Weet-Bix

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Weet-Bix logo.

Weet-Bix is a high-fiber and low sugar breakfast cereal biscuit manufactured in Australia and New Zealand by the Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company, and in South Africa by Bokomo.

History[edit]

Weet-Bix in a bowl.

Weet-Bix, the breakfast cereal, was developed by Bennison Osborne in Sydney, Australia, in the mid-1920s. Osborne set out to make a product more palatable than "Granose," a biscuit that was marketed by the Sanitarium Health Food Company at that time. He tried his new product on his nieces and nephews until he had it perfected, and on August 19, 1926, he lodged an application for registration of the trademark Weetbix,[1] a name which he had devised. Production began at 659 Parramatta Road, Leichhardt,[2] under the management of Osborne and with the financial backing of Arthur Shannon who created the company “Grain Products” to manufacture the cereal. Osborne's friend Malcolm Ian Macfarlane from New Zealand joined him to take on a marketing role. The product was so successful that in October 1928, Shannon sold the rights in the product to the Australasian Conference Association Limited (Sanitarium Health Food Company). Macfarlane suggested that they ship the product to New Zealand, where it proved so successful that it became difficult to adequately supply the market from Australia. Osborne and MacFarlane went to N.Z. and factories were established in Auckland and Christchurch. However, once again, Shannon sold out to the Australasian Conference Association Limited.

Osborne and Macfarlane then exported the product to South Africa and with Shannon's financial backing, went to that country and a factory was installed in Cape Town, with Osborne managing sales. This enterprise was also subsequently sold, this time to Bokomo.

While in South Africa, Osborne and Macfarlane sought to obtain more satisfactory financial backing to secure Osborne’s product. A group was formed, Osborne refined the product and he and Macfarlane went to England to form the British & African Cereal Company, Ltd., which they registered in London in 1932,[3] as a Private Company, with the proprietor shown as Weetabix Limited of Weetabix Mills, Burton Latimer, Kettering. All shares in the Company were specified to be under the control of the Directors, the first of whom were Bennison Osborne, Malcolm Ian Macfarlane, Alfred Richard Upton and Arthur Stanley Scrutton.[3] For the purpose of differentiating the product from that sold in Australia, N.Z. and South Africa, the product was named "Weetabix". Osborne and Macfarlane became the joint managing directors with Osborne controlling production and Macfarlane controlling marketing. Thirty-three potential sites for the factory were examined, with Burton Latimer in Northamptonshire eventually being chosen, due in part to the offer of a disused flour mill by a Mr. George, who requested shares in the Company and who was subsequently offered a seat on the existing Board of Directors. A fleet of cars was purchased, salesmen were employed throughout England, staff was increased and the Company went from strength to strength. In 1933, Macfarlane left the Company to pursue other business interests, leaving Osborne as the sole managing director. George eventually became Chairman of the Board.

Osborne sold his shareholding to the directors in July, 1936, at which time the Company was renamed “Weetabix Limited.”[3] Osborne proceeded at that time to the United States, establishing a weetabix factory in Clinton, Massachusetts. However, the venture was unsuccessful. Weetabix eventually entered the U.S. market from Canada via Clinton, Massachusetts, the site of the original U.S. factory.

Brand popularity[edit]

Weet-Bix is seen in both Australia and New Zealand as an iconic national foodstuff. An online poll of 16,000 people in 2006 identified it as Australia's favourite trademark.[4] The product has been marketed in Australia since 1985 with the catchphrase "Aussie Kids are Weet-Bix kids". Based on its success in Australia, a similar catchphrase was adopted six months later in New Zealand: "Kiwi Kids are Weet-Bix kids".

Weet-Bix sponsors a number of Australian sports teams, including the AFL, national cricket, soccer, and rugby union teams, members of whom have appeared in some television advertising campaigns. It is also the main sponsor for the Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon[5][6] events in both Australia and New Zealand.

Weet-Bix cards[edit]

Sanitarium started to issue collectors' cards in 1942[7] as a marketing device in their boxes of Weet-Bix and some of their other breakfast cereal products including Granose, Bixies, Cerix and later Puffed Wheat, Puffed Rice, Weeta Puffs, Weeta Flakes and Corn Flakes.[8] Sanitarium have also issued cards in their New Zealand products, sometimes similar to the Australian series but also series with a New Zealand focus.

The following is a list of Australian card releases.[9]

