Marmite fans keep the faith

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 13:24 26/03/2012
mite
Timaru Herald
DEVOTED FAN: Kaden Gamblin, 4, of Temuka, will only eat Marmite.

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Marmite levels throughout the country are dangerously low, but loyal followers have not made the switch to Vegemite, say Kraft.

A Sanitarium announcement last Monday sparked a widespread rush to supermarkets, when it emerged Production on the Kiwi breakfast staple had to be suspended after earthquake damage to a cooling tower at the company's Christchurch factory rendered the nearby Marmite building unsafe.

Sanitarium said New Zealand's supply was expected to run out within weeks and production was not expected to recommence until July.

Now, supermarket chains have confirmed stocks are limited, but it would appear people were not looking to sate their appetite with Marmite's main competitor - Vegemite.

Kraft Vegemite brand manager Will Radford said so far there had not been an upsurge in sales since Sanitarium's announcement.

"It is currently too early to see the impact but it is business as usual for us; we have ensured that we have enough stock for our loyal Vegemite eaters," he said.

Foodstuffs, which own Pak 'n Save, New World and Four Square, confirmed their Marmite supply was close to running out.

Foodstuffs spokeswoman Antoinette Shallue said a number of stores had had their Marmite supply cleaned out.

"At this stage we have very limited stock available in some of our stores and in the distribution centres."

Progressive Enterprises, which own Countdown, have run out of Marmite in all their stores.

Meanwhile, more than 600 auctions for the yeast spread have popped up on Trade Me, with one 25kg bucket of Marmite attracting more than $850 in bids with five days to go.

Auctioning the mega haul on Trade Me, Gilmours owner Rick Donaldson said the bucket was unearthed from the depths of a storeroom, after it was pulled from the shelves more than a year ago.

Worth more than $200 retail, the highest bid stood at $102.23 at 11.42am, and Donaldson said all of the money from the auction would go to a charity of the winner's choice.

The auction closes at 5.08pm Friday.

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