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Nothing Tastes As Good As Home Grown – Rosella Since 1895

I’ve only ever had one tomato sauce in my house. Rosella Tomato Sauce. I have Rosella in my house because that’s what my Mum has always had in her’s. It’s what I grew up with. It’s not that I have tomato sauce on every meal but when I do have sauce, I want it to be rich and savoury, not sugary and insipid like those foreign interlopers. A few years back when I heard that Rosella was in trouble and shutting down, I did a panic buy of tomato sauce to make sure I had enduring supply for some time to come. Unbeknownst to me, my Mum did the same thing and also bought a few extra bottles for me. My Mum is very serious about her tomato sauce. At her wedding, she had a jug of it piped in to the wedding table by a bagpiper. Quite the statement in 1960’s wedding etiquette. So you can imagine how happy I was when Rosella didn’t shut down and how thrilled I was when I had the opportunity to talk with the man who ensured I had a regular supply of sauce (and tomato soup) for years to come.

Rosella logo

Dan Presser tells me he’s just a regular person that does the things that normal people do. Going to work, spending time with family and enjoying travel. Then how has this normal person been able to revitalise a much loved Australian company and transform it into an Aussie owned and operated business that uses 100% Australian ingredients? At the end of my interview is a chance to win a Rosella prize pack.

Dan, thanks for talking with me. The purchase of Rosella  – what were the motivating factors behind this?
Rosella started in 1895, making jams and fruit preserves in a back yard. They began making tomato sauce in 1889. I remember visiting my grandmother in Auchenflower and recall a wood stove and my grandmother serving Rosella sauce, chutneys and soups to us. I grew up with Rosella. It’s part of my childhood as it has been for many Australians. In 1994 Unilever put it up for sale where it went through a series of sales to other businesses and a private equity firm. Rosella had been pretty much unloved as a business for several years so when it came back on the market I approached my team about whether we should buy it. They said ‘go for it’ so I did. We bought Rosella two years ago in March and have never looked back.’

Rosella at the Show

And what have been the biggest challenges?
‘There’s been no massive challenges really and there’s been incremental positive movement. Everyone’s working towards the same goal of resurrecting an iconic Australian brand and securing a place in Australia’s heart. We’re in the phase of courting the public and trying to bridge the 20 year generation gap where the brand lost visibility. Brand recognition is incredibly high at 90% for prompted recognition. We need to engage an entire generation that we lost touch with and remind others that we’re still making great products.

Alan Johnston (famous amongst other things for the C’Mon Aussie C’Mon ads) came out of retirement to help the business by doing the new Rosella ad (watch it here). He said ‘What can I do to help?’. We’ve also had pretty good support from Coles, Woolworths and IGA as consumers want the product which means it’s easy for them (the supermarkets) to stock and sell.’

courtesy BRW

courtesy BRW

When Australians hear the word ‘Rosella’, what do you want them to think?
Purity of food, best tasting, best quality, provenance. Provenance is important – we know where the product comes from and what’s in it. We don’t use pastes or powders in our products but fresh ingredients. We talk about cheeses from France and the farmers who produce olive oil in Italy. Why not be proud of what we grow here in Australia? There’s no reason why Rosella can’t be the flagship brand that Australians are proud to promote and call their own.

Next time you pick up a bottle of tomato sauce, give Rosella a go. See if it’s not the best you’ve ever tasted. Just think for a moment about the number of people you are helping by supporting this Australian brand; farmers, truck drivers, processors, factory workers, administrative staff. It’s a big reason to give the local brand a go and it’s no more expensive than the imports.’

Are there any future plans for Rosella that you can share?
‘This year is the 120th Anniversary for Rosella so we’ll be doing some special promotions later in the year. These are still under wraps but keep a look out. One thing we want to do is get the public involved by sharing Rosella treasures. The company has been going a long time so we’re keen to see and use some older memorabilia that people may have tucked away such as old factory or staff photos, old bills of sale or ephemera as well as information about former staff social or sporting clubs. If they have anything like this, they should contact Rosella via our contact form on the website or email us at enquiries@rosellagroup.com.au’

Rosella Fart Friendly

I’m running a competition for readers about a favourite sauce or soup memory or story. Do you have one you’d like to share?
‘I was in LA recently and visited a woman who is the mother of a boy I grew up with in Brisbane. She’s 92 now and she told me ‘I remember when I was a little girl, my dad used to paint the signs for Rosella on the shop windows in Brisbane.’ I thought that was a great story and really showed how many people have memories about Rosella.’


So there you have it, the story of an Aussie brand that fell on hard times but has been brought back from the brink through dedication, hard work and bloody good tomato sauce. Rosella doesn’t just make sauce of course. Their tomato soup is also the only tinned soup we have in our house and they make a range of other chutneys and relishes. They also make an excellent minced ginger which can be handy when you’re in a rush. Visit the website or follow Rosella on social media to learn about upcoming events and activities.


