April 4, 2024

Sanitarium Will Phase Out Products in Response to Changing Breakfast Trends

The New Zealand division of the food company is working to streamline its operations.

Adventist Record
The Sanitarium food company in New Zealand will cease production of its muesli, granola, flake, clusters, and puff cereals by June 2025. [Photo: Sanitarium New Zealand]

Sanitarium in New Zealand will cease production of its muesli, granola, flake, clusters, and puff cereals by June 2025 under a new proposal, as breakfast eating trends in New Zealand shift consumer demand.

If confirmed, the proposal will see the company move to streamline its product ranges to focus on growing iconic Weet-Bix, Weet-Bix Bites and UP&GO brands.

Sanitarium New Zealand general manager Michael Barton said research shows more than 20 percent of New Zealanders consume something in the morning besides traditional flaked breakfast cereal, mainly a hot drink or a portable liquid breakfast.

“Our sales for muesli, granola, clusters, Light ‘n’ Tasty, and puffed cereals represent just 10 percent of sales and have been declining steadily over several years,” Barton said. “The breakfast market is changing, and we have seen a global move away from some cereal formats. We need to align our production with evolving consumer appetites and demand trends.”

Barton said the granola, muesli, puff, and flake cereal production lines, which began production in the 1940s, would require a NZ$28 million (around US$16.7 million) building and plant upgrade to sustain production, which is not viable in view of changing consumer preferences and declining sales for this type of cereal format.

“If the proposal proceeds, it would mean the loss of 49 roles across manufacturing, logistics, and head office,” Barton said. “Our immediate priority is to work through the consultation period with our staff, ensuring they are fully supported through this unsettling and challenging time.

“We are like a family at Sanitarium, and considering this proposal was tough. We are committed to supporting and caring for all our employees. Our plan considers the phased disestablishment of 49 roles over the next 15 months. If the proposal goes ahead, staff impacted by the change would receive full entitlements, financial and personal counseling support, along with career support and advice to transition to other employment, if they are unable to transfer to other roles within the company,” Barton added.

The proposed 15-month plan would see production of Sanitarium Muesli, Granola, Light ‘n’ Tasty, Honey Puffs, Weeties, Weet-Bix Clusters, Cluster Crisp, and Puffed Wheat cease by mid-2025. However, the products will remain available in most major supermarkets or individual and bulk food services until then.

Popular products Skippy Cornflakes, Ricies, Weet-Bix, and Marmite will continue to be made at Sanitarium’s Auckland manufacturing facility.

The announcement applies only to Sanitarium’s New Zealand business as Australia does not carry this range of products.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.