Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company

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FoundedMelbourne, Victoria 1898
HeadquartersBerkeley Vale, New South Wales, Australia
Auckland, New Zealand
Key people
Kevin Jackson, CEO, Todd Saunders GM Australia, Robert Scoines, GM-New Zealand
Up & Go
Peanut butter
So Good
Alternative Dairy Company
RevenueA$300 million
Number of employees
ParentSeventh-day Adventist Church
WebsiteSanitarium Australia
Sanitarium New Zealand

The Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company is the trading name of two sister food companies (Australian Health and Nutrition Association Ltd[1] and New Zealand Health Association Ltd).[2] Both are wholly owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[3]

Founded in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1898,[4] Sanitarium has factories in Australia and New Zealand, producing a large range of breakfast cereals and vegetarian products. All the food products it manufactures and markets are plant derived or vegetarian. Its flagship product is Weet-Bix sold in Australia and New Zealand.


Sanitarium factory at Cooranbong, New South Wales

During his time in Australia, William C. White convinced Seventh-day Adventist Edward Halsey, a baker at John Harvey Kellogg's Battle Creek Sanitarium, to emigrate to Australia.[5][6]

Halsey arrived in Sydney, New South Wales, on 8 November 1897.[7] He rented a small bakery in Melbourne, and produced granola (made of wheat, oats, maize, and rye) and Granose (the unsweetened forerunner to Weet-Bix). Halsey and his team sold it from door to door as an alternative to the fat-laden and nutrient-poor foods popular at the time.

The business relocated to larger premises in Cooranbong, New South Wales, next to the campus of the seminary which became Avondale University College.[3][7]

In 1900, Halsey transferred to New Zealand, where he began making the first batches of Granola, New Zealand's first breakfast cereal, Caramel Cereals (a coffee substitute), and wholemeal bread in a small wooden shed[8] in the Christchurch suburb of Papanui.[9][10]

Sanitarium New Zealand and Sanitarium Australia are now separate companies, but work together.[9]

Sanitarium has factories in several locations, including Berkeley Vale in New South Wales; Carmel in Perth, Western Australia; Brisbane, Queensland; and Auckland, New Zealand. Weet-Bix was originally manufactured, from 1928, at 659 Parramatta Road, Leichhardt, where until recent times Sanitarium signage could still be seen. This factory predates the purchase of Weet-Bix by Sanitarium in 1930. Another factory was constructed for Sanitarium in Warburton, Victoria in 1925 to manufacture Granose. This factory was damaged by floods in 1934 and a new factory constructed and operational by 1938, producing Granose and later Weet-Bix until 1997. This factory was unusual because it had an on-site hydro-electricity plant which also supplied the township of Warburton.[11] A factory was operating in Palmerston North in New Zealand, but closed in the late 1990s. The Hackney factory in Adelaide, South Australia was closed in October 2010, and the Cooranbong factory in 2018.[12]

In June 2017, Sanitarium caused controversy when it objected to a specialty shop-owner based in Christchurch, New Zealand, trying to import 300 boxes of Weetabix into the country. New Zealand Customs detained the boxes at the request of Sanitarium on the grounds the British-made Weetabix competed with and confused the branding of their own New Zealand-made 'Weet-bix'. Sanitarium faced a backlash in New Zealand as a result.[13] After failing to come to a settlement, Sanitarium filed civil action against the shop owner. The case hearing began in the High Court at Christchurch on 30 July 2018.[14]

Tax exemption[edit]

Neither the Australia nor the New Zealand Sanitarium companies pay company tax on their profits, due to their ownership by a religious organisation.[15][16] On their official website, Sanitarium defend their tax exemption with several points, stating they operate exclusively for charitable purposes, and that income tax exemptions are available to all companies and individuals in New Zealand who limit themselves to charitable purposes.[17] However, the exemption has been criticised[18][19] and is considered unfair by their competitors.[20]

According to their last annual return as of February 2019, businesses operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church reported more than $10 million profit.[21]


