Bega Cheese Limited (Bega) has completed its acquisition of the Lion Dairy & Drinks business, marking the official return of iconic brands like Farmers Union and Dairy Farmers to Aussie ownership.
Initially announced in November 2020, the acquisition means that Bega’s product range now includes fresh milk, flavoured milk, yoghurt, juice, cream and custard alongside its tradition dairy and grocery business.
The Dairy & Drinks business, now owned by Bega, was formed through the amalgamation of some of Australia’s most celebrated food and beverage companies. Dairy Farmers and Farmers Union were founded before Australian Federation more than 120 years ago and some of the same families still supply the Dairy Farmers brand today.
Bega’s Executive Chairman, Barry Irvin, said they are delighted to return these iconic brands to Australian hands.
“This is a great moment for Bega and we couldn’t be more excited for such treasured brands to officially join the Bega family,” he said.
Bega’s operations have grown from eight manufacturing sites across three states to 20 manufacturing sites (plus a joint venture) across six states and one territory – New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and Western Australia.
“Bega has been working hard to create a great Australian food company, and in addition to acquiring such great brands, we look forward to welcoming a large and talented team into our business,” said Irvin.
In 2017, Bega also returned Vegemite to Aussie ownership – a move widely celebrated by the nation.
“We hope that Australians are as thrilled as we are that much-loved state-based brands that they’ve grown up with, such as Masters (WA), Farmers Union Iced Coffee (SA) and Big M (Victoria) are again Aussie-owned – these great brands are returning to Aussie ownership for the first time in more than a decade,” added Irvin.
“Bega continues to leverage and evolve our core business to become a respected and successful global food business, with a vision to become the great Australian food company. We invite you to celebrate in this great moment for our business, and what it means for Australians. Thank you for inviting our brands into your homes, and your breakfast table, each day.”
Pictures: Bega Cheese team with Executive Chairman, Barry Irvin