Marmite crisis hits the Bay

By Sam Boyer

Marmite stocks in Tauranga supermarkets have sold out or are perilously low - and jars of the "black gold" have surfaced online at exorbitant prices.

Marmite-loving locals are now facing the prospect of months without their favourite spread after production was halted due to earthquake damage discovered at Sanitarium's Christchurch plant - the only place where Marmite is made. "Marmageddon" has arrived in Tauranga.

Yesterday, Mount Maunganui resident Barbara Tabot snapped up the last jar on the shelf of her local New World. And she was lucky to have found any at all. "I've been down to the Woolworths and Countdown at Bayfair and they had none. They said they sold out in the very early hours of the morning," she said.

New World Mount Maunganui had sold out on Monday but received one additional box of 12 yesterday. They were put on the shelf about 9am and Mrs Tabot bought the last one at midday. One man had bought six of the final 12. Mrs Tabot said she had received an urgent SOS from her granddaughter in Auckland to find some Marmite in Tauranga. "She text and said 'can you get some Marmite?' She eats [it] every day on everything. She won't eat anything else; she won't eat Vegemite," she said.

Glenis Fraser, from Te Awamutu, missed out on the last jar by a matter of seconds. She said she was in Mount Maunganui for the day and thought she would try her luck, having already bought out her home stores. She said she had already tried Pak'n'Save and New World in Te Awamutu, and Pak'n Save was only allowing sales of one jar per customer. Enlisting the help of a neighbour, though, she had managed to get her hands on two jars. "I got two ... [but] I was only allowed one. I've got family in Hong Kong with a standing order. I'll send one on," she said.

New World at Mount Maunganui and Brookfield are sold out, as are Countdown at Bethlehem, Fraser St and Bayfair.

Pak'n Save in Papamoa predicted yesterday they should have enough Marmite left to last until the end of the week. The store is rationing the spread to two per customer, saying they want to prevent people buying large quantities simply to make money off Trade Me. But Marmite jars are still popping up on the site, some for extravagant sums. One seller is asking for $799 for a 250g jar.

In the Bay of Plenty there are already nine listings, one with a $100 "buy now" option. One Tauranga seller is offering ten 250g jars for $250.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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