New Zealand faces shortage of beloved breakfast spread
March 20, 2012 -- Updated 0435 GMT (1235 HKT)
New Zealand is facing a Marmite shortage after recent earthquakes in Christchurch forced a halt to production.
- Earthquakes knock out New Zealand's only source of Marmite
- The salty breakfast spread is going for up to $60 online
- Its manufacturer say the next batch won't be out before July
(CNN) -- In New Zealand, it's being called "Marmageddon."
The island nation is facing a dwindling stock of the beloved Marmite spread after recent earthquakes in Christchurch forced the manufacturer to shut down the only factory producing the stuff.
A spokesman for Sanitarium, the maker of the salty breakfast spread, says it has now run out of Marmite and it can't make any more until July at the earliest. That's caused a run on Marmite at markets all around New Zealand -- and reports of panic among customers who love the spread.
Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden said people should face the hard fact that they'll need to conserve their Marmite and could try spreading it on toast rather than slices of bread out of the bag to make it last.
The company made the announcement Monday and has been surprised by the outpouring of concern.
"Supplies are starting to run out nationwide, and across the ditch in Australia," it posted on its website. "Don't freak. We will be back soon!"
The Countdown supermarket chain said that it has two to three weeks' supply on hand under normal conditions.
"We haven't seen any noticeable bulk-buying of Marmite as yet, but will not be enforcing a purchase limit," Murray Johnston, general manager for merchandise for Countdown's parent Progressive Enterprises, told CNN.
Statements like that might also be sparking a speculative Marmite rush. Bidders at online auction site TradeMe were willing to pay up to $60 New Zealand dollars ($50 U.S.) for a bottle, with some touting the thick paste as "Black Gold" in their listings.
One enterprising would-be Marmite miser was asking for $799 for a package, while others were trying to sell off half-empty containers as "emergency stashes."
Van Heerden says that he's not worried about Marmite fans defecting to rival Vegemite, from Kraft Foods in Australia.
"The differences between Vegemite and Marmite are quite significant," he said. "People have really strong feelings about the taste and a love-or-hate relationship with them."
He adds that he's not overly concerned about losing market share despite the prospect of being off the shelves for several months.
"We have a strong consumer base, and most are saying they will wait for us to come back with knives at the ready," van Heerden said.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories