Dairy and juice producers
Est 1886. Brownes is the largest buyer of farmgate milk in Western Australia, collecting and processing approximately 40% of the state's milk production. The business operates two manufacturing plants in Balcatta (Perth) and Brunswick and has WA's most extensive chilled distribution network. In 2011 Australian private equity firm Archer Capital acquired Brownes, and sold it to a Chinese consortium led by dairy manufacturer Shanghai Milkground Food Tech in 2017.


Owned CHN
Rating C
About the Ratings

Company Ownership

Brownes Foods Operations Pty Ltd
Shanghai Milkground Food Tech Co Ltd
owns 100% of Brownes Foods Operations Pty Ltd
Dairy, mining and manufacturing
Founded 1988. Primarily involved in dairy, the company is also engaged in mining and manufacturing in China. Acquired WA's Brownes Dairy from Australian private equity firm Archer Capital in Nov 2017. China Mengniu Dairy increased its stake to 23.8% in Dec 2020.
China Mengniu Dairy Company Ltd
owns 24% of Shanghai Milkground Food Tech Co Ltd
One of China's largest dairy product manufacturers. Operates 38 production bases in China and one in New Zealand. Major shareholders include Chinese state-owned COFCO, and European dairy giant Arla. Danone sold its 10% stake in 2021. Became a player in Australia's dairy industry after acquiring Burra Foods in 2016 and Bellamy's Organic in 2019.

Company Assessment

Brownes Foods Operations Pty Ltd
This company received a packaging performance level of 4 (Leading) in its 2024 APCO Annual Report. Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not-for-profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia. Each year, APCO Members are required to submit an APCO Annual Report and Action Plan, which includes an overall performance level from 1 (Getting Started) to 5 (Beyond Best Practice).
Source: APCO (2024)
In 2014 this company was fined $100,000 by the Bunbury Magistrates Court over a major milk spill from its Brunswick processing facility into a nearby waterway in November 2011. 140,000 litres of milk spilt from a silo resulting in fish deaths and creek water not being able to be used for 4 weeks. The company spent $387,000 on cleaning up and admitted not conducting recommended maintenance checks.
Source: ABC (2014)
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) will scrutinise very carefully new contracts being issued by this company to their milk suppliers. The new contracts carry penalties for undersupplying milk. This is 12 months after the company refused to renew 4 supplier contracts due to oversupply and some farmers claimed that they were intimidated.
Source: ABC (2017)
This company was one of five major dairy processors that agreed to amend its milk supply agreements after The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found them to be unfair. The ACCC said it had raised concerns with some processors about lengthy notice periods for farmers to terminate their contracts, one-sided termination rights, broad indemnities, and terms that restrict a farmer's ability to lease a farm or sell their cattle.
Source: ACCC (2018)
In 2021 this company paid penalties totalling $22,200 after the ACCC issued it with two infringement notices for allegedly failing to comply with the Dairy Code of Conduct last year. The Dairy Code requires most dairy processors to publish on their websites, on 1 June each year, standard form milk supply agreements to cover all the circumstances in which they intend to purchase milk in the coming financial year on their websites. This allows farmers to compare processors' minimum prices and contract terms. Brownes Dairy published two supply agreements in 2020 that were allegedly non-compliant with the Code.
Source: ACCC (2021)
The WorldStar Competition is one of the major events of the World Packaging Organisation (WPO) and is the pre-eminent global award in packaging. This company won WorldStar Global Packaging Awards in 2023 and 2021 for its renewable milk cartons.
Shanghai Milkground Food Tech Co Ltd
This company is 23.8% owned by China Mengniu Dairy, who have a Shop Ethical rating of 'F'.

Company Details

Wholly-owned subsidiary
280 (2017)

Contact Details

22 Geddes St, Balcatta, WA, 6021, Australia
1800 675 484

Products / Brands

Brownes Yoghurt
Brownes Juice & Fruit Drinks
Brownes Milk
Brownes Flavoured Milk
Chill Flavoured Milk