Saturday, 1 July 2017

Cereal Killers

This has to be one of the most ridiculous news stories I have read this week. 
There is a lady in New Zealand who supplies 'British' food to expats. 
Lisa Wilson's store "A Little Bit Of Britain" is based in Christchurch.She sells all those things that homesick Brits crave, which are not readily available in the Antipodean supermarkets   -
things like...Bounty Bars, Angel Delight, Hartley's Jellies, Fanta, Irn Bru, Robinson's Barley Water, Baxter's Scotch Broth, Heinz Tomato Soup, Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts, Horlicks, PG TIps, Marmite, Branston Pickle, Frank Cooper's Oxford Marmalade, Fray Bentos Tinned Meat Pies, Tiptree Jams...[note to self - do not emigrate to NZ, these are all foods which I enjoy]
Oh, and breakfast cereals - Dorset Cereals, Ready Brek,Scott's Porage Oats, Shredded Wheat ...
And Weetabix. And here's the problem - in New Zealand and Australia, there's a popular product called Weet-Bix. In fact they were both invented by the same guy, an Australian, Bennison Osborne, back in the 1930s. 
The manufacturers of Weet-Bix have complained. They say that this product in its cheery yellow box will confuse the customers and damage their sales. Yes, they are a multimillion pound company, Lisa sells less that 50 boxes a week. But because they complained, the NZ Customs Officials impounded her Weetabix at the docks.
The Guardian, who reported this story in the British press, asked their Oz team to test the two.
Our product won hands down.
There has been quite a backlash from people objecting to this action, and Lisa is gaining a lot of support.
If the case does go to court, I sincerely hope she wins her case, and these bullies have to compensate her.
Two comments
1- Weetabix is one of the few 'branded' breakfast cereals which I buy in preference to cheaper imitations. I can cope with multigrain hoops, muesli, and other cereals from the budget ranges - but nobody else's "Wheat Biscuits" taste quite the same as those made in Burton Latimer near Kettering,
2 - Bennison/benison is an old English word meaning blessing. Mr Osborne and his family were Seventh Day Adventists, and the company he worked for is wholly owned by the SDA Church. This company rejoices in the name of "The Sanitarium Health And Wellbeing Company". It is Sanitarium who are making all this fuss about a few little boxes of breakfast foods. Because the company is wholly owned by a religious organisation, they are exempt from paying taxes as they operate "exclusively for charitable purposes". I still cannot quite work that out.

Well, I am supporting Lisa, and hope the issue is resolved soon. And I would respectfully suggest that the SDA/Sanitarium crowd go home and read their Bibles, and think carefully about pursuing this one through the courts. Look what happened to the Giant Goliath when he encountered Young David...

[In other food related news, Bob had a rather unsatisfactory response this week when he wrote to the boss of Sainsburys about their recent decision to abandon the FairTrade scheme, so that issue continues]


  1. While I understand the tie to familiar foods, if you choose to emigrate to a country of your choice surely you should do so wholeheartedly. Embrace the food and culture of your new home, not cling to the old life.

  2. Same here for Colin and cheaper cereal brands - everything except weetabix.
    I could emigrate - only use PG tips out of that list - but they wouldn't have me as I'm too old and useless!
    Hope she wins her battle

  3. Well, there were English aisles in France, and we all rushed for the Marmite etc. Funnily enough and maybe without consulting the English, the shops stocked lots of Fruit mincemeat...all year round!

  4. Pam - I see your point, but I understand people missing the tastes of 'home'
    Sue - you may be past the age when NZ would let you emigrate but you are certainly NOT useless
    Elizabeth - amused by the mincemeat story. I did hear of a woman who tried to take marzipan to France and customs thought it was a Semtex type explosive.

  5. I agree with you to a point. one thing you may not know is that Sanitarium is a church charity - all their profits go into good works. Weet-bix is their big seller and I guess that is why they want to protect the brand. Cheers

  6. Having lived a year in Bali, I can confirm there are MANY things that one misses from home! What a sad story- how dare they be so churlish and selfish!


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