New Zealand Weetabix Wars break out again in court

Published:  26 Sep at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
For the second time, a Kiwi store selling Britain’s favourite breakfast cereal is being attacked by a New Zealand company which makes a similar product.

In the main, British expats in New Zealand live a peaceful existence amongst some of the world’s most spectacular natural beauty, but are more than willing to get seriously riled up when their favourite British foods are unavailable. For the customers of Christchurch-based store ‘A Little Bit of Britain’, a Weetabix breakfast is a reminder of the long-gone good old days in the UK, with the store selling around seven boxes a day as a result.

Last year, a pallet containing 108 boxes of the popular cereal and was seized by New Zealand Customs and Excise after a rival local manufacturer complained their trademark Weet-Bix was being infringed. The seizure of the cereal provoked indignation and anger amongst Christchurch’s British expat community, resulting in far less than complimentary comments about the rival product as well as the hashtag ‘free the Weetabix’. Fans of Weetabix gave grisly descriptions of Weet-Bix’s flavour and appearance, and owner of A Little Bit of Britain Lisa Wilson told the media the two products couldn’t possibly be confused. In the end, Sanitarium, the makers of Weet-Bix, took the store to court under the trademark act, in spite of the fact that both cereals were invented in the 1920s by Australian Bennison Osborne.

Unfortunately, the judge decided to favour Sanitarium against the little local store, and ordered the destruction of the 108 boxes of Weetabix still languishing in New Zealand’s Customs and Excise premises as the store had breached the trademark act. He also ordered the store to cover up all labels on any Weetabix boxes it sells in the future. However, he did state there was no chance of customer confusion between the two products as Weetabix is only being sold in specialist stores serving the British expat community. Unsurprisingly, the judgement and the destruction of the 108 Weetabix boxes drew scorn as well as anger from New Zealanders as well as expats, with many saying they would boycott all Sanitarium’s products as a result.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive