Return date for Marmite may come soon

Sanitarium is continuing tests on equipment at its Christchurch factory and says it hopes to be in a position to announce a date for Marmite's return to supermarket shelves next month.

"Our team have been very busy testing our production equipment and have been sorting out a few teething problems that are inevitable after the equipment has been out of use for so long," the company said in an update released today.

"The good news is that there has been good progress and after some more testing over the next two to three weeks, we hope to be in a position to announce a date for the return of Marmite."

Sanitarium has become wary of setting dates for the product's return after failing to deliver on previous statements regarding the resumption of supply.

Stocks of Marmite ran dry in March 2012 after earthquake damage resulted in Sanitarium's Christchurch plant - the only facility where Sanitarium Marmite is made - being shut down while repairs were undertaken.

Marmite was initially expected to return to shelves in July last year, but that date was pushed back to October after Sanitarium found further structural damage at the factory.

The date then got pushed out further with Sanitarium indicating that the factory would be up and running by Christmas.

In today's update Sanitarium said there would be a delay between the resumption of production and the product's arrival in stores.

"[Making] Marmite is not a straight-forward process - we need to make stock from various yeast supplies and then blend these together to get the unique Marmite flavour that Kiwis love. Once this is done we can pack it and then need to distribute Marmite around the country to the retail stores, which again takes some time."

Earlier this month Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden said the firm was confident consumers would return to Marmite, once supply resumes, from whatever else they had been spreading on their toast during the drought.

- Christopher Adams of the New Zealand Herald

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