Paving the road to success

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In today’s competitive environment it is increasingly difficult for businesses in the FMCG and related industries to succeed. The following brands and businesses are not just surviving, but thriving, as they celebrate significant milestones in 2015.

By Hailey Settineri.

Just as sweet after 160 years

CSR has been providing generations of Australians with quality sugar since 1855 and has maintained its position as the number one brand within the sugar category.

CSR has been ‘Australia’s Favourite’ brand of sugar since sugarcane was first grown in Australia. The company has seen the acquisition of various farms and refineries over the years, many of which are still running today, including Yarraville Refinery in Victoria and Racecourse Refinery in Queensland.

Sugar Australia General Manager Sales Bret Reid said CSR is the oldest brand in Australia and is proud to “still be the number one brand of sugar in consumers’ pantries and hearts”.

“CSR offers the widest range of sugars in the market and will continue to develop new products to cater to the needs of consumers who are as passionate about baking as we are.

“In the past five years we’ve had some major developments in the range of products offered under the CSR brand, which now includes Coconut Sugar, flavoured icing mixtures, Jam Setting Sugar, LoGiCane and Smart – to name just a few.”

The volume share of CSR in the quarter to 25/1/15 was 26.1 per cent, making it Australia’s leading sugar brand (Aztec data, supplied by Sugar Australia). While the brand has seen some decline over the past few years due to changing consumer behaviour (specifically in relation to sugar consumption) and overall decline in category value driven by retailers’ promotional strategy, the CSR brand continues to be a significant player, with the longest heritage and widest range.

“We will continue to encourage consumers to bake from scratch and celebrate the joys of baking and sharing with their loved ones,” Mr Reid said.

To celebrate its 160th anniversary, CSR will publish consumer recipes handed down through generations, release a commemorative golden syrup tin, engage in online activity via social media, and launch new products.

Mr Reid said CSR will continue to be ‘Australia’s Favourite’ brand of sugar, “with an even wider range of products to love and choose from”.

Bringing out the biscuits 

One of Australia’s best-loved brands, Arnott’s is celebrating its 150th anniversary by ‘Bringing out the Biscuits’ and encouraging Aussie consumers to rediscover the joy of sharing a delicious moment with someone special.

Millions of Australians have grown up on Arnott’s Biscuits and, for them, Arnott’s is more than a food company: it’s a piece of Australia’s history. The name Arnott’s is synonymous with Australia’s favourite biscuits – bringing families, friends, neighbours and colleagues together over a Milk Arrowroot, Monte Carlo, Iced VoVo or Scotch Finger.

The history of Arnott’s spans from humble beginnings baking pies and ships’ biscuits in Newcastle through war times, when the biscuit range dropped to only 19 varieties – one made as a supply for our troops – through recessions and booms.

In 2015, there are 125 different biscuits in the Arnott’s range across household names such as Shapes, Tim Tam, Vita-Weat, Cruskits and Arnott’s sweet biscuit portfolio. Arnott’s Biscuits are found in 95 per cent of Australian households.

This year, Arnott’s embarks on a host of anniversary celebrations, including new biscuits varieties, a partnership with Camp Gallipoli, collectors’ tins and a roaming biscuit bakery travelling to locations across Australia.

“Arnott’s Biscuits have been an Australian family favourite for 150 years,” Arnott’s Sweet Biscuits Marketing Director Nik Scotcher said. “In 2015, we’re celebrating our history and looking towards the next 150 years with a year of new product innovation, community activities and events aimed at bringing families together over a biscuit. Later this year, we’ll be unveiling a new look Arnott’s pack, which we hope will have Aussies heading down the biscuit aisle for generations to come.”

Employing around 2,400 people in Australia, 99 per cent of Arnott’s Biscuits sold in the domestic market are made at one of three state-of-the-art Arnott’s bakeries: in Huntingwood, NSW, Virginia, Queensland, and Marleston, SA.

Arnott’s supports hundreds of businesses in Australia, each year spending around $250 million buying raw ingredients, including 85,000 tonnes of flour and grains from areas including the Darling Downs, Moree, Riverina, SA and WA; 18,500 tonnes of sugar from north Queensland; 4,100 tonnes of dairy products from Victoria and NSW; and 4,400 tonnes of canola oil sourced from canola crops from western/southern NSW and northern Victoria.

