Bread shortage after factory failure

Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013

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The South Island was on a low-carbohydrate diet at the weekend after supermarkets ran out of bread when a Christchurch bread plant broke down.

The bread shelves at both Countdown and New World in Blenheim were almost completely bare on Saturday and Sunday.

A Blenheim woman told the Marlborough Express yesterday the shelves were empty at 4pm on Sunday.

"There was no bread for school lunches," she said.

"My child had to go to school with pikelets instead."

George Weston Foods, one of two major bread suppliers to New Zealand, supply a range of bread including Tip Top, Ploughmans, Burgen and Pam's.

George Weston Foods marketing spokeswoman Sandra Geange said two machines that were part of the production line at the Christchurch plant broke down overnight on Friday.

The plant in Christchurch supplies South Island supermarkets while an Auckland plant supplies the North Island.

"There were issues of supply all over the South Island," she said.

"It was a big deal."

Bread was sourced from the Auckland plant on Saturday to top up some of the South Island supermarkets and bread retailers.

Geange said Quality Bakers, the other main New Zealand bread supplier, was informed of the crisis and told to top up.

"We were just really trying to give our customers bread," she said.

"We had similar issues with the Christchurch earthquake, so in a way it helped prepare staff," she said. "They worked incredibly hard over the weekend, some were onboard 24/7."

Two bread products remained absent from Marlborough supermarkets yesterday - Tip Top supersoft honey grain and Pam's multigrain - both of which were expected to be back on shelves today.

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- The Marlborough Express

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