 17

Vegemite and Bega.

We’re happy little Vegemites here at RiotACT HQ today, having learnt that one of the most successful businesses in the capital region, Bega Cheese, has bought the iconic Vegemite brand, returning it to Australian hands.

Imagine going home and telling your family you’re bringing Vegemite back home, and not just to Australia, but to the regional town of Bega where it will be part of the same stable as one of the nation’s favourite cheeses, as part of a business that has operated on our South Coast since 1899. It’s the stuff of foodie fairytales.

Imagine the possibilities that exist to create (and consume!) new products incorporating Bega Cheese and Vegemite. Mmmmm.

The man behind it all, executive chairman of Bega Cheese, Barry Irvin, told a conference call of investors and media at around 10.15am today that the business had grown from “humble beginnings as a small cooperative on the South Coast of NSW to a major ASX-listed billion-dollar business”.

“For me, this a proud day for the Bega community,” Mr Irvin said.

“There are few regional businesses that still have their HQ in a regional area, and even less that have their head office in a small town of 5000 people.”

He said that of the 800 or so shareholders of Bega Cheese, many were the farmers who supplied the company “and also mums and dads from Bega”.

“The wonderful heritage and values that Vegemite represents and its importance to Australian culture make its combination with Bega Cheese truly exciting.

“I think it’s a proud day for us all.”

Bega Cheese Limited will pay Mondelez International $460 million for its Port Melbourne-based Australia and New Zealand grocery and cheese business (MDLZ Grocery Business), including brands such as Vegemite, ZoOsh and Bonox as well as products using the Kraft brand under licence. These included peanut butter, nut spreads, processed cheese slices, ambient cheese spread, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, Kraft Easy Mac and Kraft Mac & Cheese. Bega will also gain a licence to use the Dairylea brand in Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Irvin said there were no plans for consolidate facilities or cut staff in the short term.

“Our objective today is to give certainty to Port Melbourne staff and the people that operate the business,” he said.

“At this stage, what we’re expecting is to bring across all the staff … we will run the [acquired assets] as a separate business.”

As for whether the investment would impact on Bega Cheese’s existing relationship with farmers in the region, Mr Irvin said he anticipated it would only strengthen ties.

“Our record in terms of how we deal with farmers is a strong one and we’re very proud of it,” he said.

“If you think about this deal, what it does for farmers is give them more confidence that they’re supplying an even stronger business.

“I think our suppliers will be very excited about this, it would give them a sense of security.”

Will we see Vegemite expanding into other markets such as the Middle East?

“We’ve got a very good distributor over there that I’m sure would do a good job with it,” Mr Irvin said.

Here at the RiotACT, we reckon the Vegemite will taste even better once it’s back in Australian hands, and we will take much greater pride in spreading it on our toast with avocado for brekkie tomorrow.

Are you a Vegemite fan? What’s your favourite way to eat it? Will you be hoping for a return of long lost favourites like Kraft Singles, Smiths Vegemite Chips and Cadbury Vegemite chocolate? Or all-new products incorporating Bega’s Strong & Bitey Vintage Cheddar with Vegemite, perhaps?

What’s Your opinion?


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17 Responses to
Mums and dads of Bega to share in Vegemite coup
1
Maryann Mussared 11:33 am
19 Jan 17
#

I blame/praise Vegemite for my love of savoury food. My mum used to put vegemite on stale scones and sprinkle with cheddar and slowly dry them out in the oven for snacks. Best invention since sliced bread is the plastic squeezy travellers tube of Vegemite. I never leave the country without one.

2
dungfungus 2:23 pm
19 Jan 17
#

They are looking to sell it in the Middle East according to your report.

Does this mean it will become Halal Vegemite?

Yeah, that’s really Australian.

3
No_Nose 4:36 pm
19 Jan 17
#

dungfungus said :

They are looking to sell it in the Middle East according to your report.

Does this mean it will become Halal Vegemite?

Yeah, that’s really Australian.

I hate to break it to you, but vegemite has been halal for many years now. Go and get your vegemite out of the cupboard and check if you don’t believe me.

And if you don’t have vegemite in your cupboard I call you out as ‘Unaustralian’.

4
dungfungus 6:17 pm
19 Jan 17
#

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

They are looking to sell it in the Middle East according to your report.

Does this mean it will become Halal Vegemite?

Yeah, that’s really Australian.

I hate to break it to you, but vegemite has been halal for many years now. Go and get your vegemite out of the cupboard and check if you don’t believe me.

