Sanitarium celebrates significant milestones

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2018 is a big year for Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing, which is celebrating three significant milestones.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church-owned health food company notched up 120 years in April, while two of its most popular products, Weet-Bix and UP&GO, are celebrating their 90th and 21st birthdays, respectively.

April 27, 1898 was the date when the Sanitarium Health Food Company was officially established in Australia. This was also the year when the first sales in New Zealand began with product imported from the United States.

In April 1899, the Cooranbong (NSW) factory opened, making peanut butter. In those days the factory wages were one shilling (10 cents) a day and the manager received 2 pounds per week.

The Cooranbong factory.

Other significant years include: 1900—production commenced at Christchurch (NZ) with Granola Cereal and Caramel Cereal; 1902—first Sanitarium health food store and café opened in Sydney; 1928—the company purchased Grain Products and the rights to Weet-Bix in Australia; and 1945—production of Marmite began at the Christchurch factory.

Reflecting on the 120-year history of Sanitarium, CEO Kevin Jackson said the company’s health mission is just as relevant today as at any time in the past.

Christchurch packing staff.

“Throughout our history we have focused on supporting positive health choices by providing genuinely healthy foods, by promoting the health benefits of a plant-based diet and by providing the community with health information and programs to support those choices,” he said.

“We pioneered healthy foods and production of plant-based meat alternatives. Beyond that we have provided health education to both the community, health professionals and advocated at government level for dietary standards and regulatory changes to enhance and preserve community health.

First Sanitarium van in NSW c1927.

“More recently we have entered the corporate sector, with leading edge lifestyle modification and intervention programs supported by digital platforms.”

Mr Jackson said Sanitarium, at its core, has a genuine and authentic approach to making a real and lasting difference to people’s health and wellbeing.

“I find this hugely motivating and feel challenged with the incredible legacy we have been entrusted with to take it forward and use it to positively impact the health of the next generation.”

Happy 90th birthday Weet-Bix!
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