1942/3 Advance Australia – a Pageant of the Years 1970 Cook' s Voyage of Discovery 1987 Aussie Kids in the Year 2000
1944 Transfers 1970 Australia's Wonderful Wildlife 1988 Aussie and Proud of it
1945 Treasury of New Zealand 1970 Collecting Australian Gemstones 1988 Kings of the Road
1945 The Children’s Australian Encyclopaedia Series (volume 1) 1970 Night Shiners 1989 Survive!
1946 Marvels of the Great Barrier Reef 1971 The Super Cars 1989 Australian Energy
1949 Australia Yesterday and Today 1971 The Great Barrier Reef 1990 Wild, Weird and Wonderful
1950 Aboriginal Tribes and Customs 1971 Car Transfers 1990 Australia's Greatest Motor Race
1951 Wonder Book of General Knowledge 1972 Our Asian Neighbours 1990 Earth Quest
1952 The Children’s Australian Encyclopaedia Series (volume 2) 1972 Hottest Hotrods 1991 The Cars That Made Australia
1954/5 Story of the Pacific 1972 Great Australian Explorers 1992 The Wonderful World of Sea World
1955/6 The Age of Speed 1973 People of the Pacific 1992 Australia's Most Amazing Birds
1957 This Fascinating World 1973 Australia's Booming Industries 1992 The Weet-Bix Peanuts Swap Cards
1958 Book of Amazing Wonders 1973 Spectacular Sports 1993 Colgate Smile for Miles (printed backs)
1958 Scouting and Guiding 1974 African Safari 1993 Colgate Smile for Miles (plain backs)
1959 Destination Moon 1974 Timeless Japan 1994 Our Great Australian Adventure
1960 Cavalcade of Cars 1975 Cars of the 70s 1994 The Wonderful World of Disney
1961 Papua New Guinea 1975 The World of Jets 1994 Australian Test Cricketers
1961 Birds and Animals of Australia 1975 Discover Indonesia 1995 Threatened Wildlife WWF
1962 Wildflowers of Australia 1975 Discover Indonesia (with overprint) 1996 High Action Sports
1962 The Young Motorist's Book of Cars 1976 Wildlife of Australia 1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
1963 True to Life (stereo cards) 1976 Cavalcade of Cars 1996 The Bradman Collection
1963 Australian Bird Life 1976 Australia's Own Birds and Wildflowers 1997 World Ball Skill Cards
1963 Zoo Babies (stereo cards) 1977 Brazil '77 1997 Sir Donald Bradman Greatest Hits
1963 Famous Dog Breeds (stereo cards) 1977 Fast Wheels 1998 Babe and Friends
1963 General Series (stereo cards) 1978 The World of Vintage and Veteran Cars 1999 Take it to the Next Level (stickers)
1963 Canberra the Capital (stereo cards) 1978 The World of Vintage and Veteran Cars (USA export plain backs) 1999 Healthy Life Recipe Cards
1963 Australia on Parade (stereo cards) 1978 Journey Around Australia 2000 The Lee Brothers Eat Fast Claim Fast
1964 Wildlife of the World (stereo cards) 1979 Rally Champs 2000 Extremely Board
1964 Picture Cards of Famous Ships 1979 Vanishing Wildlife 2000 Get Real, Get Weet-Bix
1964 Australia's Underwater World 1980 Great Steam Trains 2001 Cricket Champions Past and Present
1964 See Australia with TAA (stereo cards) 1980 Wonders of the World 2001 Breakfast of World Champions
1965 The Mysterious East (stereo cards) 1981 Backyard Wildlife 2002 Wallaby Gold
1965 Dеер Sea Wonders 1981 Australia's Wings 2002 Australian Natural Wonders
1965 Qantas New York’s World Fair 1981 Australia’s National Parks 2002 АСВ Gold
1965 Picture and History Vintage and Veteran Cars 1896-1966 1981 Veteran and Vintage Cars (stickers – not issued under Weet-Bix name) 2003 Champions Work Harder
1965 African Safari 1982 Big Rigs 2005 V8 Super Cars
1966 Australian Wildflowers 1982 Weet-Bix Stickers 2005 Kids Try-athlon
1966 Veteran and Vintage Cars (stereo cards) 1982 BMX Downunder 2006 Wiggles stickers (series one)
1966 Picture and History Cards of the Story of Flight from 1783-1966 1983 The Great Barrier Reef 2006 Socceroos (postcard)
1966 Picture and History Cards of Aeroplanes 1983 Get into Training 2006 Aussie Legends Ashes Series 2006-07
1966 National Costumes of the World 1984 Spectacular Sports 2007 Wiggles stickers (series two)
1966 Snow Holiday 1984 Exploring Our Solar System 2007 Wiggles stickers (series three)
1967 Alice in Wonderland 1984 Cook 'n Eat Bix Recipes 2007 Socceroos
1967 Grand Prix 1985 Surf Sports 2008 Stat Attack
1968 Secrets of Space 1985 Antarctic Adventure 2008 Socceroos Memorable Moments
1968 This World of Speed 1986 Collector Cars 2009 Wiggles stickers (series four)
1968 The Iron Horses 1986 Two Wheel Classics 2009 Cricket Town (series one)
1969 The World of the Aborigine 1986 Aussie Kids Pet Gazette 2009 Cricket Town (series two)
1969 Traditional Uniforms of the World 1987 The Weet-Bix Gazette World of Wheels
1969 Australia Leaps Ahead 1987 Australia's First 200 Years

See also[edit]

  • Weetabix - the UK variant that is now exported to around 80 countries.
  • Shredded Wheat - another wheat-based biscuit cereal.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Trade mark protection for a breakfast cereal brand", ipaustralia.gov.au
  2. ^ "The Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company", 15 May 2013, eud.adventist.org
  3. ^ a b c [1] Company No. 00267687
  4. ^ "Weet-Bix Top Trademark", ABC News, September 26, 2006.
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ "Weet-Bix Tryathlon Foundation
  7. ^ Howieson, Paul & Marsden, Alice. (2013). Catalogue and card list of Weet-Bix, 1942-2010, Elizabeth Park, South Australia
  8. ^ The list of products can be found on the reverse of cards including those in the 1942 Advance Australia and 1962 The Young Motorist's Book of Cars series.
  9. ^ Howieson & Marsden. There is some debate over the exact years of some sets. Names of sets and dates have been updated from online comparisons from Ebay and from inspecting items in private collections.

External links[edit]