1899 Introduction of Granose, predecessor to Weet-Bix

Granose flaked wheat biscuits were first made by Kellogg in the USA in the mid-1890s. In May 1899, the first Australian Granose biscuits were made at Cooranbong, NSW, by the Sanitarium Health Food Company, an arm of the Seventh-day Adventist church. The biscuits were unsweetened, but proved popular and were purchased by the Australian Government during WWI to help feed the troops.

The Kellogg brothers revolutionised the way the world ate breakfast. Seventh-day Adventists and strict vegetarians, they operated a health retreat they called their Sanitarium at Battle Creek, Michigan. The brothers began producing a range of grain-based foods for their inmates, the first being a mixture of grains they called Granola. They then developed a process of flaking the grains (patented in 1894)  producing Granose flakes. Later the Kellogs began to press the wheat flakes into Granose biscuits.

Sanitarium was founded in Australia by members of the Seventh-day Adventist church.  Initially, Kellogg’s products such as Granola and Granose were imported from the USA but it was quickly realised that local production would be more practical. Equipment, including a Granola mill, biscuit press and biscuit cutter, was imported from the USA and the first locally made Granose were produced in 1899. In 1901, Sanitarium began a second manufacturing operation in New Zealand.

After World War I, increasing competition saw consumer preferences move away from Granose to the rival Vita-Brits from the Cereal Foods Company. They were just like Granose, but sweeter. The purists at Sanitarium resisted the temptation to add sugar to their product, but a break-away group of Seventh-day Adventists formed a new company called Grain Products Limited and promptly began producing a slightly sweetened and malted product called Weet-bix.  In 1928, Sanitarium gave up the fight and purchased Grain Products, making Weet-bix their leading brand. The rest is history.

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