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Weetabix - the Breakfast Cereal

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Weetabix spelling out the letters 'h2g2'.

Weetabix is a popular British breakfast cereal. It was first produced in 1936 by Weetabix Ltd in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, England. Weetabix Ltd is now owned by the American food company Nabisco.

For a few years after Weetabix was first made, it was distributed only to small towns near the factory in Northamptonshire. It became popular and demand grew - soon, people all over England were eating Weetabix. It is now exported to over 80 countries worldwide, and in Britain it outsells Kellogg's Cornflakes. It has earned three Royal Warrants: Her Majesty The Queen, Her Majesty the Queen Mother and His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. It won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2004 and a Slimming Award in 2005; since 1987, Weetabix has sponsored the British Ladies Open Golf Tournament.

What is it?

Weetabix is a wholewheat cereal that is manufactured in biscuits of a rectangular shape with curved ends1 measuring approximately 3½ inches long, 2 inches wide, and half-an-inch thick. They are packaged stacked up inside paper or plastic sleeves which are in turn packaged inside a rather attractive bright yellow and blue cardboard box. You can purchase boxes containing 12, 24 or 48 biscuits.

The recommended serving size is two biscuits, though you can eat more or less if you prefer. Weetabix is relatively healthy cereal and many parents favour them as a breakfast for their children instead of other cereals that contain much more sugar and salt. Weetabix provides your diet with carbohydrates, fibre, potassium, whole grain, vitamins, minerals2 and a small amount of protein. It is also suitable for vegetarians. The complete ingredients3 are:

  • Wholewheat
  • Dehydrated cane juice
  • Barley malt extract
  • Sea salt
  • Ferric orthophosphate (iron)
  • Sodium ascorbate (vitamin C)
  • Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
  • Zinc oxide (zinc)
  • Thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1)
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Folic acid, which is very important for pregnant women. Intake of folic acid before and during pregnancy can reduce risk of birth defects.

Each week, Weetabix Ltd manufactures 70 million biscuits, using 1,700 tonnes of wheat.

How should you eat it?

There are a few different ways to eat Weetabix. The most popular is the traditional cereal-eating method: in a bowl with milk4 (hot or cold), optional sugar, honey or the sliced-up fruit of your choice. You can either break up the biscuits into smaller chunks, or you can leave them whole. Though do keep in mind that it is very absorbent and goes soggy very fast. So if you like the Weetabix to retain a certain degree of crispness, its not a good idea to pour the milk on, then frantically search the kitchen for a spoon, crawl around the floor looking for the milk cap, put the box away, pause to wipe up a spot on the kitchen table, suddenly realise that you forgot to put the sugar in, search for the sugar bowl, stop to find a fire extinguisher to put out the grease fire that started because you weren't paying attention to your eggs and bacon on the stove, and then finally sit down to enjoy a now disgusting bowl of soggy mush.

Other options include eating it with yoghurt and fruit, or heated and topped with butter and/or jam. The outside of the boxes often show recipes for things such as muffins, in which you may include Weetabix.

Helpful Hint

If you do choose to eat your Weetabix using the traditional method, a point to keep in mind is that you should immediately wash out the bowl when you are finished. This is because the leftover bits will soon dry up and firmly stick to the inside of the bowl, making it extremely difficult to clean later.

1Or 'right cylinder with a round-ended rectangular cross-section' if you want to get scientific.2Like most cereals, Weetabix is fortified with vitamins and minerals, meaning that they were added, not naturally occurring.3Some versions, particularly in North America, use all organic ingredients.4Soya milk also works fine as an alternative.

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