New CEO for Melrose Group

Nathan Cheong has worked in the complementary medicine industry for more than 20 years. He joins Melrose Group as CEO in September 2021. (Source: Melrose Group)

Australian health food company Melrose Group has appointed a new CEO to lead Melrose Health and Orchard Wellbeing Foods.

Nathan Cheong has worked in the complementary medicine industry for more than 20 years, most recently as CEO of LifeSpace Group. He is a degree qualified naturopath and medical herbalist and has worked for Vita Life Sciences, Blackmores BioCeuticals, and Designs for Health (USA).

“I am thrilled to move to this new chapter of my career as CEO for two iconic Australian brands like Melrose and Nu-Lax. These brands have the ability to extend into numerous growth categories and I feel there is so much opportunity within the supplement and functional food space to improve the health outcomes of all through innovation, research and education,” Cheong said.

Melrose Group executive director Angus Douglass said Cheong’s deep understanding of the industry and science led innovation will be key to driving the company’s growth plans.

“No one is better placed than Nathan to understand the needs of our consumers and capitalise on our unique brand heritage and manufacturing platform,” Douglass said.

Melrose Group is a wholly Australian owned company and comprises Melrose Health, established in 1979 and Orchard Manufacturing (Nu-Lax brand), established in 1937.

Cheong said: “I’m truly excited about the strong and established presence in Australia with continued potential for growth in international markets.

“The board shares my charitable aspirations and the importance of organisations leaving a legacy beyond the impact of the brands alone and I cannot wait to expand this area of the business further. It really is an exciting time to be joining the business.”

The Melrose Group is a charitable partner of Food Ladder, a not-for-profit established in 2010 with the aim of addressing global malnourishment by giving people the tools to stop hunger and provide good quality, fresh nutrition.

Food Ladder provides communities with hydroponic greenhouses and specialised training so they can grow fruit and vegetables and set up their own social enterprise selling fresh and nutritious food to their communities.

Mr Paterson said the summit, attended by representatives from remote communities across the Territory, aimed to address one of the most pressing issues Indigenous communities were facing – food security.

“Given the current pandemic, and when we were in lengthy lockdown periods when food products were very limited, we saw products walking off the shelves,” he said.

“It had twice the impact on remote communities.

“All their shelves were basically bare.”

“Now the time is perfect for all to figure out how we can best put in strategies and systems and processes so we don’t find ourselves in a similar situation (again).”

Mr Paterson said poverty was a major contributor to Indigenous Territorians not having access to healthy food.

“It’s a great opportunity for the Commonwealth Aboriginal Workforce Program and Jobseeker to be reformed in a way that enables the employment of those in the food security industry,” he said.

“Currently they (welfare payments like JobSeeker) don’t provide enough support for people to afford healthy food. They need to support people to able to have long-term sustainable jobs so they have a good income and can afford healthy food.”

Mr Paterson said the summit was seeking to establish a storage container in the Territory for non-perishable food items in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.

He said moving forward, AMSANT was seeking federal government funding for another summit in 12 months “given the urgency of food security now and making sure we’re well-prepared for any future disasters or pandemics”.

Former senator and Olympian Nova Peris also attended the summit for a presentation of her Food Ladder project, which provides hydroponic greenhouses to remote communities.

The project, which Ms Peris is doing in partnership with former Territory MLA Ken Vowles, aims to help remote communities with food supply issues.

“The lockdown has been tough for remote people that have had problems with food and supplies. “There is so much we think we can do to help” Ms Peris told the NT News last year.

“Ken and I want to give back through the foundation.”