And if you don’t have vegemite in your cupboard I call you out as ‘Unaustralian’.

The ingredients of Vegemite have always been halal.
It ceased to be an Australian owned brand when Kraft purchased its production in 2010.
Immediately, the politically correct Kraft did a deal with the Halal certification people and indeed it has had the symbol on it ever since.

Now it is becoming Australian again there is no need for the symbol to be retained, I mean it shouldn’t have been on there in the first place.

What next, bottled water?

And if not having it in the pantry means I am un-Australian well, so be it.
The stuff tastes revolting.

5
creative_canberran 6:23 pm
19 Jan 17
#

dungfungus said :

They are looking to sell it in the Middle East according to your report.

Does this mean it will become Halal Vegemite?

Yeah, that’s really Australian.

1. It’s Halal, long has been, so what.

2. Vegemite is also Kosher, but no one ever seems to go on about Kosher certification the way people do about Halal. (And they shouldn’t either).

3. Dick Smith OzEmite, sold as the patriotic choice, is made by a tax exempt church. No one kicks up a fuss about that.

6
Chris Mordd Richards 7:10 pm
19 Jan 17
#

Vegemite is aussie again and Mike Baird has resigned, two lots of great news today already! 😀

7
No_Nose 9:29 pm
19 Jan 17
#

dungfungus said :

The ingredients of Vegemite have always been halal.
It ceased to be an Australian owned brand when Kraft purchased its production in 2010.
Immediately, the politically correct Kraft did a deal with the Halal certification people and indeed it has had the symbol on it ever since.

Now it is becoming Australian again there is no need for the symbol to be retained, I mean it shouldn’t have been on there in the first place.

What next, bottled water?

Sorry, my mistake. I thought you were against halal labelling in itself, but I see from your comment that you are just against all advisory labelling as people should automatically know if the ingredients and manufacturing process meets their dietary requirements.

Strange how you never seem to comment about labelling foods ‘Low-Fat’, ‘Kosher’, ‘Vegan’, “Heart Foundation Tick’, ‘Meat free’, ‘Non GM’, ‘Fat Free’, ‘Australian Made’, ‘Imported’ or the many other labels available. Are you opposed to all of them too? Or just this particular label?

8
creative_canberran 12:21 am
20 Jan 17
#

dungfungus said :

It ceased to be an Australian owned brand when Kraft purchased its production in 2010.
Immediately, the politically correct Kraft did a deal with the Halal certification people and indeed it has had the symbol on it ever since.

Incorrect. The US company Kraft bought into ‘Vegemite’ in the late 1920s and it was completely foreign owned by the mid 1930s. It was an “Australian brand” for less than a decade, and not a successful brand until the foreign money rolled in.

9
bryansworld 5:45 am
20 Jan 17
#

dungfungus said :

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

They are looking to sell it in the Middle East according to your report.

Does this mean it will become Halal Vegemite?

Yeah, that’s really Australian.

I hate to break it to you, but vegemite has been halal for many years now. Go and get your vegemite out of the cupboard and check if you don’t believe me.

And if you don’t have vegemite in your cupboard I call you out as ‘Unaustralian’.

The ingredients of Vegemite have always been halal.
It ceased to be an Australian owned brand when Kraft purchased its production in 2010.
Immediately, the politically correct Kraft did a deal with the Halal certification people and indeed it has had the symbol on it ever since.

Now it is becoming Australian again there is no need for the symbol to be retained, I mean it shouldn’t have been on there in the first place.

What next, bottled water?

And if not having it in the pantry means I am un-Australian well, so be it.
The stuff tastes revolting.

Nice try. I don’t think Kraft were motivated by what you term “politically correct”. It was a business decision. Anyhow, what was ever wrong with behaving in a way that doesn’t offend or insult people? It’s called civility.

10
dungfungus 9:03 am
20 Jan 17
#

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

The ingredients of Vegemite have always been halal.
It ceased to be an Australian owned brand when Kraft purchased its production in 2010.
Immediately, the politically correct Kraft did a deal with the Halal certification people and indeed it has had the symbol on it ever since.

Now it is becoming Australian again there is no need for the symbol to be retained, I mean it shouldn’t have been on there in the first place.

What next, bottled water?

Sorry, my mistake. I thought you were against halal labelling in itself, but I see from your comment that you are just against all advisory labelling as people should automatically know if the ingredients and manufacturing process meets their dietary requirements.

