NHS will stop serving WEETABIX in UK hospitals after Brexit price rise

Two of the UK’s healthiest and most popular breakfast cereals will no longer be available to NHS patients following a price increase linked to Brexit.

Weetabix and Bran Flakes, as well as Alpen cereal bars, are being scrapped from patients’ menus.

One of the NHS’s procurement arms, NHS Supply Chain, warned hospitals that following a price increase levied by the manufacturer, seven products would be unavailable once stocks ran down.

The statement warned: ‘Given normal buying patterns this is expected occur week commencing 8 April 2019 for the fast moving lines.’

Weetabix

Weetabix

Bran Flakes

Bran Flakes

Have you had YOUR Weetabix? Not if you’re in hospital you haven’t. The NHS procurement arm has scrapped its orders with the firm, for Weetabix (left) and Bran Flakes (right)

You can’t have YOUR Weetabix: the seven lines no longer available in the NHS

NHS Supply Chain said that following a price increase the following lines would no longer be available after existing stocks were depleted, which it anticipated would happen this week:

Alpen cereal bars from Weetabix have also been pulled by the NHS

Alpen cereal bars from Weetabix have also been pulled by the NHS

Alpen cereal bars from Weetabix have also been pulled by the NHS

  • Cereal breakfast Weetabix (pack of 48)
  • Cereal breakfast Weetabix individual (96 x 1) single biscuit
  • Cereal breakfast Weetabix individual (48 x 2)
  • Cereal breakfast Bran flakes 500g
  • Cereal Bars Strawberry & Yoghurt Breakfast Bar [Alpen bar, made by Weetabix] 
  • Cereal Bars Fruit & Nut Chocolate Breakfast Bar [Alpen bar, made by Weetabix] 
  • Cereal Bars Fruit & Nut Breakfast Bar [Alpen bar, made by Weetabix] 

The statement from the NHS went on: ‘Potential direct and indirect alternative products are available to order through our online catalogue or through wholesale suppliers.

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‘Customers are advised to identify and purchase alternative lines.’ 

 After having failed three times to get her Brexit deal through Parliament, Theresa May last night had to beg the EU to extend the UK’s departure date from the bloc.

Mrs May begged fellow European heads of government to postpone Britain’s departure until June 30 while she talks to Jeremy Corbyn – but this was rejected, leaving the PM in a precarious position having repeatedly said she could not ‘countenance’ Britain staying in the EU after that date. 

This morning she accepted a flexible Brexit delay until October 31, meaning Britain will be able to leave before then if May passes her deal – but no renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement including the backstop will be possible during that period.

She also agreed to take part the European elections next month, which will cost the taxpayer up to £108million unless she gets a deal through Parliament by May 22.

In early 2017, then-chief executive Giles Turrell said Weetabix could become another consumer brand to raise prices as a result of the pound’s slump since the Brexit vote.

The breakfast cereal manufacturer said if prices were to go up, the increases would probably be in the ‘low single digits’.

During a BBC interview, Giles Turrell, the Weetabix chief executive, said price rises would be a ‘last resort’.

Although the company harvests wheat in Northamptonshire, it is sold in US dollars on global markets, meaning the cost in pounds to buy wheat in the UK has gone up.

Like other packaged food makers, it has been squeezed by the plunging value of sterling, which has raised the cost of imported goods or globally traded commodities priced in US dollars.

NHS hospitals will continue to be able to purchase the discontinued products from NHS Supply Chain while stocks last, the procurement team said. 

MailOnline has approached Weetabix, NHS Supply Chain and the Department of Health for comment. 

 

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