Did you know there’s a shortage of marmite in New Zealand?
As a result of earthquake damage suffered last year, New Zealand’s only marmite manufacturer, Sanitarium, had to close its only production facility. The company hopes to have the plant up and running again in October, according to its Facebook page, but in the meantime supplies are slim to none. Even the Prime Minister, John Key, admitted he was rationing his supply by spreading his marmite a little thinner.
For those who haven’t tried marmite, it’s a spread made out of yeast extract that’s usually eaten on bread, toast, or biscuits. There are similar products sold in different parts of the world, including Vegemite in Australia, Cenovis in Switzerland, and Vitam-R in Germany. A recent study called marmite a “super food” since its high niacin content was shown to be effective in fighting superbugs. But another recent study recommended that people should avoid high doses of marmite without medical supervision since it can cause skin flushes and liver damage.
This dire marmite shortage even has a name — “Marmageddon.” The Kiwis obviously want their marmite! Which finally brings us to the trademark story …
A British importer, Rob Savage, has been bringing the British version of marmite to New Zealand for almost a year. Right now he’s got 2,000 jars of it stuck in New Zealand Customs due to the fact that Sanitarium claims that selling it in New Zealand amounts to trademark infringement. Savage told The Telegraph: “British people ask me to bring the Marmite in – if they didn’t require it I wouldn’t bring it in. Kiwis don’t like British Marmite. There’s no clash and the two products are totally distinguishable.” He claims that the products are clearly different — the jars being held display the product’s name as “Ma’amite” in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.
Sanitarium says it has held the trademark to Marmite since the 1920s. The company’s general manager commented about the current issue: “We’ve spent a lot of money protecting the brand, making it an iconic Kiwi brand.”
Meanwhile, as this trademark conflict continues, the jars are still being held in Customs.
Speaking of marmite, does anyone remember which famous pop star had this to say about it?:
“I would do anything for my children. For sure. Except have a marmite sandwich — my daughter’s insistent that I eat one, but I won’t! Vile…”
Check out the answer here.