Vegemite is coming home to Australia after a deal which includes the iconic brand has been finalised by Bega Cheese.
Bega revealed on Thursday they were buying a big piece of Mondelez International’s operations in Australia and New Zealand. Mondelez International are an American owned multinational food and confectionary company who own many well known brands in Australia such as Kraft, Cadbury and (not for long) Vegemite.
“The wonderful heritage and values that Vegemite represents and its importance to Australian culture makes its combination with Bega Cheese truly exciting,” Bega’s Executive Chairman Barry Irvin said in a statement announcing the deal.
“In addition to Vegemite and the other brands being undeniably iconic, the people we are taking on are very impressive and will play an important role in growing the merged business,” he added.
For their part, Mondelez waved a fond farewell to one of its best known products.
“We’re extremely proud of our history as the custodian of the Vegemite brand for over 90 years, transforming it from its local roots into a global icon that’s synonymous with Australia,” Mondelez International’s Vice President Amanda Banfield said, according to News.com.au.
“It’s been a privilege stewarding this brand, which is found in almost every Australian household and is part of the fabric of the nation.”
Indeed, Vegemite is a true icon of Australia but what many people were unaware of was that the rich yeast extract spread was actually American owned. In fact it had been American for most of its life – since it was first spread by Cyril Percy Callister in Melbourne in 1922 after he’d mixed onion extracts, celery and salt with used yeast dumped by the nearby Carlton United Brewery – as part of Kraft, much of which became Mondelez in 2012.
Bega’s shares surged some 15% on the deal. It will be funding the deal through debt.