'Marmageddon': There's always Vegemite, says PM

By NZ Herald Online staff

Manufacturing of the popular breakfast spread has been halted by earthquake damage to Sanitarium's Christchurch plant. Photo / Alan Gibson
Manufacturing of the popular breakfast spread has been halted by earthquake damage to Sanitarium's Christchurch plant. Photo / Alan Gibson

Prime Minister John Key is among thousands of Kiwis having to ration their Marmite, as 'Marmageddon' enters its second day.

Supermarket shelves around the country are being stripped bare of the popular breakfast spread, after production was halted due to earthquake damage discovered at Sanitarium's Christchurch plant - the only plant where Marmite is made.

Sanitarium is urging consumers not to "freak out" as it works to relocate its Marmite manufacturing facilities to a safer part of the Christchurch site.

But it is asking consumers to ration their Marmite use while supplies are spread thin.

Mr Key said he too will have to spread thin to ensure his supply lasts.

"I only have got a very small amount in my office and once that runs out I'm aware supplies are very short."

However Mr Key told Firstline this morning that he also likes the Australian-made rival Vegemite.

"I've got to be honest, I can eat both."

Jars of the black gold have already been listed on Trade Me, with bids for a 250g jar at $63 this morning, with proceeds going to Cure Kids.

Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden said people should consider spreading it on toast rather than uncooked bread to make it last.

"With toast, it's a little bit warmer so it spreads easier and it goes a little bit further," he told Radio New Zealand.

"So what we're asking consumers is maybe if they could have their Marmite on toast, ration it a little bit, maybe have it only once a day or every second day until such time as we can have full Marmite stocks back out in the marketplace again."

Mr van Heerden said there was still some stock in retailers' distribution centres and on supermarket shelves.

"Certain sizes have totally run out and last week, at the end of last week, we sent our last stocks out to the distribution centres of the retailers."

But he urged consumers not to "freak out about it".

"We will get Marmite back, we will be producing it in New Zealand, it will be the same product that we've all come to love."

Mr van Heerden said a manufacturing tower at Christchurch the plant had been severely damaged in the earthquakes and was in the process of being deconstructed.

"What we've been doing since we discovered that is working really hard and our prime focus has been to make sure we can get our Marmite plant relocated into a safe area on-site."

Deconstruction of the tower was proceeding well, he said.

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