Why Weet-bix is the latest Aussie brand to take China by storm


Source: YouTube

Chinese markets are known to have a fondness for all things Australian, which now appears to have extended to breakfast food.

Australian breakfast food Weet-bix has become widely popular in China almost overnight, after it was featured prominently in Chinese TV drama Ode to Joy.

In the scene, the actress dishes up two Weetbix from a 1.4 kg value pack, and proceeds to tuck in.

The same size pack can now be found on Chinese e-commerce site Yoycart for US$34 US, almost A$50, according the news.com.au.

After the airing of the Ode to Joy episode, customers have been seen stocking up on Weetbix, with some wondering if the breakfast product was the next baby formula.

Since China experienced a baby formula crisis in 2008, Chinese parents have taken to importing the formula from other countries, including Australia.

This has lead to many local supermarkets imposing strict buying limits on the tins.

A similar phenomenon occurred recently, with lip care product Lucas’ Papaw Ointment also experiencing a jump in demand.

Weet-bix was created in 1926 in Australia, with creator Bennison Osbourne seeking a tastier alternative to Sanitarium’s ‘Granose’. Sanitarium then bought Osbourne’s company two years later.

These days, Weet-bix is a breakfast staple, and is considered an iconic food in both Australia and New Zealand.

Todd Saunders, general manager of Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing, told SmartCompany this morning Sanitarium has been “actively monitoring an increased demand for Weet-Bix both from our Australian customers and those that we export to in China” over recent months.

“We want to assure our customers that despite increased demand for Weet-Bix, Sanitarium has capacity to continue to supply our retail partners,” Saunders said.

“Of the 42 countries to which we export Weet-Bix, China is our largest export market. We are excited to see more Chinese people choosing Australia’s most loved and trusted cereal for their daily breakfast.”

Why Aussie brands are popular in China

Nick Henderson, head of partnerships and development at Asialink Business told SmartCompany the popularity of products like Weetbix in China is due to a “number of factors.”

“The ‘daigou’ phenomenon is a key driving point for the popularity of these sorts of products, as sellers promote them in their own personal networks, which brings implied trust,” Henderson says.

“There is also a growing recognition of the safety and the ‘clean and green’ nature of Australian products, which is becoming desirable amongst the growing upper-middle class.”

Henderson says the depiction of the breakfast cereal on the TV drama isn’t the first time celebrities have endorsed Australian products.

“There’s been a few situations where these products have been used by celebrities, and it popularises them very quickly and they become a bit of a fad,” he says.

“Any product owner or company need to invest adequately in building brand recognition in China, and getting your product endorsed by a celebrity can help that.”

As for the high price of the wheat biscuits, Henderson says that it is “not sustainable.”

“We’ve seen it in the past with products like Bellamy’s and Blackmores, they rise initially and over a period of time settle to about twice their Australian retail price,” Henderson says”

“Once more people jump on the bandwagon, the price will go down.”

The episode of Ode to Joy that features Weet-bix:


Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Colin Spencer
Colin Spencer
5 years ago

Best way to export Aussie wheat. Value add it first. Great work, Sanitarium. I worked in the Warburton factory for two years from 1959 before going off to study accountancy. Hard yakka in those days, but a fantastic experience working for a highly ethical company. Of course, in the years since, just about all processes have been automated and centralised. Another example of technology replacing manual labour.

5 years ago

Well……. give it a week or two and they will start COPYING the weet bix ‘biscuit’ and commence pumping them out for their own profit and will not buy the Australian product. Heard about the Chinese buying into the ‘test tube meat’ development ? they are one of the bigger investors because of the fact they could then manufacture their own and stop buying and importing meat from the likes of Australia. Imagine the implications to the meat industry in Australia of this. No I do not think to highly of the Chinese.

SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: support@smartcompany.com.au or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.