South Africans have been wondering why all of a sudden it is difficult to find Marmite on the shelves if big supermarket chains. The answer does not need a genius as the blame should be directed to the ban of alcohol that has been witnessed in the past 20 or so months.
During the various stages of lockdown less beer has been brewed than in previous years and that contributed to the low volume of Marmites being produced.
The current shortage of Marmite is not something new as there has been on and off shortages which started in 2020.
Pioneer Foods, owners of Marmite released a statement confirming the current shortage of the product.
“Our yeast supply was constrained with the alcohol ban during lockdown and the production of Bovril (that uses significantly less yeast to produce) was prioritised,” it said. “Supply has since been restored; however, we are still trying to catchup [sic] on the demand to fill the empty pipeline. In addition to the yeast challenge we experienced a national shortage of one of the other raw materials, which is key to produce these products.”
“Based on the above challenges, we are focussing [sic] only on the production of 250g Marmite & 250g Bovril until these SKU’s [sic] are fully recovered.”
SKU is a Stock Keeping Unit, or barcode.
“Stock on Marmite has started filtering back into distribution depots and Marmite is back on limited shelfs and we will continue to filter back on shelf during October,” it continues. “We will continue to take the month of October and November to build stock of the 250g Marmite & Bovril Jars. Once 250g stock are fully replenished, the 125g will be targeted for production.
“We are monitoring the process to ensure that stock returns to all depots as soon as possible to service.”
SAB also confirmed that during the strict lockdown they brewed less beer which resulted in less wet yeast to sell to Pioneer Foods.
“This is one of many examples of the impact of alcohol bans, and demonstrates wider-reaching consequences than one would expect.
“Volumes were only significantly impacted during the first lockdown in March 2020. We made significant strides during the other lockdown periods where yeast was available at lower volumes," said Sphe Vundla, Brand Director: SAB Corporate.
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