A fight over a popular spread you put on your toast for
breakfast is going to the High Court.
Food giant Sanitarium is battling a Christchurch importer over his British jars of Marmite.
Importing jars of the UK Marmite has left shopowner Rob Savage facing a yeast spread showdown in court.
"People are incensed by it. It's got the word Marmite on it. We're British, we're on a different piece of dirt. Sanitarium have got to realise there's life after their Marmite. And we've got it," Savage said.
But Sanitarium says they've got it and have owned the name in New Zealand for 90 years.
"It's an iconic brand in New Zealand and we need to protect our brand," said Pierre Van Heerden, Sanitarium New Zealand general manager.
Customs seized Savage's latest shipment of 2000 jars of Marmite last month, Sanitarium claiming the spread infringed its Marmite trademark.
"They're iconic, there's no confusion," Savage said.
"How is 1908 jars of Marmite going to affect their business? It doesn't affect their business. You can buy Kiwi Marmite in the UK and no-one bats an eyelid."
Sanitarium offered a deal whereby they would return the Marmite if savage covered all the labels and doesn't import any more.
"I'm not doing it because that will admit it's infringing. Like they want me to admit it's infringing. I don't think it's infringing. Infringing on a product they haven't got?," Savage said.
It is a product Sanitarium has not had for many months. Earthquake damage in the Christchurch factory brought the dreaded "Marmageddon". And it is still uncertain when shop shelves will be restocked.
"If we allow one importer to continue importing, we've got to allow others to do the same. So we've got to be even handed across the board," Van Heerden said.
Savage is vowing to fight Sanitarium's ban on the British brand
The "mar-mighty battle" will now be chewed over in a courtroom.