Sanitarium Health Food Company was registered as New Zealand’s first health food company in April 1898. It was established as part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in New Zealand to promote and produce plant-based health foods based on its belief that plant-based diets provide optimal health as outlined in the biblical model (1). Worldwide, the Church operates health food industries and health-care services based on this philosophy.
Today, that belief is backed by decades of scientific evidence on the health benefits of grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts and Sanitarium remains committed to the purpose of our company – to support the Seventh-day Adventist Church in helping New Zealanders enjoy healthier, happier and longer lives.
‘Changing lives every day through whole person health’
Sanitarium Health Food Company Purpose
Sanitarium’s purpose of ‘changing lives every day through whole person health’ is evidenced through the nutritious foods we make, the free nutrition resources and advisory service we offer the community and health professionals, our partnerships with charities in our efforts to combat food and nutrition insecurity. We’ve had a social purpose since the beginning - we wouldn’t exist without it.
Sanitarium also remains 100% New Zealand owned and operated. With a head office and food manufacturing facility in Auckland, Sanitarium employs a large workforce that spans the nation. We export our products to our South Pacific island neighbours.
In relation to Sanitarium's tax status, it is important to note the following:
- All of Sanitarium’s profits are transferred to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in New Zealand which in turn operates charitable activities which include educational and health services and community programs to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.
- Sanitarium is exempt from company income tax because it gives its profits to a charitable organisation. It pays other taxes that apply to New Zealand companies such as PAYE, FBT, and GST. For more information about the Charity Sector and taxation please visit https://www.charities.govt.nz/
- The 2008 Charities Commission review of the charity sector conducted in Australia where a similar charitable tax structure to New Zealand exists, concluded that Sanitarium does not gain a preferential position within the food industry as a consequence of its charitable taxation status. Sanitarium’s observation of the Sabbath which ceases all company activity from Friday afternoon to Saturday night - including manufacturing and marketing - was part of the rationale.
- Income tax exemptions are available to all companies and individuals in New Zealand who give to charitable purposes, are registered as charities and otherwise qualify for such exemptions.
- As a wholly owned New Zealand organisation, Sanitarium’s business operations benefit the New Zealand community and economy.
- Sanitarium contributes to New Zealand’s economy through the direct employment of 300 people, the purchase of New Zealand-grown ingredients, and working with many New Zealand businesses that help move products through the supply chain.
Before profits are transferred to the church, some of the ways Sanitarium cares for the community include:
- Over 29,000 students in more than 930 New Zealand schools receive a nutritious breakfast of Weet-Bix and milk through the KickStart Breakfast program KickStart Breakfast Club Through the collaboration between Sanitarium, Fonterra and the New Zealand Government, the program enables 122,000 breakfasts to be served every week, helping to improve focus, behaviour and energy levels among students.
- The annual Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon attracts thousands of Kiwi kids who swim, ride and run in the event designed to increase the self-esteem, resilience and fitness of children aged 6-15. More than 300,000 children have participated over the past 24 years
- In times of crisis, Sanitarium donates generously to the emergency food relief effort. Our recent partnership with Kiwi Harvest and the Food Network is testament to this commitment.
- For over 25 years, the World Vision and Sanitarium Youth Ambassador program has inspired and challenged young people to unleash their voice to create a more equal world. World Vision
- Sanitarium supports the Adventist Development & Relief Agency ADRA which provides family services and other community-based projects both nationally and internationally.
- Caring for the community is a core company value.
- Staff are encouraged to volunteer their time to help those less fortunate both in New Zealand and abroad, often within work hours.
- Our employee recognition program, the Spirit of Sanitarium Awards, sees a small group of award winners participate in a community development program with ADRA. These programs help vulnerable communities establish healthy and sustainable food systems with long-term benefits.
- Each October, Sanitarium staff are encouraged to dedicate working hours to fundraise for a common cause. The money raised by staff is then matched by the company.
For more information about Sanitarium’s social purpose visit www.sanitarium.co.nz/social-purpose