About Us

Steric was founded in 1964 by Sydney businessmen Graham Steel and Brian Rich. The pair came up with the Steric company name by combining the first three letters of each of their surnames. Almost immediately, another Sydney businessmen, William (Bill) Brownie, took over Steel’s share of the company.

For its first four years, the business operated out of small, leased factories in Sydney – first in Kogarah, then Carlton, in the St. George area of Sydney. As with any new company, over those early years, Rich and Brownie worked tirelessly to keep their company afloat. But Steric soon found its stride.

Over the decade from 1964 to 1974, William Brownie and Brian Rich built the business into a leading name in commercial food manufacturing in Australia. Upon Rich’s retirement in 1974, Brownie took full ownership of Steric.

FIRST BRANDED PRODUCT LAUNCHED

In 1965, Steric launched its very first branded product – High Qual Cooking salt. While this was a major milestone for the young company, the real breakthrough came when Steric was awarded a contract to pack fresh dates for Woolworths. Having no staff at the time and with the volume of the Woolworths contract much larger than anticipated, Brownie relied on his wife, Nancy, for assistance. Nancy was a schoolteacher by day and quickly became an expert date packer by night!

In those early years, Steric wasn’t only manufacturing food products. In fact, alongside its food products, Steric had an interesting array of varied products, from motor oil to birdseed, and even washing detergent.

In 1968, Steric purchased its first building in Fairfield East, Sydney. This building became the company’s headquarters. Today, more than 50 years later, the building now houses Steric’s product development laboratory.

OPERATIONS EXPANSION

As the business continued to grow through its second decade, it expanded operations beyond Sydney and NSW. Setting up new sites interstate, Steric opened a birdseed manufacturing plant in South Australia, a plant in Queensland that manufactured detergents, and started producing cordials and dry goods in Melbourne. The remainder of Steric’s manufacturing and product development remained in Sydney.

While diversifying was key for elevating Steric to a national level, Brownie’s long-term goal was to focus solely on food products. This stemmed from his formative years when at the age of 16 he commenced a cadetship with Campbell’s Soup Company. After completing his cadetship, Brownie gained a degree in food science and became a food technologist. His goal was to supply flavours and tastes that all Australians could enjoy.

 

PIONEERING GENERIC GROCERY BRANDS

The breakthrough for Steric came with the introduction of generic grocery brands to the Australian retail market. Steric was one of the early and most prominent suppliers of generic brands to leading Australian supermarkets. While major food manufactures shunned generic brands and instead focused on their owned brands, Steric embraced generic brands.

Steric’s early generic brand success came with the No Frills brand for Franklins and No Name brand for Jewel Food Stores. With the market quickly acknowledging the power of generic supermarket brands, it didn’t take long before Steric was manufacturing a wide range of generic brand food products and supplying them to all the leading supermarket chains nation-wide as their own branded product.

Today, Steric is still 100 per cent an Australian-owned family business and is still Australia’s leading producer of generic brands of food products. And the business has also diversified into many new product categories, as was the wish of William (Bill) Brownie all those years ago.