SA is experiencing a shortage of Marmite. Here’s why

Marmite lovers who have not been able to buy larger jars of the spread during lockdown can blame the Covid-19 pandemic.

The makers of the yeast-extract spread recently took to social media to announce that production had been affected by a shortage in brewers’ yeast. They said that as a temporary measure they had stopped production of all sizes of Marmite except for the 250g jar which is available in most major retailers.

This comes after Twitter user @trim_obey asked which retailers stock 400g squeezy jars.

Manufacturing executive of foods at PepsiCo SSA, Mandy Murphy, said the last five months have been tough at their Marmite factory because they were unable to procure any spent yeast, a key ingredient, during the lockdown.

Murphy said this was because two of their key suppliers of yeast in South Africa, the AB-Inbev and Heineken breweries, were not permitted to operate.

“As yeast is a live product, we are unable to stockpile it and hence the production unit had to stop functioning during that period. Once the lockdown started easing, the breweries were able to begin operating at full capacity again. It takes approximately two weeks for them to build up sufficient spent yeast at their production facilities. The good news is that Marmite production restarted on the 125g jar two weeks ago, and on the larger 250g jar in the first week of October,” she said.

Murphy said the product should start appearing on retailers’ shelves soon.

“Starting in November, Marmite will kick off a brand-new Marmite Mavericks campaign where South African Marmite lovers stand a chance to design the next limited edition Marmite label. Fuelled by inspiration from graffiti artists, tattoo artists and graphic designers, the campaign will celebrate the return of the mighty Marmite. We know that all the loyal Marmite-lovers in South Africa have been suffering from the shortage of their favourite spread, so we’re glad that the wait is almost over,” she said.