Marmite dispute for UK expat in NZ

Published:  6 Sep at 6 PM
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A British importer living and working in New Zealand is fighting authorities to get 2,000 jars of British Marmite, after the local variation of the spread’s manufacturer said that selling the good would fall under trademark infringement regulations.

The New Zealand version of the spread has been produced by food company Sanitarium for over 90 years, but the recipe used is different than its British counterpart and is said to have a weaker flavour.

UK expat Rob Savage, who manages a food import firm, has been having British Marmite sent to New Zealand for almost a year in order to satisfy the demand of other expats. However, two weeks ago, he was informed that a container of food products he had imported had been intercepted and held back by New Zealand Customs because Marmite that was in the delivery infringed Sanitarium’s trademark.

Mr Savage claims that the jars are worth roughly NZ$12,000 (£6,000) and insists that no trademarks are being breached as the two products are very different. The Daily Telegraph reported that British people want the British product and that locals prefer their own brand, so there should be no problems. He added that the two products have different labelling and taste completely different.

The move to hold the British Marmite back comes at a time when the New Zealand version of the product is short in supply after Sanitarium’s Christchurch outlet was damage and production halted following the earthquake in the city last year.
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