(Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Jars of Marmite (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
  • South Africa is experiencing a shortage of Marmite, which is a byproduct from brewing beer.
  • The alcohol sales ban meant brewers' yeast was in short supply.
  • Marmite will only be back on shelves in two weeks, a spokesperson said. 
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Supplies of Marmite have been running in low in South Africa, a hangover of the alcohol ban during the first phases of lockdown.

The popular spread is made from concentrated yeast extract, a byproduct from brewing beer. 

Many shops have now ran out around the country, and a spokesperson of  PepsiCo, which owns the Marmite brand in South Africa, told Business Insider SA on Monday that stocks will only be back on shelves, nationwide, in approximately two weeks.

“The last five months have been tough at our Marmite factory because we were unable to procure any supply of spent yeast, a key ingredient, during the lockdown period," says Mandy Murphy, manufacturing executive for foods at PepsiCo Sub-Saharan Africa. "This is because two of our key suppliers of yeast in South Africa, the AB-Inbev and Heineken Breweries were not permitted to operate.”

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“As yeast is a live product, we are unable to stockpile it and hence the production unit had to stop functioning during that period,” adds Murphy.

The alcohol ban was lifted (for a second time) in mid-August, but it took some time for the breweries to began operating at full capacity again. Production of the 125g jars of Marmite re-started in mid-September, and the larger 250g jars were added in the first week of October.

But production is not yet at full capacity, and it will still take some time before stocks reach stores. 

READ | Bread in SA may now stay fresher for 2 to 3 days longer after govt okays new ingredient 

Marmite fans have expressed their frustration on social media:

The UK experienced a similar shortage of Marmite earlier this year, as the closure of pubs during its lockdown affected beer production volumes. 

Marmite was invented in 1902 by the German scientist Justus Liebig, who realised that brewers’ yeast could be concentrated to create a meaty food flavouring

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