Tim Tam is a brand of chocolate biscuit made by Arnott’s and available in several countries. A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.
The biscuit was created by Ian Norris, who was the director of food technology at Arnott’s. During 1958, he took a world trip looking for inspiration for new products. While in Britain, he found the Penguin biscuit and decided to “make a better one”.
Tim Tams went on to the market in 1964. They were named by Ross Arnott, who attended the 1958 Kentucky Derby and decided that the name of the winning horse, Tim Tam was perfect for a planned new line of biscuits.
Apart from Penguins, products similar to Tim Tams include “Temptins” from Dick Smith Foods, New Zealand’s “Chit Chats”, Australian Woolworths’ home brand product “Triple Choc”, the Coles brand “Chocolate Supreme” biscuits, and various similar “home-brand” products marketed by British supermarkets.
In 2003, Arnott’s sued Dick Smith Foods over their Temptin’ brand of chocolate biscuits, which Arnott’s alleged had diluted their trademark as a similar biscuit, in similarly-designed packaging.The case was settled out of court.
Pepperidge Farm, a sister company of Arnott’s, began importing the Tim Tam to the United States of America in 2008. The Tim Tams are still “Made in Australia” and packaging in the United States bears the slogan “Australia’s Favorite Cookie.”
Tim Tam Slam
The Tim Tam Slam (also known as the Tim Tam Shotgun, Tim Tam Bomb, Tim Tam Explosion and Tim Tam Suck) is the practice of drinking a hot beverage through a Tim Tam. Opposite corners of the Tim Tam are bitten off, one end is submerged in the beverage, and the beverage sucked through the biscuit – as though the Tim Tam itself is a straw. The crisp interior biscuit is eventually softened and the outer chocolate coating begins to melt, at which point the biscuit is eaten. The Tim Tam Slam can also be performed with cold (usually milk-based) beverages.
The Arnott’s company used the name Tim Tam Suck in a 2002 advertising campaign.
The original Arnott’s bakery, opened in 1865, was located in Newcastle, New South Wales. To date, manufacture of Tim Tams and other Arnott’s products has remained largely within Australia, including bakeries in Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane. In 2009, Arnott’s invested 37 million Australian dollars in a state-of-the-art production line at its Brisbane facility, expecting to boost productivity and increase jobs.
At the Huntingwood bakery in Western Sydney, the production line turns out about 3,000 Tim Tams per minute and uses 20 tons of the biscuit’s cream filling and 27 tons of chocolate coating each work day. Biscuit dough, containing sugar, flour, colours and flavours, is mixed for 20 minutes. Biscuits are then cut to 1 mm thick, 11 holes are punched per biscuit and they are baked in gas ovens for 90 minutes. Freezing air cools the biscuits before they are flipped and filled with cream, dunked in chocolate and cooled again.
In the 2000s Arnott’s sold different varieties of the product. Varieties include dark chocolate, white chocolate, caramel, dark chocolate mint, honeycomb and choc orange.
In 2004, Arnott’s caused a controversy when they released limited edition Tim Tam Tia Maria and Kahlua Mint Slice varieties, flavoured with the popular alcoholic liqueurs. The Australian Drug Foundation suggested selling the biscuits in supermarkets was “potentially dangerous” by “normalising” the taste of alcohol for children. An Arnott’s spokesperson observed that a customer “would need to consume your body weight of biscuits every hour to reach a blood-alcohol content of .05”.
Tim Tam Chocolate Sandwich Biscuits are manufactured in Indonesia by Halo Arnotts. A cheese flavour of Tim Tams has also been developed for the Indonesian market.
In February 2014, Arnott’s launched a limited edition range of three new Tim Tam flavours created by renowned Australian dessert chef Adriano Zumbo: Salted Caramel, Choc Brownie and Raspberry White Choc. Point of sale displays featured Zumbo pink in contrast to traditional chocolate brown Tim Tam brand colours. Red Velvet was the fourth Zumbo Tim Tam creation, launched in July 2014. Also in July 2014, Arnott’s launched Peanut Butter flavoured Tim Tam. Arnott’s was awarded a Shonky award for the offering, which did not contain peanuts (paprika was used as a flavour substitute) and included two fewer biscuits than the original variety Tim Tam packet.
During the Valentine’s Day period of 2015, Arnott’s launched Choc Raspberry and Coconut Cream flavours, again collaborating with Zumbo. In October 2015, Arnott’s launched Tim Tam Choc Banana. A limited edition ‘mocktail’ Tim Tam range was launched in February 2016 with Piña Colada, Espresso Martini and Strawberry Champagne variants.
Arnott’s introduced toffee apple and pineapple flavours to the market in June 2016.
Tim Tams are a frequently discounted product in Australia’s main supermarkets Coles and Woolworths. In late 2015, media reported that Coles was attempting to resist price rises to Tim Tam and other Arnott’s products. When Coles refused the cost increase, Arnott’s refused to supply the chain.
At December 2015, the cost of a pack of Tim Tams at Coles was AUD3.65.
In the 1990s, Arnott’s cast N’fa as a wish-granting genie and Cate Blanchett as the lucky recipient of those wishes, who asks for “a packet of Tim Tams that never runs out”.
In October 2006, Arnott’s partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to launch a limited edition ‘pink’ Tim Tam to coincide with that years’ pink ribbon campaign.
Advertising in 2012 responded to a fan’s Facebook post, ‘wishing’ that Tim Tams grew on trees. Arnott’s “planted” a Tim Tam orchard in Martin Place on 2 May 2012. The campaign generated more than 475,000 views on Tim Tam’s YouTube channel and the brand experienced a 23% baselines sales uplift over the campaign period.
In 2016, to advertise Tim Tam mocktail flavours, Arnott’s recruited Sophie Monk to feature in television advertisements as the face of the range.