Taking Traditional Aussie Tucker to the World
In 1966, Peter and Annie Rijs bought a small cake shop named Patties in Lakes Entrance, Victoria. Wanting to offer their customers more than just sweet treats, they introduced freshly baked bread rolls and delicious hot pies to the menu. Thanks to their famous pies, pastries and party food, the Patties Foods business continued to grow, and by the mid-1980’s had become a household name.
They later acquired iconic brands like Four’N Twenty, Herbert Adams and Nanna’s. Their values of courage, integrity, ownership, and trust encompass what it means to be a Patties person and reflect their origins as a family-owned company and the success of the overall growing business.
Patties has become a fixture of Australian culture, especially through Four’N Twenty pies – the original fan food that is a fixture at sporting games around the country and now, with their partnership with the Philadelphia 76ers, overseas as well.
“Patties Foods has invested heavily in our brand from a product and a communications and media perspective, including gathering consumer insights to develop products that resonate with consumers, and creating meaningful, engaging awareness campaigns,” said Anand Surujpal Patties Foods General Manager of Marketing and Innovation.
Their brands have been around for a long time, Herbert Adams is over 100 years old, and as such, they’ve been enjoyed by generations of families and created their own legacy. As an iconic Australian brand, it is important that they support Australian farmers and suppliers where possible.
This is why they have a long-standing relationship with Manildra Group, which supplies Australian grown and made flour, semolina and sugar.
“Australians have strong sentimental and nostalgic attachments to our products, which makes them perennially popular and in demand. The most important qualities that customers look for in Patties’ products are taste and flavour, consistency and quality ingredients (Australian sourced where possible).
“Whether it’s fond childhood memories or ongoing family traditions, these positive associations with Patties products mean that we are consistently growing in the market because the demand is always there,” says Mr Surujpal.
Snacking is definitely a macro trend the business has seen emerging as lifestyles change and people move towards eating smaller meals more often rather than the traditional three.
There’s also been a major shift towards a demand for plant-based options, with vegetarian and vegan diets becoming more common in Australia.
Mr Surujpal has used this to drive the direction of new products, saying, “as always, consumers want high-quality products with good ingredients, and ‘real food’ even if it’s frozen or fast – premium products are always in demand.”
There is still plenty of local potential for growth, but what’s really exciting is the growth in international markets. Patties Foods are focused particularly on the US and Japan at the moment, where positive perceptions of Australia and its high-quality products means that there are huge growth avenues for them.
In the US, their Four’N Twenty Traveller is the focus, leveraging the brand’s relationship with the Philadelphia 76ers and ambassador Ben Simmons.
While in Japan, they are bringing out a range of traditional Four’N Twenty Meat pies, which they expect will resonate strongly with consumers there.
Their Ruffie Rustic Foods range launched in October 2018 and is disrupting the supermarket chiller category by offering handcrafted quiches and frittatas that give you the taste and experience of a home-cooked meal. Their recipes are developed by chefs, and the products are a celebration of seasonal ingredients, rustic goodness and mouth-watering flavour.
In 2020 the Ruffie Rustic Foods range has expanded into the frozen ready meals category. The new range of products offer a range of wholesome and delicious ready meals and even caters to those following a plant-based diet.
In 2019 Patties Foods acquired Simplot’s facility at Pakenham, Victoria, a move that aims to boost the brand’s production capability and enable its expansion into new areas such as pasta products and ready meals.
Patties Foods Bairnsdale bakery will continue to operate as a specialist site for savoury baked goods, while the Pakenham site will also be tasked with sweet options as part of the fruit production line. The acquisition includes the land, building and equipment at the site with operations commencing in March 2019.
Also, as part of this acquisition, Patties Foods has secured a multi-year contract to manufacture Leggo’s pasta products.
Over the past 12-months Patties Foods experienced significant growth for the entire frozen savoury category, according to CEO Paul Hitchcock.
“As the world’s largest savoury pie maker, we are experiencing consistent increasing demand for our products in Australia and abroad.”
“The greater capacity and resources we now have has us placed in a strong position as we continue to grow our manufacturing sites and product offerings,” said Mr. Hitchcock.
Manildra Group Managing Director John Honan acknowledged the innovation and quality at the heart of Patties vision, and success in becoming a global leader in the creation of irresistible comfort foods.
“It’s great to work with a passionate partner like Patties Foods – who bring people together through a common love of delicious food that please the crowd, whatever the occasion,” Mr Honan said.