Arnott's Biscuits Limited is Australia's largest producer of biscuits and the second-largest supplier of snack food. American private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) bought Arnott's from the Campbell Soup Company in 2019.
|Headquarters||24 George Street, North Strathfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Revenue||A$1.04 billion (2018)|
Number of employees
In 1847, Scottish immigrant William Arnott opened a bakery in Morpeth, New South Wales. Later in 1865 he moved to a bakery on Hunter Street, Newcastle, New South Wales, providing biscuits and pies to townspeople and ships docking at the local port. Until 1975 the company was under family control with the descendants of William Arnott, including Halse Rogers Arnott and Geoffrey H. Arnott, acting as Chairman. Nephew Aaron Arnott chose not to be involved in the family business and lives in Los Angeles, California in the United States of America.
Arnott's, in common with the majority of Australian biscuit manufacturers, operated primarily in its home state, New South Wales, but has manufacturing plants in Virginia, Queensland (manufactures only plain, cream and savoury biscuits) and Shepparton, Victoria. In 1949 it merged with Morrows Pty Ltd, a Brisbane biscuit manufacturer, forming William Arnotts, Morrow Pty Ltd. In the 1960s, a series of amalgamations and acquisitions in the Australian market resulted in the creation of the Australian Biscuit Company Pty Ltd. This included Arnotts and other companies such as Brockhoff Biscuits, Arnott-Motteram and Menz in South Australia, and Guest's Biscuits in Victoria, and Mills and Ware Ltd in Western Australia. The Australian Biscuit Company was later renamed Arnott's Biscuits Pty Ltd. Regional varieties were maintained after these mergers, such as Menz Yo-Yo, Brockhoff Salada and Guest's Teddy Bears.
In 1997, Arnott's Biscuits was subject to an extortion bid by Queenslander Joy Ellen Thomas, aged 72 years, who allegedly threatened to poison packets of Arnott's Monte Carlo biscuits in South Australia and Victoria. The company conducted a massive recall and publicity campaign, publishing the extortionist's threats and demands in full-page newspaper ads. However, Ms. Thomas was not charged with any offence as the prosecution dropped the case against her because of conflicting evidence. The recall cost the company A$22 million, but Arnott's was praised for its openness and honesty in dealing with the crisis.
In 1997, the Campbell Soup Company of North America, a shareholder of Arnott's since the 1980s, acquired Arnott's in full. Thus, in 1997, Arnott's Biscuits Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Campbell Soup Company. This caused a significant amount of controversy in Australia, based on the desire for such an Australian icon to remain in Australian hands, and a fear that Campbell's would Americanise the products.
Manufacturing of Arnott's biscuits, however, remained in Australia, and as part of a long-term expansion plan, Arnott's closed its Melbourne factory in September 2002. At the same time, it expanded its facilities in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.
In July 2019, Campbell Soup Company agreed to sell Arnott's to KKR for $US2.2 billion. Just weeks after the sale, Arnott's was in a public dispute with Woolworths Supermarkets, which reportedly wanted to charge higher prices for marketing displays. Sources said the dispute had begun in May before agreement was reached for the sale of Arnott's to KKR.
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Arnott's are well known in Australia and internationally for producing several quintessentially Australian biscuits. Some of their major products include:
- Arno Shortbread: traditional shortbread flavour.
- Bush Biscuits: similar to an Arrowroot but larger and harder, made for camping.
- Caramel Crowns: a plain biscuit, topped with caramel, and covered in chocolate.
- Cheds: a savoury cracker that is perforated and sprinkled with cheddar cheese and salt.
- Chocolate Butternut Snap: a crunchy oatmeal and coconut biscuit covered in chocolate.
- Chocolate Dessert: a chocolate cream sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits. Discontinued in 2005 due to low sales.
- Choc Monte: a golden syrup, honey and coconut biscuit covered in dark chocolate.
- Chocolate Ripple: a chocolate-flavoured biscuit that is commonly used by Australian home cooks as the basis of 'Chocolate Ripple Cake or Tassie Tiramisu' by adding layers of freshly whipped cream between each layer of biscuit and covering the whole construction in more cream and is then refrigerated overnight.
- Chocolate Royals: a vanilla biscuit topped with various flavours of marshmallow coated in dark or milk chocolate, similar to the Scottish Tunnock's teacake or New Zealands mallowpuffs. The royal comes in two versions: dark chocolate (with white marshmallow) and milk chocolate (with pink marshmallow)
- Chocolate Wheaten: a new product acquired after Campbell's takeover. A round, semi-sweet, whole wheat flour biscuit covered in either milk chocolate or dark chocolate. Brand acquired from George Weston Foods in 2003.
