Weetabix said to be feeling pressure of struggling breakfast cereal market in UK

Weetabix said to be feeling pressure of struggling breakfast cereal market in UK

Weetabix has announced plans to cut staff pay and hours in the UK, a reaction believed to be prompted by increasing pressure from supermarket own brands and discount food retailers.

In a report carried by The Daily Telegraph, the Alpen, Ready Brek and Weetos owner has warned staff it needs to cut costs by millions of pounds within the next three months.

In an email to just-food today (7 April), a spokesperson for the firm confirmed: "The Weetabix Food Company is consulting with its trade union representatives to explore potential changes to shift patterns and associated payments."

Reports suggest Weetabix managers had been advised to tell staff sales at the firm were 3% lower than expected last year. As a result, plans for a 2.5% pay rise staff were promised had now been scrapped. Weetabix did not respond when questioned on this.

Trade union Usdaw said: "We have recently commenced on-going discussions with Weetabix in relation to a number of proposals put forward by the company."

The trade union declined to comment on whether the decision was due to Weetabix facing pressure from own brands and discount retailers and whether the 2.5% payrise would be scrapped.

Weetabix, majority owned by Chinese state-backed group Bright Food, is reported by The Daily Telegraph as saying: "Weetabix has always tightly managed its cost base in order to allow the company to drive growth. The breakfast category is dynamic, and the company needs to be able to adapt to meet the changing needs of today's modern families."

At the end of last week the firm was one of three companies reportedly mulling the acquisition of Wellness Foods brand Dorset Cereals.