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Arnott's: Australia's Favourite Giant!

Arnott’s is one of Australia’s most beloved biscuit companies. But it is not just a company, it is way more than that. Arnott’s is Australia’s icon and a part of its history with a tradition stretching back to the end of the nineteenth century.

Do not let the title of the article fool you… When we say “Australia’s favourite giant” we are referring to Arnott’s and their role as the largest biscuit company in the Asia Pacific region. If you are a fan of the fantasy genre and were stoked to see if there were any actual giants in Australia, well… we apologize (although considering Australia’s wildlife… there might actually be some, who knows?). But if you are a fan of biscuits, well then… do we have a treat for you.

The company’s portfolio includes numerous famous brands such as: Tim Tam, Iced VoVo, Vita-Weat, Tiny Teddy, Shapes, SAO and Salada.

In today’s article, we will give you a quick overview of the company along with its history and the biography of its founder. After that, we will talk about the company’s products, and as always, we will end the article with a list of the most interesting facts we could find about the company.

A quick history and overview of the Arnott’s company

Although we will go into more detail about Arnott’s history later in the article, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a couple of introductory paragraphs about its history as part of our quick overview of the company.

The most important date in Arnott’s history is the year 1865. It was during this year that William Arnott, the founder of the company, opened up a small bakery on Hunter Street in the town of Newcastle, NSW, which is located north of Sydney. The bakery supplied the local population with a whole assortment of products, such as biscuits, pies and bread.

The locals of Newcastle, NSW, were not the only people who were supplied by William Arnott. The nineteenth century was a period of the industrial revolution, and many coal-powered ships were in use. These ships had to dock in Newcastle’s port for supplies, and their crews were often famished after long voyages. In order to prepare themselves for the long journey ahead, the sailors would buy biscuits and pastries from Arnott.

Of course, these sailors would bring these sweets to their friends and families, and soon, Arnott’s bakery soared in popularity. It became known across the country, and from these humble beginnings rose to become one of Australia’s favourite biscuits and most recognizable symbols.

These would be the most important aspects of the company’s history. We will, however, return to it afterwards to talk about the big man himself, the company’s founder, William Arnott. For now, we will continue with Arnott’s overview. We have mentioned that the company is a symbol of Australia. This is indeed true, as numerous generations of Australians have grown up with the biscuits over the past one hundred and fifty years.

Arnott’s is a company whose biscuits invoke that feeling of nostalgia in many people. Entire generations, both old and young, enjoy the sweet taste of the numerous biscuits that the company bakes, and reminisce about simpler times. No wonder then, that the company is held in such high regard amongst the population of Australia. Captivate the minds and hearts of your consumers, and the company stops being just that. It becomes an icon, an icon that is sure to be cherished by younger generations for years to come.

However (and I think you will agree with me on this one), a company cannot be considered a giant just because it is an icon to some people, right? It has to have some large numbers to back-up that statement. Well, as you will soon find out, Arnott’s does not fall short when it comes to large numbers.

We have briefly mentioned this earlies, but Arnott’s is one of the largest food companies in the Asia Pacific region, with an emphasis on “food companies”. Imagine, a company that primarily produces biscuits is considered to be one of the largest food producers in a region that is home to hundreds of millions of people? That alone should give you an indication of just how large Arnott’s is.

And in spite of this, the company still aims to become the number one food company in the region, with goals to expand to other regions as well. Another reason why so many people love Arnott’s is that it has provided fifty-thousand families with jobs and career opportunities. Currently, there are two-thousand and four-hundred Australians working at Arnott’s, with solid wages and on-time pay-checks.

But Arnott’s helps the local economy in more ways than just that. They source locally and distribute globally. The company spends an annual amount of two-hundred and fifty million dollars on products from local farmers and suppliers. This is where those “large numbers” come into play, as they annually purchase eighty-five thousand tonnes of flour and grains, twenty-four thousand tonnes of sugar, two thousand tonnes of dairy and five thousand tonnes of canola oil, all from Australia.

