Shoppers buy out savoury spread amid high demand


If you’ve spotted savoury spread Marmite on the supermarket shelves, you’d better act quick

That’s because the beloved food brand is fast selling out due to high demand. This, after spent yeast – a main ingredient in the item – faced shortages due to alcohol bans.


The good news is that the supply of spent yeast has stablised as of early May, according to Pioneer Foods which manufactures Marmite.

However, the bad news is that the product is in short supply due to high demand.

“As soon as the shelf is stocked, people buy up the stock,” the producer told Business Insider.

According to Pioneer Foods, the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 severely affected the supply chain of Marmite. This, due to alcohol bans amid heavy lockdowns in South Africa.

The recent flooding in KwaZulu-Natal also took a knock on the manufacturing process as the supply of yeast from the SAB brewery in Prospecton was hampered. A third factor – food grade soda ash, a neutralising agent used in the production of Marmite – was also in short supply as a result of factory closures in China.

But things are looking up for Marmite lovers.

Deborah-Ann Sharwood of PepsiCo Sub-Saharan Africa, which own Pioneer Foods, told the publication: “As of last week, the supply of spent yeast has stabilised.

“Stock has now started filtering back into retailers – however, there is a major pipeline of demand which needs to be filled. As soon as the shelf is stocked, people buy up the stock.”

According to Business Insider, retailers Woolworths, Pick n Pay and Spar noted a “limited supply” of Marmite, with the latter store, has issued limitations on the products for consumers.

To meet the demand, factories are implementing double shifts to stabilise stock levels at retailers.


Meanwhile, disgruntled South Africans have expressed their annoyance after fish paste brands Redro and Pecks Anchovette were discontinued earlier this year.

Pioneer Foods, which also produces Marmite, revealed that products are no longer in demand.

Once a firm household staple, fish paste sales dwindled in recent years due to changing tastebuds toward the minced fish recipe.

A Pioneer Foods spokesperson told Business Insider: “We communicated this to our customers, stopped production, and discontinued the sale of related items in December 2021”.


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