Arnott’s by numbers

  • 537 million packets of Arnott’s Biscuits are sold in Australia each year. A further 45 million are sold in New Zealand.
  • More than 95 million boxes of Shapes are eaten each year.
  • Tim Tam Original is Arnott’s most popular biscuit of all time: 669 million Tim Tam biscuits are devoured each year.
  • Arnott’s make 6.5 million tonnes of chocolate a year at the Marleston, SA site.
  • Arnott’s Biscuits can be found in 40 countries.
  • Arnott’s has employed more than 50,000 Aussies over the past 150 years.
  • The current longest-serving employee works at the Huntingwood Bakery and has been with the business for 45 years.

Risen from the ashes

Rescued from receivership two years ago, iconic Australian brand Rosella is celebrating its 120th anniversary.

Rosella originated in Melbourne and was established as a simple backyard operation in Carlton. In 1895, a group of businessmen bought the brand and founded The Rosella Preserving Company Ltd.

By 1930, Rosella boasted 100 varieties and was among the biggest food producers in Australia. Rosella products grew to include tomato sauce, chutney, canned spaghetti, pork and beans, soup, olives, olive oil and peanut butter. Today, Rosella produces canned soup, tomato sauce, chutneys, relishes and condiments.

In December 2012, Rosella, owned at the time by Gourmet Food Holdings and Waterwheel, went into receivership. It was rescued in April 2013 by Sabrands, a private family company also behind Sunraysia fruit juice.

Sabrands Executive Chairman Dan Presser said the company has been working on returning Rosella to its iconic status.

“We’re totally focused on the marketing side and the above-the-line advertising side to make Rosella relevant to consumers who perhaps became consumers in the past 20 years when Rosella was really unloved as a brand,” he toldRetail World.

One of the things Sabrands has been working on is the return of the iconic Rosella branding.

“Over the years, various owners moved away from what Australians perceive Rosella to be, by virtue of changing the packaging,” Mr Presser said. “The changes were so dramatic that Australians couldn’t find ‘their’ Rosella anymore. What we’ve been focusing on doing is bringing the heritage back to Rosella.”

Making Rosella relevant to the Australian consumer again is a key focus of the 120th anniversary.

“What we’re doing is making Rosella what consumers expect Rosella to be,” Mr Presser said. “I think if we can give that back to the brand as a birthday present, that would be a great outcome.”

Consumer promotions, including prize draws for consumers purchasing Rosella products, will be run in both independent and major retailers to resume interest in the brand. Consumers will also be encouraged to reminisce about their own experiences with the brand over the years.

“Everybody’s got a Rosella story that’s close to their heart and we want to hear about it,” Mr Presser said.

“It could be that their grandmother worked at Rosella way back when. Or they might have a photo of their family in front of the factory they used to work in during the 1960s. They can share these with us either on the website, social media, or they can send us a letter or a picture.”

To further emphasise Rosella’s heritage, Sabrands will unveil an original 1920 Model T Ford Rosella delivery van.

Mr Presser said it feels “absolutely fantastic” to be celebrating Rosella’s 120th anniversary.

“Two years ago everyone thought it wouldn’t make it, but circumstances have certainly changed,” he said. “We’re really excited to celebrate the 120th birthday as the guardian of the Rosella brand for future generations.”

Mr Presser said that if Sabrands is successful at making Rosella as appealing to consumers as it was 20 years ago, the next goal is to see Rosella as the primary Australian food brand in its categories.

“We’re just going to keep building the Rosella brand and, hopefully, there’ll be NPD along the way,” he said.

“We’ve actually expanded the soup range from one soup when we took over Rosella to five or six soups now. We’ll keep growing that, but we’re not in a rush. We’re just totally focused on what we’re doing in rebuilding the Rosella brand. Once we’ve got the Rosella brand strong and accepted and relevant, then we can do anything with it.”

Yoghurt brand celebrates half-century

Yoplait has always demonstrated its leadership position with an ongoing commitment to the consumer to always bring new announcements, innovation and communication, and ultimately strives to solve consumer needs. In 2015, Yoplait celebrates its 50th birthday with consumers globally.

