IT attracted more publicity when it couldn’t be made than when it was freely available, but the much-hyped “Marmageddon” is over.
The yeast spread Marmite returns to New Zealand shop shelves on Wednesday after production at Sanitarium’s Christchurch factory was knocked out by the February 2011 earthquake.
It started as a simple warning by the company to ration Marmite as it was unsure when tricky production of the spread could resume.
But the shortage gained a life of its own as people sold their jars online and bemoaned the shortage.
Sanitarium has said the shortage was not a marketing stunt.
Massey University’s head of marketing, Professor Malcolm Wright, in the early days of the shortage, said the limited stock was good publicity.
There would have been little risk to the brand if the shortage was short-lived but it dragged out to 15 months.
Sanitarium is now urging people not to “freak” and is laying promotion on thick for Wednesday’s return.
You could be forgiven for thinking it is the second coming.
But during its absence, Sanitarium, which is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has also attracted criticism.
It has viciously protected its Marmite brand during the shortage.
It settled out of court with a Christchurch man who tried to import more than 1900 jars of British-made “Ma’amite”, and Sanitarium also wanted his spread destroyed.
The religious organisation has also copped criticism for not paying tax because of its charitable status.