Sanitariums iconic Weet-Bix cereal relaunched as Nutri-Brex in China

Sanitarium's iconic Weet-Bix cereal relaunched as Nutri-Brex in China

Australian cereal maker Sanitarium has announced that its Weet-Bix breakfast cereal product is being relaunched in China under the name Nutri-Brex.

Todd Saunders, general manager for health and wellbeing at Sanitarium in Australia, said: "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. It's the same name that we use for Weet-Bix in the UK, our second-biggest export market."

Sanitarium said the switch to Nutri-Brex in China, where the renamed product will be rolled out from mid-November, would ensure the company complied with "new trademark restrictions that are now coming into place" in China.

The cereal maker recently opened an office in Shanghai and has exported to China for more than eight years. Sanitarium said it has teamed up with Taiwanese TV star Alyssa Chia to promote the new Nutri-Brex label, which will be sold in more than 1,500 stores in China and multiple e-commerce channels.  "Currently online sales, predominantly through Sanitarium's flagship store on Alibaba's TMall platform, represent more than half of all sales of Sanitarium product in China," the company said.

Sanitarium said there is a growing trend among consumers in China "for Western-style breakfast cereals from aspirational international brands with strong health and food safety credentials". "This was demonstrated in May this year by the response to a Weet-Bix product placement on popular Chinese TV soap, Ode to Joy. In the immediate aftermath, sales in mainland China soared, vastly exceeding forecast expectations."

Sanitarium said "while the size of the Chinese breakfast cereal market is difficult to quantify", its 2015-16 breakfast cereal sales increased by approximately 50% and the company "conservatively forecasts similar growth in 2016-17".

Last year, Sanitarium took its flagship cereal brand Weet-Bix into the breakfast biscuits market in Australia with the launch of Weet-Bix Go biscuits.