To conclude our opening statement that Arnott’s is a biscuit industry giant, the company is also the proud owner of the most advanced, high-tech, fully automated biscuit packaging line at Virginia Bakery, which is also one of the largest robotic factories in the world. The company invested forty million dollars into this state-of-the-art facility, and it was worth every penny.

But how did the company achieve such great success? Who was the mastermind behind its inception? Well, read-on to find out more about the company’s legendary founder, William Arnott. After that, we will talk more about the company’s biscuits and products and conclude the article with an interesting trivia.

The biography of the man who founded Arnott’s: William Arnott

Extraordinary feats that stand the test of time are achieved by great and charismatic men and women. William Arnott was such a man, who remained stoic in the face of adversity and loss and carried on until he built a name for himself and his family. We have already mentioned the fact that Arnott’s is a company held in high regards by the people of Australia. William Arnott is one of the reasons why.

The earlier periods of William’s life were met with misfortune after misfortune, as you will soon find out. William Arnott was born on 6 December 1827 at Pathhead, Scotland. That is right, William Arnott was not a born Australian, rather, he moved to the Down Under with his family in 1848. Ever since he was a boy, he was groomed to be a baker and a confectioner. This education would prove vital in the later years to come.

William Arnott had a brother, who was also a baker, and the two worked in Maitland until 1851 when they went their separate ways. William went on to participate in the Turon River diggings. What he lacked in mining skills, he made up for with his baking. His biscuits were very successful, so he soon decided to move back Maitland. As fate would have it, he was not destined to succeed in that place.

The town of Maitland experienced constant floods which flooded his bakery and home on several occasions. Due to this, he was unable to continue his business. The problem was that he was owing a large sum of money to creditors. To make matters worse, his wife unexpectedly passed away.

Most men would break in situations such as these. He was on the verge of going bankrupt and he had lost his spouse. But William Arnott was not just any man. He loaned money from his long-time friends and decided to move to Newcastle, in one final gambit to restore his life. This decision proved to be a success, as he was able to repay every penny he had ever borrowed in just twelve short months.

Fortunately, he was not entirely alone. He soon feel in love again and married a woman by the name of Margaret Maclean, and he also had two sons from his first marriage. He partnered up with his sons, and the trio were very successful in running the family business. Arnott’s biscuits became very prominent during this time, as the port of Newcastle turned out to be a great source of new customers.

Droves of sailors would dock in Newcastle, and almost all of them would buy supplies from Arnott’s. As we have already mentioned, these sailors spread these sweets across Australia’s, and soon enough, Arnott was hard-pressed to meet the ever-increasing demands for his biscuits.

William Arnott continued to lead his business up until the year 1899, when he retired and moved to Strathfield near Sydney. He would pass away two years later, on 22 July 1901, leaving his company in the capable hands of his sons James Haydon Leslie and Samuel Sinclair.

William Arnott left a large legacy behind, and he would continue to be remembered as a capable, stoic, lovable and kindly man, and the father to Australia’s most beloved biscuits.

Arnott's biscuits - the loveable Tim Tams!

Although Arnott’s is most famous for its biscuits (and rightfully so), the company does bake and make other types of snacks as well. But since we are a biscuit magazine, we have decided to focus on the Arnott’s iconic biscuit range, and we have chosen one specific brand and its variations – the Tim Tams!

We have already written an article on the Tim Tams, which you can check out here, so we will not go into too much detail. We will give you a brief overview of the Tim Tam range and its nutritional values.

The Tim Tam is a crème biscuit sandwich coated in Tim Tam chocolate. It is the go-to biscuit treat for many Australians, and it comes in different flavours and types. It was not developed by William Arnott, but rather, a man named Ian Norris. He developed the crème formula in 1958, but it took six more years before the Tim Tames were ready for distribution.

