By A.C. Cargill
One of the things I got “hooked” on in Europe was a cereal similar to Shredded Wheat called “Weetabix.” From the first bite, I thought, “Where has this wonderful stuff been all my life?” Well, I was surprised to learn that I needn’t have moved to Europe to enjoy this crunchy delight. It has been for sale in the U.S. since 1968.
Of course, Weetabix has been around a lot longer than that. It all started in Australia in the 1920s and was called “Weet-bix” (a shortening of “wheat biscuit”) by its inventor, Bennison Osborne. Around 1932, Osborne and his partner, Macfarlane, sold off the rights and went to Africa, forming the British & African Cereal Company Pty. Ltd., which became Weetabix Ltd. in 1936. They continued to make those flaky wheat biscuits, calling them “Weetabix” to distinguish them from the original product.
Weet-bix is still available in Australia and New Zealand but is not the same as the Weetabix products of today, since the product development of the two companies went different paths. In fact, I saw a message online from someone who had moved to Australia, was dissatisfied with the Weet-bix, and wanted some of the Weetabix she knew and loved. Alas, due to licensing issues, it is not available there.
Not a company to sit idly on its laurels, Weetabix Ltd. keeps adding to its product line. They have Muesli (a granola-like cereal), breakfast bars, bite-sized Weetabix, Ready Brek (made of finely-milled oats), and for you chocoholics their latest product, Chocolate Weetabix.
Company CEO Ken Wood studied engineering but followed advice to go into the food business, since we all have to eat. He’s only been with the company since 2004 but is quite dedicated to it, even consuming three Weetabix cakes for breakfast each day. It’s not as boring as it may sound. (My father ate Shredded Wheat or Wheaties Monday through Friday for breakfast.) Fruits, nuts, and yogurt are some of the toppings the company recommends.
Personally, I like my Weetabix with hot milk and diced peaches or fresh blueberries when available. Of course, that Chocolate Weetabix with some hot milk would be like wheaty cocoa. Then there’s the oaty Ready Brek that is heavenly with a bit of brown sugar or a little maple syrup. And they all go with a hearty black tea steeped up strong and smoothed with milk and a sweetener.
Nutritionally, you couldn’t ask for anything better if you tried, unless you tend to have gluten issues. Most of their products are also suitable for special diets (vegetarian, kosher, etc.).
Weetabix is also a company with a sense of humor. In May 2010, they sponsored an art competition involving sculptures made of wheat bales. Entries were such things as a huge bear eating a bowl of Weetabix, all made of bales.
Add some tasty nutrition and fiber to your diet with what has become a British tradition — Weetabix.
Stop by A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!