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'Marmageddon' over as New Zealand shops restock Marmite

File image of shelves bereft of Marmite in New Zealand
Image caption Marmite supply in New Zealand was scarce last year

Marmite has returned to supermarket shelves in New Zealand for the first time in over a year, after shortages caused by the Christchurch quake.

The February 2011 quake damaged the only factory in the country that produces Marmite, forcing it to close.

Stocks then dwindled, leading to shortages dubbed "marmageddon" by media, from early 2012.

The factory has since reopened, with food company Sanitarium thanking consumers for "not freaking out".

Sanitarium Marmite uses a different recipe than the English version of Marmite, manufactured by a different company.

It was first brought to New Zealand in the 1900s but the country came up with its own version, which has its own distinctive taste. Australia also has a similar product called Vegemite.

The shortage led to complaints from many New Zealanders, including Prime Minister John Key.

"You've rationed, you've scraped, you've survived marmaggedon - and now the wait is over!" Sanitarium said on its website.

"Thanks for not freaking out and for waiting patiently for the black gold's return."

The Marmite factory was scheduled to re-open by middle of last year but faced unexpected delays.

Even with its return, some supermarkets in New Zealand were rationing supplies to two jars per customer in the face of high demand.

Kelly Moddy, a supermarket store manager, told Fairfax they had limited supply. "All other supermarkets in the country are in the same boat," she said.

But customers said they were happy with the spread's return.

"I've tried the alternatives but they're just not the same, so I've had to have jam or peanut butter on my toast," consumer Robyn Lonergan told Agence-France Presse news agency.

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