Weetabix Limited

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This article describes the company. For their breakfast cereal of the same name, see Weetabix.
Weetabix Ltd
Type Private
Industry Breakfast cereal
Founded 1932
Headquarters Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, UK
Area served Europe, USA, Canada
Key people CEO: Giles Turrel
Chairman: Sir Richard George
Products Weetabix, Alpen, Ready Brek
Owner(s) Bright Food, Lion Capital LLP
Employees c. 2,000
Website Weetabix Ltd

Weetabix Ltd., trading under the name Weetabix Food Company and commonly referred to as simply Weetabix, is a food processing company that is responsible for the production of breakfast cereal brands. Weetabix is also the name of one of the company's products, a wheat-based breakfast cereal in the form of relatively large biscuits.

History[edit]

See History of Weet-Bix

The food product was originally invented in Australia in the 1920s by Bennison Osborne. Osborne and his friend Malcolm MacFarlane successfully launched Weet-Bix in Australia and New Zealand under the sponsorship of the owner of Grain Products Ltd., who soon sold the Australasian rights to the Australasian Conference Association Limited Sanitarium Health Food Company. Osborne and MacFarlane decided to expand into South Africa and while there, they began the establishment of the British & African Cereal Company, Ltd., a Private Company, in order to start a venture in England under the Companies, Act,1929, (Company No. 267687), where they became joint Managing Directors until MacFarlane left the Company in 1932/1933, after which Osborne became the sole Managing Director until 1936, when he left the Company for the United States of America. The first Directors of the Company were Bennison Osborne, Malcolm MacFarlane, Alfred Richard Upton and Arthur Stanley Scrutton. Frank George, who had offered them the use of a disused flour mill in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, subsequently requested and was granted shares in the Company and was offered a place on the Board.

For the purpose of differentiating between the various countries, it was decided that the product, when introduced into the United Kingdom, should be known as "Weetabix". On August 13, 1936, with the approval of the Board of Trade, the Company name was changed to Weetabix Limited .

In November 2003, the company was bought from Weetabix Limited, by the American private equity firm HM Capital of Dallas.[citation needed] From 29 January 2004, it was owned by Lion Capital LLP,[citation needed] until 3 May 2012 when the Chinese company Bright Food bought a 60% controlling stake, valuing the company at £1.2bn ($1.9bn).[1]

The company does not have the rights to the product in Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. In these countries, the brand is still known as Weet-Bix and is still made by Sanitarium Health Food Company.

Alpen was invented in 1971, when the marketing director went on holiday in France and tasted a local delicacy.[citation needed]

Awards[edit]

It has won three Queen's Awards for Export, lastly in 2004.

Company structure[edit]

The company is headquartered in Burton Latimer, Kettering, Northamptonshire, England, and its 75-acre (300,000 m2) site is next to the A14 junction with the A6. It also has factories in Corby and Ashton-under-Lyne. The company produces 3 billion Weetabix breakfast biscuits every year from its Kettering site.

Weetabix is also one of the major manufacturers of generic cereals for the major supermarkets (See private brand).

Weetabix has factories in Europe, the United States and Canada. It is the largest producer of breakfast cereals in the UK. It exports to eighty countries. As of 2012 it employed around 2000 people.[2]

Brands[edit]

Alpen[edit]

Main article: Alpen (food)

Crunchy Bran[edit]

GrainShop[edit]

Sold primarily in the North American market, the GrainShop brand has two cereals, High Fibre Crisp and Honey Almond Crunch. High Fibre Crisp is a blend of four grains, wheat and corn, bran and oats, while Honey Almond Crunch is a combination of crunchy oats, flakes, almonds and honey.[3]

Oatibix[edit]

Main article: Oatibix

Products in the Oatibix range are made from oats, as opposed to the company's preference to wheat-based food. The original Oatibix cereal is physically very similar to the company's flagship Weetabix but made of whole grain oats. Oatibix Bitesize is a variant of Oatibix with smaller biscuits and is available as Oatibix Bitesize Sultana & Apple or Oatibix Bitesize Chocolate & Raisin in addition to the original flavour.[4]

Oatibix Flakes[edit]

Ready Brek[edit]

Main article: Ready Brek

Ready Brek is an oat-based breakfast cereal that is intended to be served hot, and comes in three varieties; 'Original', 'Chocolate' and 'Seriously Oaty'. A butterscotch flavour was marketed during the 1970s.

Weetabix[edit]

Main article: Weetabix

Weetabix is a whole grain wheat breakfast cereal that comes in the form of palm-sized biscuits. It is Weetabix Food Company's flagship product, introduced in 1932 and is officially the top-selling breakfast cereal in the United Kingdom, accounting for 8% of the country’s total cereal sales. The cereal, which is manufactured in facilities in Kettering, England and Canada, is exported to 80 countries and has annual sales worth over £95 million.[5]

Weetabix Bitesize is essentially a smaller "bite-sized" version of Weetabix that can be easily poured into a bowl, more like a traditional breakfast cereal. Weetabix Minis are sweeter variant of the Weetabix Bitesize, with various additions depending upon the variety; 'Chocolate Crisp', 'Banana Crisp', 'Fruit & Nut Crisp' and 'Honey & Nut Crisp'. Outside of the U.K., Weetabix Minis has been re-launched and renamed at least twice in a relatively short period of time following their launch. Previously, they were known as Fruitibix, Bananabix and Chocobix (depending upon the additions), then as Minibix.

Weetaflakes[edit]

Weetos[edit]

Main article: Weetos

Sponsorship[edit]

Weetabix was the title sponsor of the Women's British Open between 1987 to 2006. It also sponsors Northamptonshire Police. It was one of the sponsors of the World Cup in Argentina in 1978.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC News - Weetabix bought by China's Bright Food". BBC Online. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Financial Times April 22, 2012 5:23 pm Lion Capital explores Weetabix sale
  3. ^ "Weetabix Products". Weetabix Ltd. Retrieved June 27, 2009. 
  4. ^ "The Weetabix Food Company - Oatibix". Weetabix Ltd. Retrieved June 27, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Weetabix Food Company - About Us". Weetabix Ltd. Retrieved June 27, 2009. 

External links[edit]

News items[edit]