Q&A with five:am founder, David Prior

Founded in 2011, organic yoghurt brand five:am was recently purchased by PZ Cussons Australia and New Zealand for  £44.1 million.

Part of the international consumer products group, PZ Cussons Plc, the domestic business also recently acquired baby food brand Rafferty’s Garden.

"I’m delighted that five:am has chosen a great home for the future,” founder David Prior said. “The cultural fit with PZ Cussons was apparent immediately and I’m sure the business will flourish under its ownership.”

Prior, who took a few minutes out of his schedule to tell us about his work, will remain involved in the company once the sale is completed.

David Prior

Company name:
five:am organics

Managing director

What are your primary roles and responsibilities in your job?
Financial, customer relationship, managing banks, revenue and profit growth, direction of the five:am brand, development of a strong HR team

What training/education did you need for your job?
There is a lot of on the job training. Most of my experience prior to five:am was through my family businesses. I developed a strong work ethic by working from the age of 7 for my dad. Formal education – I completed my MBA at the university of Melbourne. 

What is the one thing that you are most proud of in your professional life?
Building the five:am business from scratch to market in 12 months. This included the establishment of the plant, recipes, package design, distribution and marketing strategies, as well as putting together a team of passionate, qualified individuals.

Biggest daily challenge?
Being content with the fact that I’m not surfing.

Biggest challenge in the food manufacturing industry at the moment?
Eroding margins through a lack of innovation/differentiation.

What makes Australia’s food and beverage manufacturing industry stand out from that of other markets? 
Cleanliness of our environment, the security of our food supply chain, strength and diligence of our regulatory bodies such as the ACO (Australian Certified Organic).

Can you detail the growth that five:am has experienced since its launch in 2011? What do you attribute it to?
Turnover for FY12  was $7 million; it was $22 million for FY13; and it reached $35 million in FY14. I put this down to our great tasting quality products, achieving and maintaining an accessible price point, the ongoing support of major supermarkets and our loyal consumers. 

How will the recent sale of five:am to PZ Cussons affect the business?
PZ Cussons was chosen as the best new home for five:am due to alignment of values. They are a perfect match and will be able to respect the five:am brand and maximise opportunities here and overseas.

What will the next 12 months involve for five:am?
Greater penetration into Asia, innovation for our local market, greater engagement with our local consumers.

29 thoughts on “Q&A with five:am founder, David Prior

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