Half of the major milk brands sold in Australia are owned by overseas

WHEN you pick up a bottle of cheap milk, the chances are the profits are being sent overseas — because they are certainly not going into the pockets of Australian farmers.
Half of the major milk brands are owned by overseas companies, sending profits to Italy, France and Japan.


Woolworths’ own milk, as well as Pauls and Farmhouse Gold, is supplied by Italian company Parmalat, which is owned by France’s Lactalis.

Dairy Farmers and Dairy Choice are both supplied by Lion, which is owned by Japanese company Kirin.

A2 Milk is publicly listed, which means it is owned by a variety of Australian and international shareholders.

Of the rest, Coles milk in NSW comes from farmer cooperatives Murray Goulburn and Norco. Norco sells its own milk, while Farmers Own is from farmers who made their own deal with Woolworths.
Where does your brand of milk come from?

Coles has also launched a new milk brand, which will be on sale soon and deliver an extra 20c from each litre to help farmers.

“$1 milk is the lowest common denominator, far less than we ever thought and now it’s a base price consumers expect rather than a temporary market solution to get people in the door,” NSW Farmers’ dairy chair Robert McIntosh said. “When a bottle of water costs more than milk you know something is wrong.”

Norco, the nation’s oldest Australian-owned dairy cooperative, has also struck a deal with Coles to supply the Coles brand of milk in northern NSW, which has enabled Norco to pay an extra 3.5c a litre to farmers.

“Farmers have done it hard for a long time and the only way to be sustainable is to create enough profit remunerations. We are paying the highest farm gate prices to our farmers in Australia,” Norco CEO Brett Kelly said.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has committed to hosting a symposium of dairy industry representatives, including farmers, processors and retailers, after the election to discuss industry-led proposals to strengthen the national dairy industry.

“If the supermarkets don’t come to the table it will force me to find other places to sell product to. They say I won’t but there is heaps of interest from China,” Mr Joyce said.

He also recently announced the Coalition would provide support, including $555 million in concessional loans for dairy farmers.
Dairy farmers such as Taree’s Murray Polson say something needs to be done.

When his great-great grandfather first started dairying, he milked about 30 cows, there were no industry regulations and milk was delivered by boat.

Fast-forward four generations and, while they no longer transport milk by boat, Murray and his wife Jane are struggling to stay afloat.

“Our industry is operating on a knife edge, these cuts and the $1 milk price wars are the worst crisis our industry has faced,” Mrs Polson said.

The Polsons supply Australia’s largest processor, Murray Goulburn, which last month slashed its milk price to about 35c per litre, well below the cost of production.
Not all farmers get paid the same and it depends on who they supply but it costs farmers about 45c a litre to produce milk.

And they are expecting further cuts later this month when the new “farm gate” price is set.

“Farmers are already on the brink of leaving their farms over the $1 milk price war, now we’ve been hit with the price cuts — who knows what will happen,” Mrs Polson said.

“The supermarkets need to put their money where their mouth is and, when they say support Aussie farmers, they need to actually support us and increase the $1 milk to make it sustainable.’’


39 Comments Add yours

  1. Wayne Rowre says:

    Yes well when milk coming from Japan or costs less than milk coming from Australia what do you think is going to happen…..how the hell can it happen anyway?…………………..doesn’t make any sense.


    1. Bryan Polson says:


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wendy Heath says:

        it’s not coming from Japan it is milk from Australia owned by a foreign company and profits going there.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Chris says:

      Surely all the milk is produced and manufactured in Australia. Who cares which company owns it


      1. You should care who owns it. We all need to stop buying products when the profits are sent overseas. And we need to stop selling of our assets to overseas investors


      2. Taya says:

        The reason people are angry, Chris, is that despite doing much of the work, our farmers get a pittance, the companies pay sold all tax, and profits then go offshore. When you consider how incredibly little our own government is doing to help, I can fully understand why farmers are angry


    3. Lynne smith says:

      I really good point, I would far rather buy Australian products but can’t understand why local products cost more. Something dreadfully wrong here


      1. Marg says:

        We have high wages here. Foreign governments pay their farmers subidies which allow them to sell cheaper. CEO salaries and bonuses need to be scrutinized and clawed back where Murray Goulburn and Fontera are concerned. should be charged with fraud. Really too late to stop buying from overseas owned companies. But WHY isn’t our super money being used to keep our land and companies locally owned?