Yoghurt is a very fragmented marketplace, with more than 100 SKUs of innovation presented to retailers every year. Considering these competitive dynamics, it’s a credit to the strength of the Yoplait brand that it holds the number one position in the Australian marketplace (Aztec QTR to 1/2/15, supplied by Lion).

In Australia, Yoplait is manufactured by Lion. Marketing Manager Yoplait Emily Spicer-Stuart said the yoghurt is manufactured out of Morwell in Gippsland, Victoria, and the business continues to invest in this manufacturing plant, bringing new formats and yoghurt styles to the market.

“Innovation has always been at the heart of the Yoplait brand, with consistent new news and product reformulations to ensure Yoplait delivers for our buyers,” she said.

“It’s not surprising that the three top drivers of the yoghurt category are taste, quality and trust – Yoplait over-indexes on all metrics.”

Emotively, Yoplait has ownership over ‘fun’ and ‘family enjoyment’ more than any other yoghurt brand, according to Ms Spicer-Stuart.

On-pack, the Yoplait ‘Y’ is a distinctive asset that helps consumers identify the product. Yoplait has the highest level of top-of-mind awareness, twice that of its nearest competitor (TNS Brand Health Feb 2015, supplied by Lion).

Ms Spicer-Stuart said it is exciting to see Yoplait’s birthday celebrated globally, with each country planning its own unique celebration that is aligned with its individual culture.

“The biggest challenge for Yoplait was to ensure our birthday celebrations were done in a consumer-focused and meaningful way,” she said.

“So many brands tell their buyers ‘Yeah, hooray, we are 20’ and the consumer is left thinking ‘So what?’ The Yoplait activation plans around the 50th birthday celebration are still top secret, but we are sure the Australian consumer will be elated to celebrate this special occasion with us.”

Ms Spicer-Stuart said the brand’s priority in the coming years is to maintain its leadership position in the marketplace and continue to deliver Australian consumers with “relevant, engaging and modern brand communication and innovation”.

“Even after 50 years Yoplait is still considered the most relevant brand in the marketplace, a position on the dais we are not going to let go of,” she said.

Turning up the heat

The Heat Beads brand was first trademarked 45 years ago and Heat Beads BBQ Briquettes have been manufactured in Victoria since its inception, using the same ‘wheel’ logo to this day. 

Heat Beads briquettes were first made by Willow Ware in 1970, using raw materials from Australian Char. When the Heat Beads operation outgrew the Willow Ware site in north Melbourne, Australian Char purchased the brand and began manufacturing in Morwell, Victoria in 1988. It remains a privately held business, made by Aussies, in Australia, for markets that honour ‘real barbecue’ all around the globe.

Australian Char Managing Director Nicole Brook said Heat Beads has been the market-leading brand of barbecue briquettes for more than 20 years.

“Our products drive the standard for the minimum quality consumers demand,” she said. “It delivers the ultimate in taste and flavour and allows new users to create barbecue success with a reliable and consistent product.”

Barbecue fuel is a niche category, so ensuring buyers understand the motivators for consumers in this space has been critical for the brand.

“As the market-leading brand in the barbecue fuel category, we need to make sure that everyone that barbecues over Heat Beads BBQ Briquettes has a positive and successful experience – the product must work as designed every time,” Ms Brook said.

“The solid fuel category is growing, as existing and new consumers get more passionate about the great taste that can be achieved when cooking over Heat Beads BBQ Briquettes.”

Ms Brook said Heat Beads will retain the iconic quality offer that leads the category by engaging with consumers about the benefits of live fire cooking, delivering product solutions, advice and service that supports a real barbecue culture of flame and smoke.

Forty years in the family

Felton Grimwade & Bosisto’s (FGB Natural Products) has a long and distinguished history in Australia tracing back to the ‘Gold Rush’ era of the 1800s. This year marks 40 years of ownership by the Abbott family. 

Beginning in 1867 with a partnership between pharmacist Frederick Grimwade and businessman Alfred Felton, the fledgling company Felton Grimwade & Co struck its own personal goldmine in 1874 when it began to sell Joseph Bosisto’s new range of medicinal products, including his much-lauded ‘Oil of Eucalyptus’.

The business survived for more than a century, aided by an amalgamation with Bickford & Sons in 1902, but was struggling in the 1970s.

