Every year, in collaboration with market research firm IBISWorld, we gather all of the latest company data to reveal a ranking by revenue of Australia's heaviest hitters in food and beverage to create our Australia's Top 100 Food & Drink Companies report.
This report, sponsored by Foodmach, lists companies according to their most recently reported revenues in an easy-to-read format, and in this special edition, we'll also reveal the shuffling of the ranks of Australia's top ten companies, the best performing industry sectors, and the companies that rocketed up the list on rising revenues.
Australia’s food and beverage manufacturing sector is the largest in the country. It accounts for more than a quarter of all manufacturing and has been the leading sector since 2012. But it is a volatile space as some on this list can attest.
According to IBISWorld, the top 100 food and beverage companies in Australia collectively generate in excess of $108 billion in revenue (up from $104 billion in 2017-2018) and employ more than 130,000 Australians.
There was little movement at the top, with Fonterra holding the top spot. This was despite a NZ$605 million financial loss and what CEO Miles Hurrell called an “incredibly tough” year.
George Weston Foods (#11) and Goodman Fielder (#12) were ousted from the top 10 to make way for Carlton & United Breweries, which jumped into the top 10 at #8, from #14 last year, and Saputo’s stratospheric rise from #34 to #9. Its $1 billion takeover of Murray Goulburn and Warrnambool Cheese & Butter making it the largest dairy processor in Australia helped.
Acquisitions helped some move up the list or entered the top 100 for the first time. Turosi, Kinrise and Australasian Foods all joined the list after a series of acquisitions.
The fastest movers on the list include Saputo, Kinrise, Australasian Foods, Almondco Australia, the a2 Milk Company and Freedom Foods Group.
The report shows poultry processors performed strongly, with an average growth of 6.24 per cent. Golden Cockerel and Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm were two notable performers, growing at 10.18 per cent and 6.86 per cent respectively. Ingham’s held it #7 spot from 2018.
Other agricultural-focused industries also performed well. For example, increasing demand for Australian dairy products in overseas markets, particularly Asia, boosted revenue for both the butter and dairy product manufacturing and the milk and cream processing industries.
The a2 Milk Company moved five places to #26 with a 160.7 per cent revenue growth in the US, 73.6 per cent in China and a 46.9 per cent increase in sales overall.
Many operators in the meat processing sector also posted strong results over the year. While varied trading conditions across regions led to some sluggish results, the sector was bullish overall.
Thomas Foods (#21) and Midfield Meat International (#37) were strong performers, posting annual revenue growth of 22.0 per cent and 24.6 per cent respectively.
Per capita alcohol consumption is declining but demand for premium products such as spirits are rising. This boosted revenue for Brown-Forman Australia, which saw significant sales growth in its Gentleman Jack and Woodford Reserve ranges and Beam Global, owner of Jim Beam and Suntory Whisky.
The worst performer on the list this year was Lion. This is partly explained by a 15-month comparative reporting period in 2017. Its dairy and drinks segment was impacted by the drought, declining alcohol consumption and increased competition from smaller craft brewers. These factors also saw revenue decline for Australia’s largest brewer, Carlton & United Breweries.
Bellamy’s Organic also saw a sharp drop in revenue in 2019 due to several factors, the most prominent being the $18.2 million of lost sales in China, largely due to its inability to obtain SAMR approval. A lower birth rate in China, changing regulations and increased competition also impacted sales.
Extreme weather conditions impacted meat processors in 2019. Queensland-based AACo saw a fall in production from 77 million kilograms 2018 to 68.9 million this year. This was largely the result of flooding of the Gulf of Carpentaria in February, which resulted in the loss of 43,000 head of cattle.
Western Australia-based WAMMCO International recorded a nearly 13 per cent decline, with low annual rainfall impacting production.
Welcome to our Top 100 Food & Drink Companies 2019 report, where you'll find the nation's food and beverage heavyweights listed in order of their most recently reported revenue.
TOP 100: The Top Ten companies and how they fared>>
TOP 100: The fastest movers of 2019>>
TOP 100: The stellar sectors>>
TOP 100: Arrivals and departures>>
TOP 100: The biggest losers of 2019>>
Editorial by Food & Drink Business. All data sourced from IBISWorld.