Our History

Our History

It all begins with one man’s vision

It all begins with one man’s vision

Henry Lewis was a fellow with a passion for travel and food.  

1945: Henry Lewis sets up the MasterFoods brand and registers the trademark on July 20.  

Henry launches MasterFoods to bring flavour to the table and help Aussies get more enjoyment in their lives through food.  

Henry begins importing foods like mustards, smoked salmon, cheese and anchovies.  

After the war many Europeans came to Australia. They brought their own traditional foods and many set up small factories. Henry helps them sell their produce.  

Henry helps to popularise these new ingredients and flavours he is importing among the wider Australian population.  

A Family Business Right From the Start

A Family Business Right From the Start

Henry’s son John works at MasterFoods from the beginning. He is soon joined in the family business by brothers Victor and David.  Henry travelled far and wide in search of new and exciting ingredients.  

Early 1950s: The Lewis family starts manufacturing. The very first MasterFoods product is Bread and Butter Cucumbers soon followed by Roll Mops, Paprika, Mint Jelly and Lemonaid.  

Late 1950s: The MasterFoods brand sets up one of the first Research & Development (R&D) departments in Australia.  

Early successes included a new process to keep mustard hotter for longer and shaker lids for herb and spice jars.   

1965: In just 20 years, the Lewis family has built a business with a reputation for innovation and quality. MasterFoods has become an established brand at the heart of kitchens all over Australia and New Zealand. 

A New Family Takes The Lead

A New Family Takes The Lead

Mid 1960s:  The Mars family is chosen from several interested parties to take over the brand built by the Lewis family. 

1966: The MasterFoods brand becomes part of Mars, Inc. one of the world’s leading food manufacturers.  The principles at the heart of Henry Lewis’s vision, remain at the heart of MasterFoods. 

The MasterFoods Brand Grows

1960s & 70s: New arrivals flock to Australia and New Zealand, many from South East Asia who bring new ingredients and flavours with them. MasterFoods uses these flavours to help shape the way Asian cuisine becomes part of the New Zealand diet.  

1976: The MasterFoods brand launch Asian-inspired sub-brand KAN TONG.  

1989: The MasterFoods brand launch Italian-inspired sub-brand ALORA which was later rebranded DOLMIOItalians had long been part of life in New Zealand. The MasterFoods brand introduce many families to Italian-style cooking at home for the very first time.   

1997: The MasterFoods brand launch squeezy bottle tomato and BBQ sauce.  

New Product Formats

New Product Formats

The MasterFoods brand saw how lifestyles were evolving. We decided to do something about it.  

More and more women were returning to work, cooking and eating habits were changing.  

We developed new formats, like pouches, pour on sauces and recipe bases. Our aim was simple. Help people eat more conveniently without compromising quality. 

let's make dinnertime matter

Taking time out of your busy day to connect with family or friends over dinner is proven way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Shared meals are also associated with better academic achievement among children.  

let's make dinnertime matter

This story is part of our series on Our Place