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With Marmite Dwindling, New Zealand Freaks Out

It's Marmageddon! Earthquake shut down production of gooey black spread
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2012 11:56 AM CDT
With Marmite Dwindling, New Zealand Freaks Out
A customer takes a jar of Vegemite from next to an empty shelf where Marmite should be stocked in Auckland, New Zealand, Tuesday, March 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Sarah Ivey)

(Newser) – It's a time of unprecedented national crisis in New Zealand, where supplies of Marmite—the black, nationally cherished goo—are running dangerously short. Dubbed "Marmageddon," the shortage is hitting even the highest reaches of government, with PM John Key noting that he has but a "very small amount in my office" and that "I'm going to have to go thin, I'm afraid." But Key has a back-up plan sure to infuriate his countrymen, snorts the Telegraph: "I've got to be honest, I can eat (Australian competitor) Vegemite as well," says Key. "I'm a consumer that can move between brands, I'm ashamed to say it."

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Marmageddon has its roots in last year's devastating earthquake in Christchurch, which shut down the country's only Marmite factory in November. With production unlikely to resume until July, store shelves are rapidly clearing, and Marmite manufacturer Sanitarium is begging consumers to use the yeast extract sparingly. "With toast it's a little bit warmer so it spreads easier and it goes a little bit further," declares the company's GM. And for those even thinking of hoarding: "People need to be considerate of their fellow Kiwis." Still, rationing is expected, and one online auctioneer was offering jars of the stuff for $50. (Read more New Zealand stories.)

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