WIN! Bring the Taste of Rosella Home – THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

The winner is Shannan for her hilarious story about a sauce packet that was not going to give up its content easily and the ensuing red carpet massacre. Congratulations Shannan.

I’ve told you about my stockpiling of sauce and my Mum having sauce piped into her wedding. What’s your favourite sauce or soup memory (Rosella or other)? By sharing it, you have a chance to win* a Rosella prize pack and taste the good stuff! The prize pack includes

  • Rosella Tomato Sauce 600ml glass bottle
  • Rosella Tomato Chutney 250g
  • Rosella Corn Relish 250g
  • Rosella Sweet Mustard Pickles 250g
  • Rosella Fruit Chutney 250g

To win this great prize:
1. Follow TIFFIN via email subscription (up on the right)
2. Share your favourite memory or story about any sauce or soup (Rosella or other) in the comments section

Now, it’s over to you…

TIFFIN was not requested nor paid to write this story. Rather, TIFFIN asked to share Rosella’s story so more people would know about this great Aussie brand. Prize provided by AC Agency on behalf of Rosella.


  1. This competition is a game of skill
  2. The winner will be judged by TIFFIN and her decision will be final!
  3. *Entry is only open to Australian residents. Non Australian residents are still welcome to leave a comment!
  4. To qualify for the prize, entrants must have a confirmed subscription to TIFFIN and have left a story or memory in TIFFIN comments
  5. Competition is open between 6pm Tuesday 24 February 2014 and 6pm Tuesday 10 March 2014
  6. Winner will be notified via email and announced on TIFFIN platforms
  7. Prize will be posted to the winner by AC Agency. Please allow time for processing and posting.
27 comments… add one
  • carly February 24, 2015, 9:34 pm

    well my best memory was making sauce from scratch with my mum and it was one of the first things that we made together in the kitchen. My worst memory was trying to recreate that same recipe years later, by myself and not having a recipe to go by….

    • Fiona Ryan February 24, 2015, 9:39 pm

      ha ha! Practice makes perfect huh? That’s a great memory. Good luck!

  • Lizzy (Good Things) February 25, 2015, 8:00 am

    Great interview, Fiona. Rosella has been on my shelves for a long, long time too!

  • Elizabeth February 25, 2015, 8:56 am

    Hi Fiona, I don’t need to enter the competition, but I just wanted to say… great job and great post! Rosella tomato sauce is the only sauce we have in out house too (generally) and I do remember my nana saying that when she ran out of chutney that rosella Tomato chutney was the only thing that she would buy. I also remember my Pop one day coming out and saying that the Rosella sweet mustard pickle was ALMOST as good as nana’s… lucky he said ALMOST 🙂 It is a fantastic Aussie brand that needs to be preserved. In light of the recent berry scare, I think more people are going to be aware of where there food comes from! FINALLY! Thanks for sharing! Liz xx

    • Fiona Ryan February 25, 2015, 4:47 pm

      Thanks Liz. Lucky Pop had the good sense to temper his words. Such a fantastic brand indeed. Please share with others who may be interested in reading or winning the prize. cheers

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 25, 2015, 2:06 pm

    Great interview Fiona 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 25, 2015, 4:55 pm

      Thanks Tandy. You should pick some up the next time you visit your sister in Oz!

  • Jan Rhoades February 25, 2015, 4:47 pm

    Great post fiona. Wonderful to have Rosella back in our Aussie family. Yes, that sauce in a jug (Rosella of course) at my wedding was a loooong time ago now. I love Rosella tomato soup and used always to used it in your younger brother’s favourite dish…Jan’s version of macaroni cheese.. Not a big fave with the next brother down though.

    • Fiona Ryan February 25, 2015, 4:57 pm

      Thanks. It was very exciting to speak with Dan (I think he was a little more excited then me). As far as I’m concerned, that’s the real version of macaroni cheese. That other bland cheesy stuff is ‘meh’.

  • Heather Smith February 25, 2015, 6:06 pm

    Hey this was a really interesting insight Fiona into an Australian business. I can not ever recall trying Rosella – I actually thought it was a British company – sorry. I will definitely go out and try it now. So my Rosella story is I heard somewhere you could grow rosellas, and make jam with them – because they come with their own pectin. I bought 30 tiny plants from the shops and planted them – about 8 weeks later – I had a massive 1.5 metre over whelming growth of rosellas everywhere. Yes very surprised by how big and far they grew. I spent hours making Rosella jam – it turned out quite liquidy – soupy if you like. It was very easy and yummy. But you got tiny little spikes in your hand from peeling the rosellas. As I was jarring up all the pots of rosella jam – I got a phone call to tell me – quite unexpectedly my dad’s best friend had died of a heart attack. So every little tub – was a reminder of Gordon – Gordon’s rosella jam. That was many years ago – I should try again sometime.

