Weetabix investing millions in U.K. manufacturing sites

by Eric Schroeder
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Weetabix cereal
All wheat used in Weetabix’s cereal is sourced from farmers within a 50-mile radius of its mill in Burton Latimer.

LONDON — Weetabix Food Co., the second largest cereal brand in the United Kingdom behind Kellogg, has committed to a £30 million ($37.4 million) capital investment program across its U.K. manufacturing sites in Burton Latimer and Corby by 2018.

The addition of production capability in Burton Latimer and Corby is expected to allow Weetabix to match consumer demand for its breakfast cereals, the company said. The launch of Weetabix Protein added £7 million to sales in 2016 and was the biggest new cereal launch in the category, Weetabix noted.

Giles Turrell, Weetabix
Giles Turrell, c.e.o. of Weetabix

“We’ve consistently bucked the market, through our innovation and focus on nutritionally strong products that taste great,” said Giles Turrell, chief executive officer of Weetabix. “We have been successful in increasing our sales of brands such as Weetabix and Alpen, with consumers trusting us to deliver best in class nutrition and taste.”

In addition to cereals, Weetabix operates a breakfast drinks business, Weetabix On the Go, which has grown rapidly, recently selling its 18 millionth bottle. As a standalone brand it would now be in the top 20 breakfast brands, having grown 70% in 2016, the company said.

News of Weetabix’s investment in its U.K. manufacturing sites comes after media reports surfaced in recent weeks about potential suitors for the company. Weetabix’s owner, China’s Bright Foods, put the business up for sale last year, and the company has drawn interest from such companies as Barilla, Nestle, General Mills, Post Holdings and PepsiCo, according to reports.

Weetabix was founded in 1932 as the British and African Cereal Co., later renamed Weetabix Ltd. in 1936. The company was acquired by Bright Foods in 2012. All wheat used in the company’s cereal is sourced from farmers within a 50-mile radius of its mill in Burton Latimer.
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