Australia's Weet-Bix makes a move on China's breakfast tables

Dumplings for breakfast in Xiaogan, Hubei province, China. Lucas Schifres/Getty Images

Australian company Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing, the maker of Weet-Bix, is finally making a play to be the ready-to-eat food of choice at breakfasts in China.

It is launching an international cereal brand, Nutri-Brex, into the Chinese domestic market from next November.

In China there is a growing trend for Western-style breakfast cereals from brands with strong health and food safety credentials.

In May this year Weet-Bix was a product placement on popular Chinese TV soap Ode to Joy.

Sales then soared in mainland China. Australian sales also picked up with people buying it in supermarkets and sending packets to China.

“Different to the iconic Weet-Bix product in name only, Nutri-Brex is made in the same factories, using the same ingredients and the same traditional recipe that Sanitarium has used for almost 90 years,” says Todd Saunders, general manager, Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Australia.

“It’s the same name that we use for Weet-Bix in the UK, our second biggest export market.”

Sanitarium has partnered with Taiwanese-Chinese TV star Alyssa Chia to promote the brand to her loyal audience numbering in their millions across her social media platforms, including WeChat.

The 42-year-old celebrity mother, who recently announced her third pregnancy, has a strong affinity with health and wellness in China.

Nutri-Brex will be sold in 1,500 stores in China and multiple e-commerce channels from mid-November.

Online sales, mainly through Alibaba’s TMall platform, currently represent more than half of all sales of Sanitarium’s products in China.

“Australia’s clean, green image and excellent food safety standards present us with an enviable opportunity,” says Saunders.

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