      2. Julie Allen says:

        It goes like this, Mr. Wong wants to corner your market, so he undersells his product to run the local guy, Frank the Farmer, out of business knowing full well that when Frank the Farmer has gone out of business, then Mr. Wong can hike his prices up to what ever he likes. A litre of Milk in a French supermarket costs usually 89 -90 centimes ($1.30) however, the average wage in France is 9000 Euros per annum ($13 000), so if we based the cost of a commodity like milk (a staple) in comparison to the average wage in Australia, it should cost around $2.50 for a litre of milk, this is actually quite reasonable considering people will spend $50 per kilo on Chocolate or $40 for 25 cigarettes both of which are horrendously bad for you compared to milk. On a side note, it is terrifying to think that the coalition will offer $555 Million (an unusual figure to come up with) in loans, one would surmise that they will foreclose illegally on those loans at a later date (as they are doing with farmers now) and run the farming sector completely out of business. AND then you will have no choice but to buy foreign everything.


      3. Neil says:

        Bit late closing the gate after the cows have bolted. Most if not all Australian food producers are foriegn owned.


    4. Roger says:

      The flags in the photo represent ownership, not where the milk itself comes from. All of this milk is Australian produced, but some of the companies that bottle it are foreign owned.


  2. Lea Ladyraven says:

    It’s disgusting that we do not look after our own first. The way things are going Australia will be a land of NO HOPE and poverty. Come on people buy Australia only products.


  3. Stuart says:

    All overseas products should have a levy that can be used to allow the diffence to be pay a higher pricing to farmers .


  4. Phillip says:

    Wayne and Stuart, all the above brands of milk are produced in Australia. The article is saying that the companies that own some of the milk factories are owned by foreign companies, so beware of which brand you buy.


  5. Eminpee says:

    Skip the lot of them and just go with the A2 because its the only one that has the correct protein for human consumption and its Australian

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anna says:

      Hi Eminpee
      TV show ‘The Checkout’ debunked the A2 protein ‘myth’ in one of their shows last season. It’s a big marketing ploy and not entirely factual

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Eminpee says:

        I will follow that up. Thank you for highlighting this for me. I would not be surprized. I find the same with overpriced Mannuka Honey. I have proven first hand that even crap honey works on burns and stubborn sores brilliantly (magically even). So yes. Once again thank you .


      2. Eminpee says:

        The CHECKOUT is in a back log of defamation cases. I can only tell you it works for me, my partner, my son and many friends who also speak of the benefits stomach wise. Have you tried it? The statements made by the ABC are misleading or deceptive in contravention of section 18 of the Competition and Consumer Act”. Checkout is the same mob as The Chasers.


  6. Ted Meredith says:

    Bring back tariff to protect farmers & Australian jobs, As this Nation needs to keep all farmers on the land they do a great job feeding this Nation & we need them. These Greedy Politicians with their great pension & Supermarkets ripoffs all they care about is their greedy big profits. Politicians don’t care about selling farm land to foreign ownership they call it investment, I call it a take over & we the people better wake up to what is going on, Ted

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mel thomas says:

    Ok so which one do we buy to support Australian farmers seems like its a no win situation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chris says:

      All buy from Aussie farmers and manufacture in Australia.
      This is about ownership. It is all “Australian made”.


  8. Jill Limmer says:

    Never really thought about who owned what milk before, I just go with the one that isn’t jam packed full of sugar! Cows eat grass, NOT sugar!!


