'Love it!', Aussie Vegemite fans hail Marmite mess in Britain

Jars of Marmite, a brand of Unilever, are displayed for sale on a shelf at a Tesco supermarket in Basildon, Britain on Oct 13, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australians have dipped into Britain's woes about its famous Marmite spread with relish, reigniting the long-brewing rivalry with Down Under's iconic Vegemite.

The battle of the yeast extracts escalated this week when Marmite was yanked from supermarket shelves in Britain over a price dispute as the pound plunged.

"Don't panic about the @marmite shortage @GREATBritain! Your Australian cousins shall send supplies of our superior @Vegemite#Marmitegate," tweeted Sydneysider @dominicpatters.

"Come on people. Just accept that #vegemite is far superior to #marmite," chimed fellow Australian resident @cairnsrachel.

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco halted sales of Marmite, the yeast extract which is mostly eaten on toast and is known for the "love it or hate it" slogan, and other top Unilever brands on Wednesday over a price dispute.

While Unilever later said the supply issue with Tesco had been resolved, the humour was lingering on social media.

"All these people saying Vegemite is a replacement for #Marmite are indulging the very worst toast-truth politics," tweeted one wit.

In New Zealand, the British crisis revived memories of the country's own "Marmageddon", which began in March 2012 after the Christchurch factory manufacturing the salty spread had to close due to earthquake damage.

At the time, Prime Minister John Key complained his personal supplies were dwindling and jars of New Zealand Marmite - which is a different recipe to the British version - sold online for up to NZ$80 (S$79) a jar as desperate Kiwis sought their breakfast fix.

In response to the British shortage, New Zealand rower Eric Murray tweeted a picture of himself looking somewhat smug with a huge jar of the local version to fellow Olympic champion Will Satch after the Briton complained he might have to "go Aussie" and try Vegemite.

Other Kiwis, such as Anthony Hood, were more sympathetic.

"To my UK brethren. Do not fear the temporary loss of marmite you will survive as NZ did," he tweeted.

"Things may get crazy but it won't last forever."

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