Bite Size: Gone But Nut Forgotten

In Brittania Foods NZ Ltd, ETA Chicken Chips, ETA Foods, Fonterra, Four Square Supermarkets, Griffin’s, Peanut Butter, Snack Foods on January 21, 2012 at 10.46

Here’s the third instalment of the Four Square Stores promotional snap set that was an issue sometime between 1979 and 1981 (there were two other sets I know of that I have now pinpointed to being produced in the early 1960s).
I have previously posted on this item here, and here, and here on ETA Chicken Chips so many of us remember from the 197os and 80s:

I am still working my way through restoring this set digitally (they are quite damaged) and will post them in separate families of four until I get through them all. The set is missing one card from the Savlon family, “Miss Savlon”, but I’ll deal with that when I get there.

This ETA logo was registered in 1935 by Griffin’s to market “condiments, including mustard; nuts, including peanuts and almonds; confections containing nuts; and other nut products, including nut paste and nut butter”.

It seems that at some point in the 1960s – likely 1962 – ETA opened proper operations in NZ; or Griffin’s, which the brand was licensed to , opened a manufacturing facility (this seems to coincide with the Australian ETA factory in Sunshine , Melbourne being demolished in 1962 and new factories also opening that year in Baybrook , VIC and Marrickville, NSW – ergo signalling a large Australasian restructuring of the company).

This ETA peanut butter jar was found recently on a historic farm site in the South Coast NSW I was surveying, and probably dates from the late 1930s, definitely no later than 1950.

I’ve positively identified packing boxes for ETA chips in an early Woolworths NZ store in 1964. ETA actually began in 1923 – a small family company in Australia producing mustard, fruit syrup, compotes and jams. I already knew the brand was established much earlier in Australia as I have found ETA jars going back to the 1930s on historic sites  so it’s likely products were exported to New Zealand up until the time the domestic factory launched. However the ETA brand had been registered in New Zealand by Griffin’s (primarily famous for their biscuits) from 1935 onwards to market.

This point-of-sale cardboard poster would have been from a dairy late 1970s-early 1980s and is courtesy of Mike Davidson (Kiwigame on Flickr) and edited by me to bring it back closer to original form.

ETA was another one of those brands like Sanitarium, Frosty Boy, Woolworths, and many more – which although started off or remained as the same company – more or less separated their trans-Tasman concerns early on and from there developed fairly independently.
ETA seems to have remained under Griffin’s wing until recently when Brittania Foods NZ Ltd, an Indian-based company which entered into a dairy concern partnership with Fonterra starting in 2001, acquired the brand. However according to the official site the product is still being manufactured by Griffin’s to date, probably under a licensing deal.

  1. Today, while working on our property I found the same ETA jar photographed above. The area I was working in is a known Navy base from WW2 near Townsville.

  2. Yeah, since then a couple of those jars have come up on Ebay with labels, and I also discovered the site wasn’t abandoned until 1958 so I’ve realised the jar was probably dated a bit later – say some time in the 1950s.

  3. I found an old ETA jar yesterday near Port Arthur, Tasmania and am trying to identify the era/ product. It is the same as the one in front in this image: http://antiquebottlescollectibles.com/resources/ETA%20THREE.JPG

    Any ideas?

    • Hi Teresa, well I have to say I’ve never seen one of these before. It can’t be older than the 1930s. I’d say, since it’s brown glass, probably the 1940s? They used brown glass a lot more because of war restrictions and rationing. You will see brown Agee jars and the like around, and they are from that period. But the round shape and colour remind me of the old Marmite and Bovril jars. I wonder if they tried to get on on that popular market and did some kind of yeast spread product like that at one time? ETA had a history page up on their website but they removed it and haven’t responded to my questions on why they did that, or my request for a copy of the text for research purposes. Amazingly a lot of big companies are usually pretty good at interacting with their customers and answering enquiries. I’ve dealt with Cadbury, Bell, Tip-Top and Hellaby’s and they have all been great. No points for ETA there. Do you know anything of the C20th history of the land where you found it? Cheers

  4. Thanks – yeah, I wondered if it might be an old marmite jar too. It is very small – about 2 oz I think and has a tin lid.

    I found it in the bush near a car park at the Port Arthur Convict site in Tassie. It is a very popular tourist destination which people have been visiting since at least the 1920s. I’m guessing that some visitors had a bush picnic and discarded the jar!

  5. That is probably what happened. If you come across an archaeological site that also happens to be in an old recreational area it can be confusing because people used to just throw their picnic stuff in the bushes when they were done.

  6. Hi, I found a very tiny amber Eta jar in my backyard during a pool dig. It is flat across the back and very squat – measuring only 4cm at its widest point and 3cm from base to the lip. Any ideas what it would be used for? Location is Brisbane and our house was built in the early 30s if that helps at all?


    • Without seeing it, it’s hard to say. ETA marketed Old English Mustard in Australia, in a small squarish bottle that was produced in brown glass. However they had a wide range of products over the years, with some products that may surprise people. Brown generally signifies WWII era through to the 1950s as shortage of compounds that created clear glass, particularly Manganese, meant most products had to be produced in make-do packaging.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: