Weetabix Invests in UK Manufacturing Sites but Warns of Potential Price Hike


31 Jan 2017 --- Cereal giant Weetabix has announced a £30 million (US$37 million) capital investment program across its British manufacturing sites which will create a new production capacity by 2018 to keep pace with increasing sales domestically and overseas. The investment comes on the back of Weetabix’s UK market share for cereals and drinks rising from 15.3% to 16.4% in the past year.

However, Giles Turrell, the chief executive of Weetabix, said prices of Weetabix could rise, although this would be a last resort and any increase would be minimal. 

Even if Weetabix wheat is sourced from the UK, it is priced in dollars and the weak pound means more investment to buy the cereal grain. 

Just last week Weetabix reaffirmed its commitment to sourcing wheat from farmers located within a 50 mile radius of its factory in Northamptonshire, England, but nevertheless the commodity is still priced in dollars. 

The overall level of inflation rose by 1.6 per cent last month, up from 1.2 per cent on the previous month. 

He made the comments about a potential price increase caused by the fallout of Brexit while speaking to the BBC. 

The capital investment program relates to UK manufacturing sites in Burton Latimer and Corby and will lead to new jobs and follows the launch of Weetabix Protein which added £7 million (US$8.7 million) to sales in 2016, and was the biggest new cereal launch in the category.

“We’ve consistently bucked the market, through our innovation and focus on nutritionally strong products that taste great. 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,” says Giles Turrell, CEO of Weetabix Food Company.

The company employs 1,100 people in the UK, including 800 in manufacturing, and 1,800 globally.

The investment news was welcomed by Philip Hollobone MP for the Kettering Constituency.

“As someone who eats Weetabix every day I am delighted at this new investment in the local economy and am confident that Weetabix has a bright future ahead of it,” he said.

Alongside cereals, Weetabix runs a breakfast drinks business. Weetabix On the Go, 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. 

UK Plant Protection

Meanwhile the impact that Brexit may have on UK plant protection is being explored in the latest edition of Horizon reports from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). It looks at the various pieces of legislation impacting the use of plant Protection Products (PPPs) in the UK and puts forward four broad options for post-Brexit regulation.

PPPs currently go through a harmonized process throughout Europe, with active substances receiving general approval at EU level and specific product uses controlled at national level. Strict hazard-based criteria mean about 58 per cent of applications are rejected by the EU, which has implications in terms of time and associated costs.

The number of available PPPs and their efficacy are being pressured by an increasingly challenging regulatory environment and the growing resistance of pests, diseases and weeds to products now on the market.

“There is immense complexity in this area of regulation in terms of the UK’s obligations at both EU and international level. Although plant protection may not be at the top of the priority list for negotiators, the continued supply of safe and nutritious food is of fundamental importance and these products are often key to growing healthy and profitable crops,” says Sarah Baker, AHDB Senior Analyst, who wrote the report.

“In the short term, it is likely not much will change as wider Brexit issues are more likely to take precedence but the industry cannot treat it as business as usual. The UK must start thinking about what it needs to achieve through plant protection and what might be gained from a new regulatory framework. 

“This will involve balancing myriad interests, including the UK’s reputation in the global marketplace, how UK farming and growing businesses remain economically viable, environmental considerations and customer preference.”

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

UK: Children consume way too much sugar despite cutbacks over the last decade, PHE survey finds

19 Mar 2018 --- Children in the UK are consuming way too much sugar, according to the government latest data, and although figures show a reduction compared with a decade ago, much more work needs to be done to encourage a healthier diet.

Food Ingredients News

Start-up focus: Taking insect protein into America’s snacks pantries

19 Mar 2018 --- Most Westerners shudder at the prospect of eating insects, but attitudes towards them vary dramatically across the globe. In fact, around two billion people already eat bugs as part of their diet. As the global population continues to rise, more and more people are looking for insect protein as a sustainable food source. Not only do many insects, including crickets, contain all nine essential amino acids, this type of protein is also sustainable, especially in comparison to traditional meat sources. It takes one gallon of water to produce one pound of insect protein. Almost two thousand gallons of water, by contrast, are poured into every pound of beef that lands on a plate. US-based start-up Chirps Chips is on a mission to educate Western society on the benefits of insect protein in a corn snack.

Packaging & Technology News

KHS launches new wide-neck PET containers as lightweight plastic trend continues

16 Mar 2018 --- German giants of filling and packaging solutions for the food and beverage industry, KHS, have launched a new lightweight, wide-neck PET container suitable for sauce, dressing and dairy products. The company has cited the growing preference for lightweight plastic over glass containers within the food industry as the inspiration behind the new launch.

Business News

Landmark decision: Unilever simplifies corporate structure, snubs UK and opts for the Netherlands

15 Mar 2018 --- In a blow to Britain in the runup to Brexit, consumer goods giant Unilever is simplifying the company’s corporate structure into a single legal entity in the Netherlands – chosen as the best location to transform Unilever into a “single, agiler and focused business.” Unilever has been weighing up whether to headquarter in London or Rotterdam for quite some time, sparking debate over the impact that Brexit is having on business decisions – and has now finally reached a decision, choosing the Netherlands over Britain.

Packaging & Technology News

Microplastics found in 11 major global bottled water brands

15 Mar 2018 --- Landmark discoveries from New Orb Media have found potentially harmful plastic particles in the water bottles of 11 leading global brands, including Dasani (Coca-Cola), Epura (PepsiCo), Aqua (Danone) and Nestlé Pure Life and San Pellegrino (Nestlé). Exclusive testing was conducted on more than 250 bottles from nine different countries, with 93 percent found to have contained plastic debris the size of the width of a human hair, including polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

More Articles