    • Fiona Ryan February 25, 2015, 7:24 pm

      I’m glad I could set you straight Heather. Lovely story about Gordon’s jam. I find rosella jam is very liquid too but I do like it. Great as a baste on pork roast or chops. Thanks for joining in.

  • Kari @ bite-sized thoughts February 26, 2015, 5:29 am

    Rosella was our favourite brand in Australia too 🙂 I’m sorry it isn’t available over here in England!

    • Fiona Ryan February 28, 2015, 3:43 pm

      You’ll have to get some when you visit or have one of your friends visit you. Thanks for stopping by Kari.

  • Heather Smith February 27, 2015, 9:30 am

    Well I bought 2 tins of Rosella tomato soup (my first ever) at Woolworths Morningside – it was hard to find – and I could not find any of the other products. Will keep looking 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 28, 2015, 3:42 pm

      Well done Heather. I will let Rosella know that you found it hard to find their product. I’m sure they would want to know.

  • Shannan February 27, 2015, 9:55 am

    My grandmother lived on an adjoining property during my childhood and we would often make the trek through the paddocks to have lunch or dinner at Nans. Everything was served with tomato sauce and to this day we joke about having some food with our sauce. Fast forward 30 years and I’m sitting in a hotel room in Central Qld on a work trip wrestling with a complimentary squeeze-on sauce (because I can’t eat a cooked brekkie without sauce!). The squeeze-on finally splits open and sprays sauce all over the quilt cover, wall and the full-length of the white curtains. The coverage was so broad I thought the hotel would never believe how it happened so I threw on my work heels (with my pjs) and walked across the carpark to drag the receptionist over for a look. The receptionist was very sceptical. We drove past the hotel later in the day and all the curtains were hanging over the fence drying. I’ve haven’t been able to use a squeeze-on since! Back to today and I’m off to the shops to stock up on sauce – Rosella of course!

    • Fiona Ryan February 28, 2015, 3:41 pm

      Well that is a story. Sounds like a scene from Psycho. Habits and family are funny aren’t they. Who’d have thought you are now imprinted with tomato sauce on hot breakfasts for the rest of your life. Good luck.

  • Mary Pilgrim Lynch February 27, 2015, 11:28 pm

    I just want to say I found your Rosella Story very interesting .

    I went to look in my fridge and found a nearly empty bottle of Rosella Tomato Sauce,
    so off to the shops tomorrow to buy another one.;-))

    • Fiona Ryan February 28, 2015, 3:45 pm

      Well done Mary. That’s what I like to hear. Thanks for reading the interview and leaving a comment.

  • sherry from sherrys pickings March 5, 2015, 1:56 pm

    a soup story … mmm let’s see. I have the fondest memories of tomato soup; not sure what brand mum bough,t though I do remember she bought Rosella tomato sauce. i loved the picture of the bird on the label. To me tomato soup meant home and comfort. Mum would throw in little croutons to make it go further, as she had to feed 4 kids on a very tight budget. She would get one of the girls to stir the soup as it heated up. Mum’s secret was to make it with half milk and half water, to give it a touch of luxury:)

    • Fiona Ryan March 8, 2015, 5:03 pm

      Oh yes, the idea of using some milk in the soup was very luxurious. Tomato soups means comfort to me too. Good luck Sherry.

  • natalia charry March 10, 2015, 10:12 am

    Hmm a pheasant soup that is meant to be drank for breakfast: CHANGUA. Is a milk based savory soup topped with egg and toast or old bread, flavored with spring onion and coriander…

    I havent had one in years! and just remember I got all the ingredients in my kitchen! 🙂

    Thanks Fiona for forcing me to remember my childhood dishes! 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan March 10, 2015, 9:14 pm

      Well you were obviosuly inspired Natalia as I see this afternoon you whipped one up. A taste of Colombia. Good luck!

      • natalia charry March 13, 2015, 10:11 pm

        Absolutely awesome… I almost cried (and im though cookie) because i have forgotten how this simple dish makes me feel at home. Happy bday mi amiga! I hope you get spoiled!

  • Rocco February 22, 2016, 10:34 pm

    Hi I’m looking for an old TV commercial of Rosella Tomato Sauce, that was produced in the 1980’s in Victoria. A real Rosella bird was used in the commercial. By memory there were more than one commercial made. I have looked high a low for these ads but have had no success. If anyone has them or can help would be great!

    • Fiona Ryan February 23, 2016, 9:42 am

      Hi Rocco – perhaps a reader can help otherwise I’d suggest contacting Rosella on their freecall number: 1800 667 765 and asking for their marketing or customer relations area. Thanks for taking the time to visit and leave a comment.

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