Weetabix has admitted that it is importing “small amounts” of European wheat to help ease the production problems caused by last year’s poor harvest.
On Saturday The Grocer revealed Weetabix had halted production on all but one line of its Weetabix Minis and Oatibix Bites citing “technical issues” caused by the low density of last year’s wheat harvest. It said it was investing in “significant” engineering work to resolve the problem and full production was expected to resume shortly.
However, in a statement issued to The Grocer today, the company said that while it is committed to sourcing all of its wheat from the UK, weather permitting, “because of last’s year cold and wet weather, a small amount of wheat has been sourced from outside the UK due to those exceptional circumstances. This does not change our long-term commitment”.
“It is only due to exceptional circumstances that Weetabix have had to source from outside of the UK,” a spokesman added.
Last Thursday a different spokesman had told The Grocer that last year’s damp weather was likely to carry over to this year, but that Weetabix’s commitment to the UK went further than UK sourcing, as wheat came from 50 miles from the factory at Burton Latimer, “weather permitting”.
“If we need to go further afield, we will, but Weetabix are committed to the UK and there is no chance of policy,” he said.
The Grocer is seeking clarification on when Weetabix started to source non-UK wheat and how much it is importing.