Weetabix, one of the all-time classic British cereals, has been taken over by the Chinese company Bright Foods, it emerged today.
It may be a Bright future ahead for the company but in the mean time, here are some facts about Weetabix that you may not have known:
- With annual sales of more than £420 million, Weetabix Food Company exports to more than 80 countries worldwide, with brands including Alpen, Ready Brek and Weetos.
- The Weetabix cereal alone accounted for 7% of the UK's cereal sales in 2010, with annual figures of £100 million.
- The cereal was originally invented in Australia in the 1920s by Bennison Osborne, who along with his business partner Malcolm Macfarlane decided to expand into South Africa and Britain. They founded the British and African Cereal Company Ltd in 1932 in partnership with Frank George.
- Mr George offered them the use of a disused flour mill in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, in exchange for shares in the company before the British and African Cereal Company name was changed to Weetabix Limited on August 7 1936.
- The cereal was promoted by the popular Weetabix Neet Weet Gang in television adverts between March 1982 and November 1989. The characters were called Bixie, Dunk, Brains, Brian and Crunch and appeared on Weetabix packs.
- Lion Capital, then known as Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, acquired the business in 2004, ending its family ownership.
- More than 60 million breakfast biscuits are made each week from more than 1,500 tonnes of home-grown wheat on 11 production lines. That is more than three billion a year. It is now the UK's second biggest cereal manufacturer.
- Wheat for Weetabix is sourced from farmers within a 50-mile radius of the company's mills in Burton Latimer. Around 365 grains of whole wheat are cooked, flattened into flakes and moulded to make each Weetabix biscuit.
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