A Weetabix spokesperson told BakeryandSnacks.com that the bars, which are manufactured at Weetabix’s UK factory in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, were already being shipped to China and the plan was to launch the range later this autumn in 2,000 stores across Shanghai.
She confirmed the six varieties in the range as green tea & dark chocolate, coconut & chocolate, strawberry & yoghurt, cranberry & raspberry, double chocolate and fruit & nut.
Weetabix settled on these flavour combinations after carrying out research among Chinese families.
“We’ve visited a number of families in their homes, as well as carrying out extensive in-market research through consumer polling,” said the spokesperson.
Whilst the traditional Chinese breakfast is hot and savoury, Weetabix is directing the cereal bars at “young professionals who lead busy lifestyles and are looking for high quality, imported goods”.
These are not the first Weetabix products to be exported to China. Striking a partnership deal with local food giant Bright Foods in 2012 gave the British cereal manufacturer access to a distribution network and Weetabix products are already exported to 2,000 stores in the Shanghai area, with plans for extended coverage over the next few years.
Until now, however, Weetabix has been targeting women who want to give their families a “healthy, high quality and convenient start to the day”.
The Alpen bars are also the first products Weetabix’s Northamptonshire lab have designed specifically for Chinese consumers - and are unlikely to be the last.
In an interview with this publication in March this year, Kevin Verbrugen, marketing manager for global brand development at Weetabix, said the company was developing a line of products suited to Chinese consumer trends and eating habits.
He said the company’s in-house research and development team had been working closely with Weetabix’s consumer insights team to develop products that were relevant, as the company knew Weetabix with milk was not a traditional breakfast concept there.