Still no sign of Marmite's return

04:57, Oct 09 2012
MORE PLEASE: Sanitarium has hinted at good news for Marmite fans.

Marmite lovers have been dealt yet another blow with Sanitarium confirming the return of the Kiwi favourite has been delayed yet again.

Production on the breakfast staple was suspended in March after earthquake damage to a cooling tower at the company's Christchurch factory rendered the nearby Marmite building unsafe.

Repairs were expected to be completed halfway through this year with Marmite back on shop shelves by July. But  further inspection revealed more quake damage which pushed the date back to this month.

Now, seven months later, Sanitarium says tables could be left bereft of the favourite yeast spread right through November.

In a release to fans of Marmite's Facebook page, Sanitarium said repairs were progressing well, but refused to give a completion date.

"Reconstructing our Christchurch factory continues to be a complex project, as repair work continues to meet the new building codes.

"We still have some final interior work to complete before the repair and recommissioning of our production line throughout October/November so that the time-honoured craft of making and blending Marmite can begin."

Sanitarium general manager Pierre Van Heerdensaid earlier in the year that the decision was made to stop production altogether, rather than shift to a different factory, because no factory in New Zealand was big enough to keep up with New Zealand's demand.

The plant produced about 640,000kg of Marmite every year.

The announcement of the Marmite hiatus however, ignited a mad rush to supermarkets which were cleared of their Marmite stocks within weeks.

It was declared a "Marmageddon" and sparked a New Zealand-wide ad campaign from Sanitarium imploring Kiwis "don't freak" without their usual hit of the black gold.

In their statement today, Sanitarium begged for more patience.

"We know the waiting is tough and we are again asking you to understand that there will be a time lapse between the start of production and the availability of product on-shelf.  

"We have not set a back-on-shelf date yet as we anticipate we will have some production hurdles to overcome. As soon as we know when that will be, we will let everyone know via Facebook and the media. We'll keep you posted."

The Marmite Facebook page has more than 55,500 likes.