Bread should be back on shelves

Bread supplies in the Nelson region should be back to 100 per cent today following shortages at the weekend when a Christchurch bread plant broke down.

George Weston Foods, one of two major bread suppliers to New Zealand, supplies 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."

She said there were a couple of shortages of some bread lines yesterday, but everything should be back in the stores today.

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

Ms Geange said Quality Bakers, the other main New Zealand bread supplier which has a factory in Nelson, was informed of the crisis and told to top up.

She believed that Quality Bakers may also have sold out of bread due to demand.

"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.

Ms Geange said staff worked incredibly hard at the weekend to get the factory up and running.

Fresh Choice Nelson dry goods manager Jo Kinzett said the bread shortage had minimal effect on the store. There were some gaps on the shelves on Sunday, but there was plenty of Quality Bakers bread available.

"There were some lines out of stock, but it wasn't a huge disruption."

She said there were signs at the supermarket saying there was a major breakdown at a factory in Christchurch.

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 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."

The Nelson Mail