The Tim Tam debuted in three available flavours and it was an instant hit! These flavours were: the biscuit, crème and chocolate. To give you an image of just how successful the Tim Tam is, only two percent of Australians have never heard of it and fifty percent of households have Tim Tam products. Impressive!

There are four distinct Tim Tam variants which are: The Tim Slams, the Tim Tam Classic,  the Arnott Bites and Tim Tam Family Value. The Tim Tam Slams are especially made for slamming (dunking), so naturally, they go-along well with a cold beverage, such as milk for instance. They come in four different flavours, and these are: Vanilla and Chewy Choc, Dark Chocolate and Raspberry, Choc Malt and Caramel and Choc Hazelnut and Caramel.

Next up are the classic versions of Tim Tam, simply called Tim Tam Classic. You cannot go wrong with these biscuits, and they come in even more flavours than the Tim Tam Slams. These are: the Original, the Tim Tam Dark, the Tim Tam White, Chewy Caramel, the Tim Tam Double Coat, Gelato Messina Choc Mint and the Gelato Messina Honeycomb.

Arnott’s Bites are a combination of Tim Tam biscuits with a smooth crème centre smothered in Tim Tam Chocolate. They sound similar to the Tim Tam Classic, but they come in smaller, bite-sized portions, making them the ideal office biscuits. They are available in three different flavours, which are: Mint Slice, Caramel Crowns and the classic Tim Tam.

As the name suggests, Family Value Tim Tam packs are great for family occasions; there is not much to tell about them besides that, though. There are two variants of family packs, which are: the Tim Tam Dark Family Pack and the Tim Tam Original Family Pack.

A concluding word and an interesting trivia about Arnott’s

To conclude, Arnott’s truly is a biscuit industry giant, with impressive numbers to back that statement up. But it was only possible due to one man’s great vision, a philanthropic man with a caring personality who carried on even when times were tough. Thanks to him, Australia now has one of the best biscuits in the world, which they can proudly call their national icon.

We hope you have learned a lot about Australia’s most iconic biscuit brand. But before you leave, we would like to present you with a list of the most interesting facts we could find about Arnott’s biscuits. Enjoy!

  1. Arnott’s uses only the best-quality ingredients. Ever since their inception in the nineteenth century, the Arnott business has used only the finest ingredients in the production of their biscuits. It was this dedication to perfection that led to the popularisation of the company. Many of these ingredient are sourced locally, which brings us to our next fact…

  2. All of Arnott’s ingredients are sourced locally. Arnott can proudly boast about using ingredients which are exclusively harvested from farms in Australia and New Zealand. In this way, they are helping out local farmers and entrepreneurs who wish to make a profit by selling their produce, and they also ensure the quality of the products. A win-win situation!

  3. The inventor of the Tim Tam crème, Ian Norris, never revealed the secret formula. That is right, he never revealed the formula to anyone, not even to his family or close relatives, and he had seven grandchildren. Talk about keeping a secret!

  4. The founder of Arnott’s, Australia’s premiere biscuit company, was not a born Australian. He was actually a born Scotsman, however, he emigrated to the country with his family, and with their help and the help of his friends, created a legacy that lasts up to this day.

  5. A single Arnott’s bakery is capable of producing a number of biscuits that weighs the same as the steel work for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Can you even imagine the sheer amount of biscuits that is? We hope you do not need any more convincing of just how large a company Arnott’s is.

  6. The majority of Arnott’s products do not use any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. In a world where more and more people wish to know what they are eating, it is a good thing to know that there are companies which do not use any enhancers prevalent in so many other brands.

William Arnott, the company’s founder, was a religious man and a philanthropist. He was a long-standing Christian, and together with his five endeavoured in philanthropic work. This comes as no surprise, as those who are met with misfortune often share the pain of others and wish to ease their burdens. William Arnott was such a person.


Leading image: Lenscap Photography/Shutterstock.com

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