In 1974, Peter Abbott – fresh from managing Drug Houses of Australia (DHA) and its rural branch – saw potential in the now ailing business and committed to save it from the proverbial scrap heap.

“Peter built the company ‘out of the ashes’ of DHA Australia, and in 1975 registered the name Felton Grimwade & Bickford for the new company,” FGB Natural Products Executive Director of Sales and Marketing Tegan Abbott said.

“He inherited brands including Bosisto’s Eucalyptus, Clements Tonic, Hypol and Kruse’s Fluid magnesia – iconic, heritage brands [Bosisto’s predates electricity in Australia], but brands which were doing almost nothing in the market.”

Since then the revival has been extraordinary.

“When Peter acquired the business in 1975 it was worth $1.8 million,” Ms Abbott said. “Last financial year, sales revenue reached $38 million. We’re Australia’s largest fully-integrated producer and manufacturer of essential oils in Australia, with the number one selling eucalyptus oil brand nationally.”

The major success story is FGB’s flagship brand, Bosisto’s, which has not only survived but led the essential oils category, with innovations such as PET packaging and aerosols. It now includes other oil variants (lavender and tea tree), a ‘solutions’ range, natural cough and cold products and a laundry range now sold in major retailers nationwide.

FGB Natural Products has relaunched the Bosisto’s Laundry range this year with a fresh new packaging design highlighting its dermatalogically tested ’sensitive skin friendly‘ claim. This is supported with Brandpower advertisements on free-to-air TV and other marketing activities.

“We’re also launching a new website this year [www.fgb.com.au], which will make it easier for customers to find natural solutions to their health needs,” Ms Abbott said.

In the next 10 years, Ms Abbott anticipates FGB Natural Products will continue to go from strength to strength, “with the spirit of a multinational and the heart and soul of a small Aussie family business”.

Twenty-one years of corporate trade success

Established in New York in 1984, Active International has driven the evolution from barter to corporate trade globally, and this year is a significant one for the company as it celebrates 21 years of its Australian operations. 

Active International has grown as a business, offering corporate trade opportunities across media, travel, freight and many other services to meet the demand. With an extensive client portfolio, including local and global brands across the FMCG, retail, and automotive categories, it trades with all media vendors and works with more than 80 per cent of the media agencies in Australia.

As a company with a global footprint that has been around for three decades, Active International has delivered extraordinary value to its clients and trading partners. In fact, Active has delivered close to $2 billion in economic/commercial value to its clients globally, placing more than $1.3 billion in media every year across 14 countries.

Active International Australia Managing Director Cameron Swan said Active has now matured in Australia, with tremendous experience on how to work with clients and offer the right solution.

“Our team of experts has the ability to offer the right solution with a compelling service that delivers measurable value,” he said.

“We have now witnessed the evolution of the old ‘barter’ to corporate trade on a global scale. Unlike the old barter that offered unsustainable solutions, today’s corporate trade offers realistic solutions that are commercially beneficial and deliver measurable results.

“Today we are leading the corporate trade industry and we are proud to remain the largest independent corporate trade company that purely focuses on trade in Australia.”

Mr Swan said the 21st anniversary of Active’s Australian operations is a time for the business to look at what has been achieved in the past two decades, acknowledge the amount of success it has brought to its clients and continue to build on that success and cement Active’s presence as the best in business.

“Since its conception in 1984, Active International has worked hard to establish a successful business offering trading solutions that create extra value for its clients,” he said.

“Globally, we have grown to more than 500 employees across 14 countries. We are confident today that our trading offerings deliver happy clients and partners. Our global footprint offers unparalleled opportunities to our clients.”

Mr Swan attributes Active’s success in Australia to its commitment to clients, keeping focus on delivering measurable results and creating commercial value.

“I am proud of our team in Australia and the unique approach in which we trade on behalf of our clients and media partners,” he said.

With Active International Australia now well established, its aim is to continue to educate clients and business partners on the benefits of corporate trade, share its successes and constantly prove that corporate trade is a smart way of doing business today for any company.

“On a global scale, we look forward to delivering measurable value to our clients and trading partners for the next 30 years and beyond,” Mr Swan said.

