Bega Cheese is buying Lion Dairy and Drinks, the company behind Masters milk and Big M, from Japanese alcohol giant Kirin, returning the iconic brands to Australian ownership. The $534 million deal adds a raft of other brands to Bega Cheese including Farmer's Union. Supplied by Kirin.
Bega Cheese is buying Lion Dairy and Drinks, the company behind Masters milk and Big M, from Japanese alcohol giant Kirin, returning the iconic brands to Australian ownership. The $534 million deal adds a raft of other brands to Bega Cheese including Farmer's Union. Supplied by Kirin.

$500m Dairy Farmer deal to have ‘powerful’ impact on Toowoomba

Dairy Farmers Toowoomba franchise owner Jamie Biggar has spent over a decade with the company and has gone through six major changes in management in that time.

But one major change, coming into play on Australia Day, is one he believes will have the greatest impact on his customers.

The renowned regional dairy brand, Dairy Farmers, will become 100 per cent Australian owned for the first time in over a decade in a few short days thanks to Bega Cheese who has purchased the company.

Dairy Farmers, which encapsulates brands like Dare, Yoplait, and Daily Juice, was previously owned by Japanese-owned company Lion Dairy and Drinks.

Mr Biggar said this change was one of the most significant in the company’s recent history, describing the move as “extremely powerful”.

“Dairy Farmers has been a very good company for the fact that the products they use in Queensland are predominantly sourced in Queensland so even though it’s overseas owned, they’re Australian produced products,” Mr Biggar said.

“This is just a further feather in the cap being Australian owned, Australian produced, and owned by the Australian farmers so it’s a very powerful sales tool.”

The $500m deal was kickstarted at the end of last year, with the confirmation and changeover happening a lot sooner than what the employees anticipated.

Mr Biggar said the impact of this change on customers would be profound.

“I think customers will be more relaxed about picking products that they know and have trusted for years,” he said.

“The Dairy Farmers brand has been around for a very long time and people have always trusted it but that extra bit of knowledge that it is going to be Australian owned and the dollars stay in Australia, I think it’ll make people a bit more relaxed about choosing that product.”

Mr Biggar said the global pandemic, with it’s far-reaching impacts on farmers and business owners, had made locals more aware of where their money goes as more people make conscious decisions to buy local.

He said it was comforting to know the franchise would still support farmers and producers around the Downs.

“The pandemic has really brought home how good Australian produce is and how much we should be supporting Australian products,” he said.

“As a global community, from the past 12 months, we’ve now become very concentrating on our own backyard so this has without a doubt been the most positive change I’ve seen so far.”

The changeover will commence on January 26.

Originally published as $500m Dairy Farmer deal to have ‘powerful’ impact on Toowoomba


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