|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2011)|
Weetabix cereals in the U.K. created Alpen muesli cereal in the late 1960s as a reaction to the natural, organic and environmental movements sweeping the U.S. and UK. Alpen is a whole grain muesli cereal based on rolled oats, fruits and nuts with no preservatives or artificial flavours or colours.
Alpen was the best-selling muesli in the U.S. for a short time in the 1970s (the start of the "natural foods" movement), when Alpen was imported from Weetabix and marketed by Colgate-Palmolive (CP) as one of the first "natural" cereals in the U.S. marketplace. Because of its "back to nature" appeal, Alpen quickly became a best-seller. Competition arose when the Quaker cereal company responded by creation of Quaker 100% natural cereal. CP misjudged Alpen supply and demand, and due to its UK importation, was not able to stock the cereal in a timely fashion. The supply chain became a problem: shelf stock ran out of date and CP had to purchase Alpen back from retailers and destroy it. That, combined with Quaker's marketing effort, ended the short reign of Alpen as the #1 natural brand in the U.S. in the 1970s.
A recently retired CP executive involved with the product in the 1970's says that the lack of preservatives allowed insects to emerge from the cereal grains while on the shelves and in warm warehouses in Florida. In fact he witnessed a product demonstration where a potential grocer purchasing agent poured a bowl full, and asked "why is this stuff moving?". The product became the topic of many jokes at Colgate..... That it "was really moving off the shelves", and "it had active ingredients". CP is a good company, but this product was ahead of its time.
In the U.K., Alpen has been a staple on British shelves since the 1970s and it appeared in the early 1970s in Canada and then in the US in the 1990s after Weetabix established a partnership with natural foods manufacturer, Barbara's Bakery.
In the U.S. today, Alpen No Added Sugar and Alpen Original are mainstays in U.S. natural food stores and Canadian grocery stores. In the UK, Weetabix sells Alpen in four varieties. Alpen is exported to other countries in several varieties.
Related cereals and products
In the U.K., Alpen has created several varieties, including:
- Alpen Original
- Alpen Original (No Added Sugar)
- Alpen High Fruit
- Alpen High Fibre
In both the U.S.and Canada, Alpen varieties are:
- Alpen Original
- Alpen No Added Sugar
- New Alpen Apple Spice was introduced in Canada in 2010, featuring three whole grains, apples, toasted soy nuggets and flax seed, with 500 mg of Omega ALA.
As of December 2009, the U.S. Alpens were reformulated to an all-natural formula, discontinuing the use of added vitamins, minerals and organic grains.
In the past, several non-muesli Alpen cereals debuted under the Alpen brand. While most of these cereals have undergone changes in name only, here is a list of cereals which at one were in the Alpen division of Weetabix, along with date of name change.
- Alpen Wheat Flakes (formerly Advantage cereal) — 2004
- Alpen Crunchy Bran (formerly Crunchy Bran cereal) — 2004
As a brand extension and a reaction to consumer appetite for whole grain snacks, Weetabix introduced Alpen whole grain cereal bars, which include varieties of several fruit flavours. As of February 2012, these include:
- Strawberry & Yogurt (Red)
- Raspberry & Yoghurt (Pink)
- Fruit & Nut (Green)
- Fruit & Nut with Chocolate (Brown)
- Coconut with Chocolate (Blue)
- Apricot & Yoghurt (New for 2012)
- Summer Fruit (Light Variant)
- Chocolate & Fudge (Light Variant)
- Chocolate & Orange (Light Variant)
- Apple & Sultana (Light Variant)
- Double Chocolate (Light Variant
- Cherry Bakewell (Light Variant - New for 2012)
Sugar and whey content
- "Alpen Original from Weetabix: Wholegrain, tasty goodness.". www.weetabix.co.uk. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-20.