- Coconut Rings: a coconut biscuit shaped in a ring. Discontinued after Campbell's takeover.
- Cruskits: a large rectangular crisp snack bread very much like Melba toast, available in Original, Wholemeal & Rice varieties.
- Custard Cream: a custard cream filling sandwiched between two rectangular vanilla biscuits.
- Delta Cream: two round chocolate biscuits with vanilla cream in the middle, similar to an Oreo, but sweeter and not so much cocoa.
- Ginger Nut: A hard, crisp ginger biscuit. Arnott's manufactures four different regional varieties of ginger nut to suit the tastes of people in different states.
- Golliwog/Scalliwag: a biscuit made in the shape of the Golliwog toy, which was first sold in the 1960s and popular at that time. The name was changed to Scalliwag in the mid-1990s, however the biscuits remained in the shape of a Golliwog and the product was discontinued by the late 1990s. They made a reappearance in shops in 2010 but seem to have been removed from production again. Originally a Guest's Biscuits product.
- Honey Jumbles: small soft honey gingerbread cakes, topped with pink or white icing.
- Honey Snaps: Honey and coconut flat biscuit. (Discontinued)
- Hundreds & Thousands: a vanilla biscuit topped with pink icing and coated with tiny multicolored nonpareils.
- Iced Animals: created by the new owner Robert Arnotts, animal shaped biscuits with pink, green, yellow, and orange icing on top.
- Iced Vovos: a wheat flour biscuit with a raspberry jam and fondant topping sprinkled with coconut.
- Jaffa Cakes: a soft sponge with orange jam and coated with chocolate. (Discontinued)
- Jatz: a round savoury crisp cracker, lightly salted, also available in a cracked pepper flavoured variety.
- Clix: a round savoury cracker but more buttery and saltier than Jatz with a softer texture.
- Kingstons: small round coconut biscuits with chocolate cream in the middle. Stated to be the favourite biscuit of Australian politician Bob Katter.
- Lemon Crisps: two sweet crackers with a light sprinkling of salt and lemon cream sandwiched in between.
- Malt-O-Milk: a sweet biscuit containing malt extract, milk powder and food colour (Caramel III).
- Marie: a sweet, vanilla-flavoured biscuit similar to a rich tea biscuit.
- Milk Coffee: a sweet biscuit with a hint of golden syrup.
- Milk Arrowroot: historical flagship biscuit brand of Arnott's, made with Arrowroot flour, but only enough that the name Arrowroot can still be used on the label, once was commonly given to babies to introduce them to solid food. (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (Contains: Soy), Condensed Milk, Salt, Baking Powder, Arrowroot Flour.)
- Mint Slice: a round chocolate biscuit topped with mint flavoured cream and coated in dark chocolate. Also available in Mandarin, Tia Maria and Coconut flavours.
- Monte Carlo: a raspberry and cream fondant sandwiched between two golden syrup, honey and coconut biscuits. Widely considered the most popular within the Arnott's Assorted Cream range.
- Morning Coffee: (Discontinued)
- Nice: a sweet biscuit covered with granulated sugar.
- Orange Creams: two vanilla biscuits with orange cream in the middle.
- Quatro: chocolate-coated biscuits with toppings such as fruit and nut, or caramel. Brand acquired from George Weston Foods in 2003. As of late 2010, no longer in production.
- Raspberry shortcake: a biscuit base with raspberry filling then topped with a doughnut shaped biscuit and sprinkled with granulated sugar
- SAO: a large square-shaped, plain cracker biscuit. The name stands for "Salvation Army Officer" as the biscuit was made especially for the Salvation Army Officers of the day as a snack that they could carry with them on their visiting rounds.
- Salada: a salted crisp cracker, rectangular in shape but with perforations down its centre to allow it to be halved for hors d'oeuvres. Originally a Brockhoff product.
- Savoy: a crispy cracker. Originally only sold in Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania but later available in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and Queensland. Originally a Brockhoff product.
- Scotch fingers: shortbread biscuit, also available in chocolate-coated variety.
- Sesame wheats: savoury cracker topped with toasted sesame seeds.
- Shapes: savoury chips with sprinkled flavourings. Flavours include: Barbecue, Pizza, Cheddar, Chicken Crimpy, Nacho Cheese and Cheese & Bacon.
