The history of Chiko

Is this Aussie food icon on your menu?

The Chiko Roll is as Australian as BBQs on the beach, kangaroos, meat pies and Aussie rules. The beloved Chiko Roll has remained an Aussie icon since its debut at the Wagga Wagga Agriculture Show in 1951. The year 2021 marked the 70th anniversary of the Chiko Roll – and almost three quarters of a century later, the legendary snack is as loved today as ever. 

The history of Chiko

So where did the Aussie food icon begin? Originally a boilermaker from Bendigo, Frank McEnroe sold pasties, pies and hamburgers at country shows and football matches in the 1930s and 1940s. His entrepreneurial flare inspired him to design a hot savoury snack unlike any other on offer. McEnroe first saw the opportunity for Chiko when competitor rolls proved to be too flimsy for outdoor settings. He took inspiration from Chinese spring rolls and egg rolls but made various crucial tweaks to develop the Aussie-famous on-the-go snack.  The vegetable and meat-filled Chiko Roll had a superior crunch factor and its robust pastry outer layer allowed it to be consumed in a single hand, leaving room for a cold beer in the other. McEnroe knew that the Chiko Roll was a winner when it sold out on day two of the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Show.

McEnroe moved to Melbourne with his family in the 1960s to manufacture the rolls with the use of an adapted sausage machine. He eventually moved to a larger factory in Essendon to meet growing demand. His business was later merged with a local company to form Frozen Food Industries Pty Ltd, going public in 1963. By the mid-1960s, the Chiko Roll had quickly gained popularity and could be found in milk bars, at sporting events and in most takeaway restaurants across Australia. The popular marketing slogan “Grab a Chiko” signified the ease and speed in which the Chiko Roll could be converted from the freezer into a crunchy deep-fried snack and placed in an iconic trademarked bag. The height of their popularity came in the 1970s, where over 40 million Chiko Rolls were being sold across Australia each year.

Chiko rolls have been providing convenient snacking since 1951

It’s no secret that on-the-go snacking continues to be a fast-growing segment today, both in and out of the home. Fortunately, Frank McEncroe’s vision from the 1950s still sees the convenience of the Chiko Roll cater to today’s market. Our increasingly busy demands of life mean that a quick and convenient, yet substantial snack is as relevant today as ever. Today, the Chiko Roll is manufactured in Bathurst, NSW, with specialty machines to create the roll with the distinctive folded ends- everyone’s favourite part! The diversity of the Chiko range provides several convenient, savoury snacking options.

Putting Chiko on your menu

Whether it be the classic Chiko Roll or one of the other Chiko-branded offerings- there is a delicious product suitable for your foodservice needs. Chiko Dimees, Fish Cakes and Crumbed Onion Rings make for perfect sides on your fish and chip shop menu. Chunky Chiko Chips made with Tasmanian potatoes are a staple on any takeaway menu, with a cook time of 4-5 minutes to be prepared efficiently alongside fish or other snacking items. Beef Croquettes and Garlic Chicken Balls make for an elegant addition to your snacking menu across a range of cuisines. Corn Jacks, Pluto Pups and of course the iconic Chiko Roll are a great fit for retro-style QSR menus or perfect for single-handed snacking at sporting events. The Chiko range maintains its unique market offering and you can’t go wrong with the all-time Aussie favourite Chiko Roll. So, when was your last Chiko?

Featured products.

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From Pluto Pups and Cornjacks to Chiko Rolls and Dimmies, you can shop the entire Chiko range on myBidfood.