SPREAD THIN: At right, a shocking image supplied by keen NBR reader Hamish Rutherford (@oneforthedr). It was taken at New World, Newtown in Wellington. NBR correspondent Rob Hosking there are also Marmite-free shelves at a second New World in the capital, at Chaffers Park.
Will supermarkets ration marmite? (And bear in mind the yeast extract has already appeared on Trade Me - creating a black market, if you will. Early Tuesday morning, bidding had hit $64.)
iPredict is taking bets on whether or not there will be rationing of Sanitarium Marmite at one or more of Progressive Enterprises or Foodstuffs’ Countdown, PAK'nSAVE, and/or New World supermarkets.
A contract began trading at 2.30pm yesterday. Early trading indicated less than a 35% probability, though sentiment was turning slowly but steadily in the direction of Marmite panic. By early Tuesday morning, 90% saw a probability of rationing.
iPredict Administrator Oliver Ibbetson says the launch of the contract follows statements by Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden that the company is running short on the iconic product after earthquake damage to its Christchurch plant stopped production.
While the company is confident production will be back to normal by mid-July and is urging consumers not to “freak out about it”, Mr van Heerden has urged them to ration the product and spread it on toast rather than bread, arguing that: "With toast, it's a little bit warmer so it spreads easier and it goes a little bit further."
The iPredict contract will pay $1 if, before 1 August 2012, Foodstuffs and/or Progressive Enterprises publicly announces, or confirms to iPredict, that restrictions are being placed on the amount of Marmite a customer may purchase on a single visit to a Countdown, PAK'nSAVE, and/or New World supermarket.
To pay $1, rationing needs to be implemented in only a single Countdown, PAK'nSAVE or New World supermarket, and confirmed by the relevant company, Foodstuffs and/or Progressive Enterprises.
The price of the contract at any given time will indicate the probability there will be rationing at a supermarket.