Marmite is getting restocked on SA's shelves - but jars are disappearing fast
Breakfast host Refilwe Moloto chats to Martin Neethling, the chief marketing officer at PepsiCo Sub Saharan Africa.
- Marmite is slowly finding its way back to store shelves across the country after two years of limited supply
- The popular spread, which is made using spent yeast, was a casualty of the various booze bans during the COVID-19 pandemic
- PepsiCo, which owns the Marmite brand in SA, says stocks are expected to stabilise soon but demand still outweighs supply
The supply of Marmite is starting to stabilise across the country after two years of scarcity.
There was a national shortage of the savoury spread caused by the several alcohol bans introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marmite is made using spent yeast, a by-product that is produced during beer brewing process.
The forced closure of breweries in South Africa during the booze bans meant that Marmite production was put on hold.
The was also a global shortage of food-grade soda ash, another key ingredient in the production of Marmite, which exacerbated the situation.
PepsiCo, which owns the Marmite brand in SA, says the supply of spent yeast has stabilised and the Marmite factory is now operating day and night to meet demand.
"It has been a hurdle at every turn, but the good thing is that we are going now," says Martin Neethling, PepsiCo's chief marketing officer.
Neethling says the Marmite factory has introduced double shifts this week in order to make sure shelves are restocked.
"We're shifting bottles into every corner of South Africa as fast as we can," he tells CapeTalk.
We are in a recently good place now, we're certainly in the best position that we've been in for the last two years or so. We are rapidly trying to refill the pipeline and get marmite back onto the shelves.Martin Neethling, Chief marketing officer - PepsiCo Sub Saharan Africa
However, shoppers are still panic-buying Marmite when it appears on the shelves due to a "scarcity mindset", Neethling warns.
Although some retailers have introduced product limits on Marmite, it appears shoppers are clearing shelves fast.
The curious thing now is that I think there is a bit of a scarcity mindset because we see that consumers are grabbing bottles of Marmite as fast as it hit the shelves... As fast as the shelves are restocked, people are taking multiple bottles a time.Martin Neethling, Chief marketing officer - PepsiCo Sub Saharan Africa
We have stabilised the supply of spent yeast, which is the key ingredient... it's been the main problematic ingredient.Martin Neethling, Chief marketing officer - PepsiCo Sub Saharan Africa
We get our spent brewer's yeast from SAB and Heineken. The alcohol bans took them out completely. Because yeast is a live product, you can't stockpile it. Once the breweries get turned off, then those factories get turned off.Martin Neethling, Chief marketing officer - PepsiCo Sub Saharan Africa