Sure, the value of the British pound has plummeted, and the United Kingdom's inflation rate is at a 20-month high, but Brits are only now starting to grapple with the truly serious consequences of their decision to leave the European Union. That's because British supermarkets are running out of Marmite, and the only thing to blame is the Brexit. The largest supermarket chain in the UK Tesco removed Marmite from its online due to a pricing dispute with Unilever, the manufacturer of Marmite. According to the BBC, Unilever was trying to increase the price of its products to compensate for the drop in the value of the British pound.
In response, Unilever stopped shipping Marmite and other Unilever products, including Hellmann's mayonnaise and Ben and Jerry's ice cream, to Tesco's brick and mortar stores. That refusal to deliver the goods is what's causing the UK Marmite shortage right now, and though the row started with Tesco, other British supermarkets have reportedly had similar issues with increased wholesale prices (but no other ).
In a report from UK's The Guardian, the chief financial officer of Unilever, Graeme Pitkethly, defended the corporation's attempts to increase wholesale prices by as much as ten percent as part of regular business practices: "We are taking price increases in the UK. That is a normal devaluation-led cycle." Pitkethly said that he was confident the dispute would be resolved "pretty quickly."
But until that resolution comes, it will be the breakfast-loving British public who will bear the brunt of the effects. And though Marmite might not be as universally beloved as rashers of bacon, the prices of which also increased by as much as 38 percent in this post-Brexit economy, the yeasty black-brown spread has a cult following. The folks who love it really love it, so there's been something of a public panic, currently being termed #Marmitegate on Twitter.
ITV even reported that one enterprising Brit was trying to sell a jar of Marmite on eBay for £100,000. But there's no need to start hoarding your Marmite and selling it on the black market quite yet. Tesco will continue to stock Marmite in stores until they run out or a resolution to this price dispute is found. And besides, there's always Vegemite ... right?
I guess not.