- Shortbread creams: two vanilla shortbreads with vanilla cream in the centre.
- Shredded Wheatmeal: From the original plain biscuit line with the major addition of wheatmeal.
- Spicy Fruit Roll: a pillow shaped, spicy fruit mix covered with plain biscuit covering. Colloquially known as the "pillow biscuit".
- Strawberry tarts: a tart base with strawberry jam in the centre.
- Teddy Bear Biscuits: biscuits shaped like a teddy bear. Also comes in a chocolate coated variety. They are a different product to Tiny Teddies. Originally a Guest's Biscuits product.
- TeeVee Snacks: a bite-sized chocolate coated biscuit, promoted as being ideal for TV snacking. Originally a Guest's Biscuits product.
- Tic Tocs: Round iced vanilla biscuits, with clock faces embossed on the underside.
- Tim Tams: a two-layered oblong chocolate-coated biscuit originally with a chocolate cream filling. Flavours now include milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, double coating of chocolate, and caramel centre. Tim tams are regularly released with limited edition flavours, either added as an additional layer of filling, or via flavoured chocolate. Limited release flavours in the past have included chilli, coconut, berry filling (Pink Wish charity edition), Kahlua, Love Potions series (chocolate and raspberry, vanilla and toffee, choc mud), orannge, and latte
- Tina Wafer: a sweet cream sandwiched between two light wafers. Varieties include chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
- Tiny Teddies: thumb-sized teddy bear-shaped snacks. Practically identical to the American Nabisco brand Teddy Grahams
- Venetians: a sweet round coconut biscuit with chewy dried currants. One side dipped in a sweet white chocolate icing.
- Vita-Weat: wholewheat crisp bread available in original and sandwich size. Brand acquired from Peek Freans in 1982.
- Wagon Wheels: marshmallow and jam sandwiched between two large round biscuits, coated in chocolate (original variety); also now available with chocolate fudge in place of jam (double choc variety). Usually sold in packs of one. The original brand was acquired from George Weston Foods in 2003.
- Water crackers: original, sesame and cracked pepper.
- Yo-Yo: a sweet biscuit made with butter, eggs, milk and honey, originally baked by Menz in South Australia.
- Powell, Dominic (24 July 2019). "Barbarians snatch Tim Tams? Arnott's set to be acquired by KKR in $3b deal". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 17 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 April 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Drake, Isobel (24 April 2009). "Arnott's issues ultimatum to Krispy Kreme". Australian Food News. Archived from the original on 8 September 2014.
- Campbell Arnott's (30 September 2012). "Campbell Arnott's Submission to National Food Plan Green Paper" (PDF). Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 September 2014.
- Mitchell, Sue (27 September 2019). "Arnott's in stand-off with Woolies". The Australian Financial Review. Nine Entertainment Co. Archived from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- "Campbell Completes Sale of Arnott's and Certain of Campbell's International Operations to KKR for Approximately $2.2 Billion". Business Wire. 23 December 2019. Archived from the original on 14 April 2020. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
- "Our heritage". Arnott's Australia: Arnott's heritage. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- "Advertising". The Courier-Mail (4087). Queensland, Australia. 31 December 1949. p. 3. Archived from the original on 15 September 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Biscuit extortion case dropped over DNA hurdle". 27 April 2002. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
- Radio National (PM): Herron's actions a contrast to Arnotts' open-ness Archived 1 December 2004 at the Wayback Machine, ABC Radio, 17 March 2000.
- Radio National (PM): Herron's actions a contrast to Arnotts' open-ness Archived 1 December 2004 at the Wayback Machine, ABC Radio, 17 March 2000.
- The 7.30 Report: Mars, snickers threat aimed at unnamed organisation Archived 9 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 4 July 2005.
- Moynihan, Stephen: Tearful workers feel the final crunch at Arnott's Archived 18 April 2003 at the Wayback Machine, The Age, 3 August 2002.
- Business Breakfast: Arnotts bids for Snack Foods Archived 5 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 6 July 2002.
- "Arnott's sold by Campbells to KKR". ABC News. ABC News. 24 July 2019. Archived from the original on 25 July 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
- Fejer, Lish; Travers, Penny (20 May 2017). "Ginger nut: The Aussie biscuit favourite that varies across the country". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 20 May 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- "Arnotts Milk Coffee 250g". Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
- Salvation Army: Did You Know? Archived 21 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine
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