Marmite’s a funny thing. In the UK I pretty much grew up on Marmite. Nothing else compared. Since moving to New Zealand, I’ve managed to train myself to appreciate either NZ Marmite or even Vegemite, but when I try the UK version again, it tastes a bit odd in comparison.
Why am I rambling about Marmite? Well unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few days, you’ll have heard that New Zealand Marmite supplies are dwindling. The Christchurch factory (who knew it was only made in Christchurch?) has sustained enough earthquake-related damage to mean that it has had to shut down until repairs have been made. A spokesperson for Marmite has said that production may only re-start in July of this year.
In the meantime, the public has been flocking to supermarkets to stop up on the black gold. Many supermarkets are starting to run out. Countdown, bless ’em, have said that people should buy Vegemite instead. That works for me (like I said, I’m fairly interchangeable), but for real Marmite fans, suggesting they buy Vegemite is like telling Holden fans to just support Ford, or Crusaders supporters to support the Blues … or even telling people that leave the toilet roll with the end facing front to leave it with the end facing the wall. Ok that last one could just be me and my wife.
Trade Me Auctions Commence
Auctions for Marmite on Trade Me have been cropping up all over the show. Many of them are even just for Marmite jars that are half-eaten and have breadcrumbs and traces of butter in them. I believe a 1.5kg jar has reached triple figures so far.
However! There is one Trade Me action that makes all others pale in comparison. And that auction is for … a 25kg BUCKET of Marmite! 25kg!! That’s the same weight as your average domestic bag of concrete and I’m not even joking!
Specifically, the auction is for a 175g tub of Marmite that happens to come with a 25kg bucket of the stuff, just so you can “refill your prized purchase within the comfort of your own home”. I think it’s a fantastic idea. Forget just filling your own tub, you’ll be able to keep your neighbourhood in supply with a bucket that size! The best before date is in August which means you should have a nice margin of safety for Marmite’s own production to start up again in July.
Unlike these other auctions, the profit from this auction will go to charity. Good on you, Gilmours (Gilmours are running the auction … did I mention that? They’re a wholesale food and beverage supplier on the north island).
Alternatives to Marmite
Marmite not your thing? Well, one of the obvious alternatives is to head down the Vegemite track (seriously, this whole thing is fantastic publicity for both Marmite and Vegemite).
Another alternative is to buy the UK stuff. British Marmite can be bought in New Zealand but there was obviously a bit of a punch-up regarding the ‘Marmite’ name, and the UK version lost (woot! Go New Zealand!). Check out this old Marmite TV ad that aired in England when I was growing up. Brilliant.
You can find the British stuff in the shops here under the name ‘Our Mate’, based on the British advertising campaign, ‘Our Mate, Marmite’. It seems a few people get the name mixed up with ‘My Mate’ (perhaps it was actually ‘My Mate, Marmite’??) but the below photo of the jar in question shows otherwise.
An imported jar of British Marmite thanks to my awesome sister-in-law:
A jar of Our Mate on sale in a New Zealand supermarket:
What’s your favourite?