Face of the Day

A Christchurch mini-mart owner is prepared to take a Weetabix trademark stoush with Sanitarium to court.

A Little Bit Of Britain co-owner Lisa Wilson has declined an offer from the food giant to continue selling the British rival cereal, but with the name blanked out.

The proposal would settle an ongoing dispute over the similarly-named breakfast foods Weetabix and Weet-Bix. New Zealand Customs has detained 360 boxes of Weetabix, destined for Wilson’s store, for nearly a week at Sanitarium’s request.

In an email to Wilson last week, Sanitarium commercial manager Stephen Andrews suggested Wilson could “simply sticker over the trademarks on the products”.

“Once the agreement is in place we will be in a position to notify Customs to release your products for re-stickering,” he said.

Wilson won backing from the Riccarton Rd store’s former owner, Rob Savage, who battled Sanitarium over its Marmite trademark several years ago.

Savage won back a detained container of 2000 jars of his Ma’amite, a British Marmite labelled in honour of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, after it was seized in 2012.

The win was a “moral victory” and he hoped Wilson would stand her ground when Sanitarium flexed its financial muscles, he said.

“I hope she’s got the bottles, and the monetary side, to fight.

“It cost me nearly $20,000 and what worries me is [Sanitarium] will win the day just by them going ‘we’ve got loads of money’. That’s how they beat people,” he said,

Savage said customers would not confuse the two cereals.

“You’re never going to get Weetabix and Weet-Bix side by side. The supermarket put all the foreign food down its own aisle. If you can’t tell the difference between them … you should have gone to Specsavers.”

“We should stop terrorists and drugs, not boxes of bloody cereal.”

Which side are you on in this dispute, and why?


– Stuff