  9. Craig says:

    Murray Goulbourn also screwed the farmers over with a price drop and then made it retrospective to last July. Before people start knocking foriegn ownership of milk companies, the should look at what the local owned processor did to their own farmers. Its all Australian made, and farmers are paid at the farm gate. Some companies pay more than others. Anybody bought an Australian made car recently? Not many I bet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Roger says:

      Murray Goulbourn is farmer controlled. Are you saying the farmers screwed themselves?


  10. Roger says:

    You’ve forgotten to mention Devondale milk. Yes, they have a fresh variety of their milk as well as the long life. Devondale is owned by Murray Goulbourn and is therefore Australian owned, too.

    In Queensland we also have Maleny Milk. Also Australian owned.

    Totally respect this article, though, as many people are completely unaware that Pauls and Dairy Farmers are both foreign owned.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. robnmlb says:

    Murray Goulburn is now a public company. The board is facing legal action in the Supreme Court for misleading share holders.


  12. Phil says:

    the problem is not to do with ownership, it’s to do with the price the companies pay the farmers. screw the farmers down and sell at $1 per litre and still make a profit. the public are at fault buying milk from coles and woollies whom are screwing the farmers so they can make large profits


  13. M. Bois says:

    It seems to me that A2 is the only milk to buy if we want to support Australian farmers and so I will!
    Would love to buy the beautiful creamy Maleny milk but it is not available in Victoria!


  14. Jessica says:

    I’m surprised Aussie Farmers Direct milk isn’t featured. It’s 100% Australian produced and owned. The best bit is that it’s delivered to your house, just like the old days!


  15. doreen brett says:

    maybe we let the unions run us to much, going out for more and more money the more we got the more they got. its why we have nothing made in Australia. its why the car companys have gone….why should they pay 20 times more a day to just one worker wwhen they can get things done same for half the price we have killed our selves I think


  16. TB says:

    Maleny Dairies milk (not shown here)…..DEFINITELY Australian owned.


  17. Joseph says:

    I can only assume that everyone here demanding that people buy only products from Australian owned companies will be ok with citizens of other nations boycotting Australian products. Australia is quite the predator in other countries markets so what’s good for the goose…


  18. Bev says:

    Maleany Dairy and Norco all the way. Tastiest by far


  19. I buy local Baffle dairy fresh. Producers are only an hour and a half away. Best milk since I left my own dairy farm


  20. Eugenia Kasapi says:

    I came to Australia when milk was given to school children .
    It is appalling now 56 years later our hard
    24/7 working farmers are so devastated by the hardship caused mainly by the dianamics. In the industry
    Who ever is responsible for the foreigners became able to sell their product in Australia why ????
    What were the agreements made and who was responsible as per authority
    To allow that.
    The struggle of Australian had commenced becoming deeper after the foreign suppliers
    I don’t believe matters that have deep rooted in economy can be changed that takes strong governing and we unfortunately don’t have that
    At least go back to a point of ability to create a law that allow our farmers to enjoy the fruits of their hard labour
    Because of elections promises are made but not kept thus we don’t have a caring strong ruling government we have people who are greedy for power
    Of course I’ll do my best to always have at the table AUSTRALIA PRODUCED AND AUSTRALIAN OWNED MILK
    somehow it will take every Australian to do the same to make a difference
    Until authorities Take action

    in the industry

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Peter Young says:

    For the last 3 years i have been supporting Norco Milk as it supports our country and our dairy farmers, our family has 1 person working being my wife as i can no longer work due to medical conditions and get no centrelink benefits, and other family member still going to school. but we are more than happy to pay the $3.50 for Norco Milk. Unless more australians support australian owned milk from australian owned dairy farmers we will be importing milk from other countries and we will be paying $3to over $10 a litre with uht milk probably sent as it could be weeks or months by ship. Wake Up Australia before its to late.


  22. Will be changing to an Australian brand.


  23. Greg says:

    If I wasn’t so cynical, I’d sort of believe that the government and the supermarket duopoly are trying to get rid of our dairy farmers so they can import cheap crappy milk and by-products from overseas. Perhaps I’m not so cynical after all.


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