Our Story

Conga Foods is one of Australia’s leading private, family-owned companies in the grocery industry.

The story is a rich one of authenticity and passion which started with the Valmorbida family taking over a small continental goods store on in Carlton, Melbourne named Frank Agostino, selling continental goods to Melbourne’s growing Italian population.

Like so many other migrant stories of Australia, the family brought with them an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong connection to their culture and heritage; in particular a passion for authentic and crafted foods that remains at the core of the Conga Foods business today.

So for 70 years, our family have been searching the globe for the finest foods and bringing back the best new flavours for Australians to discover and share. It’s in our heritage to be passionate about food, family and friends.

Our customers, staff and partners are our family and we take great pride in building genuine relationships that last a lifetime.

We stand behind our portfolio of fine international products and strong brands and such as Moro, Sole Mare, Val Verde, Green Valley, Saclà, Zanetti, Latteria Soresina, Squeaky Gate and dc Specialty Coffee Roasters; found in many Australian households.

We distribute through all retail channels, wholesale and industrial, nationally around Australia. Our brands can be seen on the shelves of the biggest supermarkets all the way down to the small corner delicatessen. Our Head Office is located in Melbourne, Victoria, and we have offices and warehouses in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.

At Conga, we believe that life is ultimately about two things; good food and good people. Fortunately for us, both of these fit around a table.

  • 1925-31

    Fulvio Valmorbida travels from Valli del Pasubio in northern Italy to Australia, working tobacco fields in the Ovens Valley, north-east Victoria. After being joined by his wife and son, Fulvio acquires a 200 acre farm at Myrtleford Victoria with a small house and drying kilns for tobacco.

    Ovens Valley, Victoria circa 1926-27

  • 1931-49

    Fulvio and his family return to Italy and with a keen mind for business coupled with some small profits from the farming in Australia, Fulvio builds a business of two grocery shops and a small farm. During this period the family grows to eight and survives through the difficulties of World War 2.

    Fulvio & Agnese Valmorbida and family; a young Saverio pictured second from the right

  • 1950-55

    Fulvio’s eldest son, Carlo, returns to Australia and begins work in a small continental grocery store in Carlton, Melbourne named Frank Agostino, which sells European foods such as chick peas and lentils. The rest of the family returns to Australia four months after Carlo and by 1951 the family (Fulvio and the eldest three sons) purchases the business for 15,000 sterling.

    An early Agostino truck

  • 1955-64

    In 1955 Saverio buys his father’s share of Frank Agostino and business as four brothers begins. Expanding their retail footprint, including the now famous King & Godfree in Lygon Street Melbourne, the brothers also form two new businesses, Jarvis and Macquarie. Jarvis focuses on food import while Macquarie focuses on tuna fishing for its sole brand, Sirena Tuna, pioneering the concept of tuna in olive oil.

    Saverio working behind shop counter at Frank Agostino

  • 1964

    The brothers eventually incorporate a wholesale company known as Conga. Often talked about as standing for Continental Grocery Association, the origin of the name Conga actually came from the coal–fired heater around which some grocery store owners gathered to discuss the group buying of imported goods.

    Conga Trading Co. at its second premises in Nicholson Street, North Carlton

  • 1964-74

    A decade of successful expansion with brands like Salvo and Coppa D’oro oils, Sasso olive oil, Locatelli cheeses, Jarlsberg cheese, Sirena tuna, Bisleri Ferro- China drinks, La Gina tomatoes and Saclà sauces and antipasti. In 1965, Conga begins operating in Adelaide.

    In 1968, Macquarie pioneers bottling mineral water (from Daylseford Victoria) under the Bisleri label and in 1970 creates the now famous Deep Spring brand.

    A Conga truck complete with livery of Sirena Tuna, Bisleri Ferro-China and Sasso Olive Oil

  • 1974-94

    After his brothers leave the business, strong growth under the leadership of Saverio continues, with the addition of brands like Lavazza coffee, Bialetti coffee makers, Green Valley olives, Zanetti and Soresina cheeses, Santamaria sardines, Ceriotti rice, Paluani Italian cakes and the growth of Moro olive oil and Lavazza coffee. During this period, Conga also expands strongly into Sydney and Brisbane.

    In 1984, Conga head office moved to Bell Street, Preston

  • 1994-2000

    Saverio embarks on a new era of renewal and rebuilding as the sole owner of Conga Foods. In addition to old favourites like Moro, Salvo and Green Valley, Conga Foods also launches Val Verde tomato products, Kimbo coffee and Sole Mare canned fish.

  • 2000-10

    In 2002, seeing a growing market for locally roasted boutique coffee, the family launches a new company Caffe Ducale, later rebranded as dc Specialty Coffee Roasters. Conga Foods continues to grow, retaining much-loved brands while providing new food experiences with products such as prosciutto and Dutch cheeses. This decade represents an important phase of growth with Moro and Val Verde becoming market leaders and commonplace in Australian pantries.

  • 2010-2019

    Under the next generation of leadership of David, Marc and Bianca, innovation becomes the new priority. In 2015 the family teams up with other Australian family businesses to launch Squeaky Gate Australian Olive Oil, while Moro receives its first major brand overhaul in 25 years. In addition to premium brand launches such as Cirio and Rummo, Conga Foods increases focus on specialty cheeses, cured meats, cheese accompaniments and in 2018 launches the world-leading Rana brand of filled pasta. The family also launches a new sister company in 2015, Pakval, providing specialised warehousing and distribution services to other entrepreneurial, Australian companies.

  • 2020-Present

    2020 represents a new decade with new horizons and new opportunities. For Conga Foods it is also a time of reflection marking 70 year milestone of our family and business beginnings in Australia. To celebrate, the company logo had a modernisation, but more importantly the Philanthropic agenda takes centre stage with the announcement of a partnership with Feed Appeal’s Rural Grant program supported via the company’s Squeaky Gate Growers Co. Olive Oil brand providing much needed and direct funding and awareness and community engagement with the organisation’s agenda.


Click on the different years to view.