New Zealand breakfast food has become a hit in China after Weet-Bix was featured prominently in a popular Chinese TV drama Ode to Joy.

Sanitarium is capitalising on its overnight popularity, and will this week be launching a digital marketing campaign that includes high-profile Chinese actress Alyssa Chia.

Chia will be filmed experiencing an authentic Kiwi breakfast and the footage will be used on Chinese social media platforms.

International marketing manager Mark Roper said Weet-Bix will be marketed in China from the middle of next month as Nutri-Brex.


Weet-Bix has been available in China for more than eight years, but demand spiked after it was featured on the programme, which has several hundred million viewers.

"The product sold in China will be identical to Weet-Bix as it is produced in the same factory with the same recipe and ingredients," Roper said.

"The appearance on Chinese TV helped push the rate of sales growth ... we expect the new brand to be just as well received in China."

In one scene, an actress dishes up two Weet-Bix biscuits from a 1.4kg value pack and has them for breakfast.

It had an overnight impact on sales, with Chinese customers rushing to supermarkets and stocking up on Weet-Bix.

Weet-Bix was created in 1926 by Bennison Osbourne in Australia as a tastier alternative to Sanitarium's Granose.

Osbourne's company was bought over by Sanitarium two years later.

Today Weet-Bix is considered and iconic breakfast staple both in New Zealand and Australia.

Roper said the Chinese market tended to serve Weet-Bix differently from Kiwis, often topping it with hot milk.