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Innovative dairy processors made their mark in this year's annual Top 100 Australian Food & Drink Companies report, developed in collaboration with IBISWorld.

Milk and cream processors performed well thanks to strong sales of infant formula in Australia and China, and strong growth in higher-margin milk products, according to IBISWorld senior industry analyst Bao Vuong.

A2 Milk, for example, saw a 56 per cent revenue increase from 2016 to 2017, and its position in the Top 100 rose from 59 to 44 accordingly. Helping things along, the company also acquired an 8.2 per cent ownership in Synlait, a New Zealand dairy processing company.

The Top 100's top ranking company Fonterra saw its revenue grow from $17.5 billion in 2016 to $19.5 billion in 2017, partly due to maximising earnings by moving more volume into higher-value products.

One of last year's fast movers, Freedom Foods, saw strong growth again this year. In July, the company announced the signing of a partnership with Shenzen JiaLiLe Food Co. Ltd to establish Australia's Own Dairy Company China (AO China), a new company in which Freedom Foods Group has a 10 per cent stake.

Despite a 10 per cent decline in revenue and a 20 per cent fall in employees, however, Murray Goulburn still managed to boost its ranking from seventh to sixth this year.

MORE COVERAGE:
Australia's Top 100 Food & Drink Companies 2017
The top 10 companies in focus
This year's fastest movers
Australia's 2017 Top 100: The big trends
Beef sector does it tough

See the full 2017 Top 100 report>>

Editorial by Food & Drink Business. All data sourced from IBISWorld.