Up & Go[edit]

Up & Go is the brand of a range of liquid breakfast products manufactured and marketed by Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company. The brand was the first product that established the category of liquid breakfast in supermarket and convenience stores in Australia and New Zealand. Many other brands have entered the category since the late 1990s, and forced the brand to defend its market share.[22]

In June 2013, Choice magazine released a study of 23 liquid breakfast products questioning the validity of claims that were made by manufacturers including Up & Go claims regarding fibre content.[23] Sanitarium defended Up & Go in a release citing the current code of practice for nutrient claims that a product must contain a minimum of 3 g of dietary fibre per serving to be considered "high in fiber" and Up & Go contained 3.8 g of fiber per 250-ml serving.[24]


Weet-Bix is a wheat break cereal made in Australia and New Zealand and in South Africa by Bokomo.

Honey Puffs[edit]

Honey Puffs is a wheat break cereal coated with honey made in Australia and New Zealand.



Marmite is a food spread made in New Zealand. It is made from yeast extract, by-product of beer brewing.

So Good (soy beverage)[edit]

So Good (also known as SoGood or So-Good) is a brand of non-dairy beverages, foods, and desserts that are lactose, cholesterol and gluten-free.[25] So Good is manufactured by Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company in Australia and New Zealand.[26] In Canada, it is prepared by Earth's Own. So Good is sold in India by Life Health Foods.[27][28]

In Australia, So Good produces soy milk, as well as almond milk and almond and coconut milk. They also produce flavored soy milk and frozen soy desserts.[29]

In India, So Good produces almond milk and almond and coconut milk, in addition to soy milk. They also produce flavoured soy milk, flavoured almond milk, and fortified soy milk.[27]


  1. ^ "Australian Health and Nutrition Association Ltd", Bloomberg
  2. ^ "...New Zealand Health Association Limited trading as Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company...",
  3. ^ a b "Sanitarium Health Food Company". Archived from the original on 19 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Vegetarianism in Australia: A History" (PDF). 16 June 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Peddling Health". 6 June 2002. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012.
  6. ^ Crook, Edgar. "Vegetarianism in Australia, A History" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Moments that made us".
  8. ^ "Edward Halsey's Sanitarium Red Shed". Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  9. ^ a b "History".
  10. ^ "Spreads and breakfast cereals".
  11. ^ "Sanitarium Health Food Factory - Docomomo Australia". 29 April 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  12. ^ Hagen, Darren (7 June 2017). "In Australia, Food Factory Plant Gets Ready for Closure". AdventistReview. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  13. ^ Roy, Elanor Ainge (30 June 2017). "British Weetabix seized by New Zealand customs in breakfast bowl battle with rival". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  14. ^ Clarkson, David (30 July 2018). "Weet-bix versus Weetabix stoush hits High Court". Stuff. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Charities Services". Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  16. ^ "New Zealand Health Association Limited (1503254) Registered". New Zealand Companies Office. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Sanitarium gives its profits for charitable purposes". Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  18. ^ Wallace, Max (8 August 2008). "Render unto Caesar". The Australian. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  19. ^ Gomez, Frank (18 April 2011). "Rich men in the tax-free kingdom of God". The Punch. Archived from the original on 19 April 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  20. ^ Blundell, Sally (2 February 2008). "The God dividend". Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  21. ^ Blake-Persen, Nita (20 February 2019). "Is it time for charity-owned businesses to start paying tax?". Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  22. ^ "Liquid breakfasts: up and going strong". Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  23. ^ "Liquid breakfasts should up and go". Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  24. ^ "'Up & Go claims are healthy', Sanitarium hits back at Choice". Food Magazine. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  25. ^ "So Good Nutrition". Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  26. ^ "Soy Milks". Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  27. ^ a b "Life Health Foods - bringing you So Good a delicious range of almond milk". Life Health Foods. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  28. ^ "So Good and Soy Milky". So Good and Soy Milky. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  29. ^ "Sanitarium So Good". Retrieved 19 July 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]