Active International’s business offerings:

  • Trade credit business model solves excess inventory issues while restoring the full value of their product.
  • The cross-purchase business model, on the other hand, offers first line stock solutions generating genuine incremental sales for any client who seeks guaranteed ROI.
  • Business savings model allows clients to use excess stock to cover business costs and generate incremental marketing budgets.

Two decades of creativity

Global point-of–purchase powerhouse Creative Instore Solutions was founded in 1995 and continues to blend creativity with structural engineering to conceive sustainable designs that drive sales.

Creative Instore Solutions (CIS) specialises in bespoke in-store activation, refrigerated and ambient displays for clients across multiple markets including, but not limited to, FMCG, retailers, technology and alcohol.

Its award-winning point-of-purchase display units have been placed in shopping malls, supermarkets, petrol station and convenience stores, pharmacies and other on- and off-premise locations in cities around the world.

The business’ global presence includes offices in Australia, Europe, the US and Asia, with manufacturing facilities in China. Having designed and developed display units that have been placed in more than 54 countries, CIS is continuing to investigate new geographical and vertical markets.

The international expansion of the company is propelled by Creative Instore Solutions Group CEO Deane Hubball, who oversees its global operations, drives new market growth and leverages his 20 years’ experience across FMCG to take the Creative Instore Solutions team to the next stage.

“CIS’ global expansion has stemmed from the fact that we delivers innovative products that work in a multitude of retail environments across the world,” he said.

“Brands and retailers are also realising the economies of scale that can be achieved by having a single design partner delivering to different markets, while maintaining the integrity of some of the most recognised brands.”

CIS’ core philosophy through the years has been to produce sustainable solutions that help clients drive sales through innovation, and this continues to be appropriate for the global POS market.

The most recent measure of its performance saw CIS continue the tradition of POPAI Award success at the 2014 Australian/New Zealand POPAI Awards. With an outstanding nine POPAI ’Indians‘ awarded across seven categories, CIS continue to be recognised as a leader in design and manufacture of iconic displays and activations by its peers.

Keeping ahead of the trend curve is imperative to adapting to the retail environment, especially globally. As shoppers demand a more digital purchasing experience, CIS has teamed up with a company at the forefront of customer engagement to ensure it keeps in line with consumer and brand requirements.

“Our partnership with Tapit Technologies provides brands with the opportunity to gather real-time feedback on their in-store engagement,” Mr Hubball said. “Tapit’s use of NFC technology represented the next wave of the in-store experience and CIS saw this as a significant step forward to enabling digital interaction, new or existing display units.”

Mr Hubball said CIS will continue to adapt where necessary on a global scale to remain relevant and ensure it continues to add value for its customers.

“Whether it be innovation in design, business strategies or retail optimisation, we will continue to drive thought leadership as a trusted business globally in point-of-sale activations,” He said.

Decade down under 

Global packaging design company Equator Design brought new creative opportunities to the Australian market in 2005 with the opening of its Sydney office. 

Equator Design Sydney has gone from strength to strength in the past 10 years. Many of the products it has worked on have been allotted ‘Product of the Year’ awards and the company also won a Silver Pentaward for Equator Beer in 2013.

“Creativity is at the heart of everything we do,” Equator Design Sydney Client Services Director Stephanie Potter said.

“We have a strong design team and our entire office is passionate about what we do. We are a full-service agency working with our clients from concept to shelf, tailoring our designs to meet every client’s individual needs. We have a strong relationship focus and have maintained the same clients for the 10 years.”

Ms Potter said sales over the past 18 months have increased by 75 per cent.

“Our studio, as a result, has grown and is continuing to grow year on year,” she said.

As part of a global business, Equator Design Sydney is able to keep on top of emerging trends.

“Packaging design is forever changing and, with local and global research at our fingertips, we are able to keep our finger on the pulse,” Ms Potter said. “We have always evolved with the growing industry and consumer tastes, which is why we have been so successful over the past 10 years.”

Equator Design Sydney is celebrating its 10-year milestone with a strong marketing focus showcasing its strong creative talents.

“We will be having a 10-year celebration party later in the year for all our current and potential clients and suppliers, but everyone is welcome,” Ms Potter said.

She said Equator Design Sydney will continue to grow its presence in Australia by delivering creative designs and building on new and current clients.

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