Strange how you never seem to comment about labelling foods ‘Low-Fat’, ‘Kosher’, ‘Vegan’, “Heart Foundation Tick’, ‘Meat free’, ‘Non GM’, ‘Fat Free’, ‘Australian Made’, ‘Imported’ or the many other labels available. Are you opposed to all of them too? Or just this particular label?

I am against Halal Certification labelling on everything mainly because of the visual impact and also I believe it is a scam. I mean food producers are already required to list all the ingredients on the label and anyone one practising Islamic cultural requirements can surely see that those ingredients are already halal so why pay money to some self-appointed body to confirm it? This is a cost passed on to consumers by the way.

Sure, Vegemite is also Kosher but the label doesn’t shout it at you.

All the other labels that you mention are either food/health advice or regulatory ones. Halal is political.

11
dungfungus 9:51 am
20 Jan 17
#

bryansworld said :

dungfungus said :

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

They are looking to sell it in the Middle East according to your report.

Does this mean it will become Halal Vegemite?

Yeah, that’s really Australian.

I hate to break it to you, but vegemite has been halal for many years now. Go and get your vegemite out of the cupboard and check if you don’t believe me.

And if you don’t have vegemite in your cupboard I call you out as ‘Unaustralian’.

The ingredients of Vegemite have always been halal.
It ceased to be an Australian owned brand when Kraft purchased its production in 2010.
Immediately, the politically correct Kraft did a deal with the Halal certification people and indeed it has had the symbol on it ever since.

Now it is becoming Australian again there is no need for the symbol to be retained, I mean it shouldn’t have been on there in the first place.

What next, bottled water?

And if not having it in the pantry means I am un-Australian well, so be it.
The stuff tastes revolting.

Nice try. I don’t think Kraft were motivated by what you term “politically correct”. It was a business decision. Anyhow, what was ever wrong with behaving in a way that doesn’t offend or insult people? It’s called civility.

In what way was it “a business decision”?

12
No_Nose 11:21 am
20 Jan 17
#

dungfungus said :

bryansworld said :

Nice try. I don’t think Kraft were motivated by what you term “politically correct”. It was a business decision. Anyhow, what was ever wrong with behaving in a way that doesn’t offend or insult people? It’s called civility.

In what way was it “a business decision”?

In the same way that having something certified as ‘organic’ or ‘kosher’ or ‘heart foundation tick’ or ‘GM free’ is a business decision.

The business decides that obtaining this certification will increase their market and sales.

13
John Moulis 12:17 pm
20 Jan 17
#

Before anybody gets too carried away about Vegemite coming home and being Aussie again, I would like to point out that Bega Cheese is owned by Fonterra, a New Zealand company.

14
Charlotte Harper 12:25 pm
20 Jan 17
#

John Moulis said :

Before anybody gets too carried away about Vegemite coming home and being Aussie again, I would like to point out that Bega Cheese is owned by Fonterra, a New Zealand company.

No it’s not. They did previously have a stake: http://www.theland.com.au/story/3459990/fonterra-sells-bega-stake/
It’s owned by the Bega Co-operative Society Limited, and has many shareholders, including as I’ve stated the mums and dads of Bega and dairy farmers from the region.

15
No_Nose 1:21 pm
20 Jan 17
#

dungfungus said :

I am against Halal Certification labelling on everything mainly because of the visual impact ….
Sure, Vegemite is also Kosher but the label doesn’t shout it at you.

The kosher certification is right there…directly under the halal certification…and they are both exactly the same size. How is one shouting?

dungfungus said :

I mean food producers are already required to list all the ingredients on the label and anyone one practising Islamic cultural requirements can surely see that those ingredients are already halal

It also relates to the preparation process in certifying that no alcohol based products are used in cleaning the equipment. Also many ingredients in prepared food are not listed except for a code number. Yes I guess you could carry a volume with you that lists what they all are, but this is a much simpler method.

dungfungus said :

so why pay money to some self-appointed body to confirm it? This is a cost passed on to consumers by the way.

Kosher certification, Organic Certification, Heart Foundation Ticks, GMO free certification all all given by self appointed bodies that charge for the service too. Most companies claim that they do not pass the costs onto consumers for any of these certifications ( I find that a bit hard to believe), but using the Economy of Scale microeconomics theory, the profits from increased sales must be higher than the cost of the certification (otherwise it makes no sense.) and removal of any certification that makes an item attractive to a particular group of consumers could actually result in an increase in the cost of the product as unit sales decrease.

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