Alf noted with profound indifference a news item about Cantabrians getting a taste of Marmite this week.
He and Mrs Grumble have put Marmite on their boycott list.
They did this on learning about Unilever’s miserable response to a request for financial contributions to a bit of royal pageantry to mark Her Majesty’s 60th jubilee
In Britain, Marmite is made by Unilever.
Its disinclination to chip in with some money for the pageantry should ensure no-one involved with the company ever gets the whiff of a gong from Her Majesty.
It has also put Marmite on the Grumbles’ black list, even though they are aware a different company – the Sanitarium Health Food Company – makes Marmite under licence in Christchurch, apparently using a modified version of the original recipe.
But Alf digresses.
In this country, Merivale Mall’s Fresh Choice supermarket is reported to have about 900 jars of Marmite.
Some will be available to the public on Thursday in return for a donation to charity.
The supermarket was closed when Sanitarium said it was closing its Papanui plant, where Marmite was made, for earthquake repairs and that no more of the spread would be on shelves until the middle of the year.
Fresh Choice brand manager Liz de Lange said about 150 jars would be available to customers in exchange for a bank note that would be donated to the Christchurch Women’s Refuge.
The next bit of the report raises questions about the Christchurch Women’s Refuge, because it says the outfit has a brand development manager, a Julie McCloy.
A brand manager? What on earth for?
Anyway, she said the money was not earmarked for anything in particular, but may be used for a programme to make homes physically safer.
Other charities will benefit, too.
From next week, 36 jars of Marmite will be given away daily for the following fortnight. Every customer can enter the draw by selecting one of four charities Fresh Choice has nominated.
De Lange said that at the end of the fortnight, a portion of the Marmite stash would be divided between the four charities based on the customer votes.
Whatever the chosen charity decided to do with the Marmite was their choice, she said.
So the supermarket gets lots of brownie points for its generosity.
In Britain, meanwhile, in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Marmite has partnered with brand design firm Hornall Anderson UK to create the special limited-edition Ma’amite in observation of the royal occasion.
Featuring the Union flag anchored by Marmite’s familiar brand equities, the commemorative Ma’amite launched exclusively in Sainsbury’s on April 16th before making a broader splash in stores across the country.
Marmite’s makers and others are trying to outdo each other by celebrating the occasion.
A Marketing outfit has listed five of the best (including the Marmite initiative).
Kellogg’s cereal packaging has turned the clock back 60 years to mark the Jubilee.
The cereal giant has unveiled a range of limited edition collectors’ boxes which have been inspired by Kellogg’s drawings dating back to the 1950s, when the Queen came to the throne.
Bentley has launched a tailored edition of its Mulsanne luxury sedan to mark the occasion, Paddy Power is offering 110/1 odds on the Queen’s boat suffering a collision during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and Tabasco sauce maker McIlhenny Company is celebrating the Jubilee with a limited-edition pack.
But Alf figures these companies are hoping to cash in on the jubilee.
What about giving some of their money away to help fund the pageantry?
Sad to say, Mrs Grumble found the following bit of news about the jubilee highly upsetting (upsetting for royalty buffs like the Grumbles, anyway).
As the Diamond Jubilee river pageant sails past their office near Blackfriars Bridge, Unilever staff will enjoy an enviable view from the rooftop terrace.
The company, which has held a Royal Warrant since 1964, is cashing in on the Queen’s 60th anniversary celebrations with renamed products such as Ma’amite.
Yet the Anglo-Dutch concern, which made a £4billion profit last year, is not contributing a penny towards the cost of the event on the Thames.
Bloody tight-fisted tossers.
The Daily Mail went on to say they are among many blue-chip companies which have refused to help with the relatively modest £10.5million cost of hosting the event, attended by every senior member of the Royal Family.
In a statement yesterday a spokesman for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation said: ‘It’s a great shame that many British companies have not felt able to contribute to the pageant, despite so many of them hosting corporate events on the river during the day.
‘This has meant that some of the burden of fundraising has had to be met by private individuals in the UK and overseas, and it is these benefactors – together with a handful of companies – who have kept our fund-raising effort on track.’
The Grumbles, naturally, have sent an anonymous donation to this worthy cause.
The chairman of the foundation is the admirable Lord Salisbury.
He revealed that money had poured in from foreign firms – particularly those in the US, the Far East and Australia – and a small number of wealthy individual donors in the UK. But
… the response from British companies had been woeful and funds were still well short of the target.
This is bloody shameful.
Unilever confirmed it had decided not to cough up for the celebrations.
Its pathetic explanation was this:
Rather than one-off events, we focus on supporting UK communities in long-term projects, such as working with Oxfam in various parts of the country to improve the livelihoods, self-esteem and health of women and their families and helping young people to develop skills and self-esteem to improve their lives.
‘We aren’t hosting any corporate hospitality on the roof of the building during the pageant.
‘However, the area will be open to employees – as it is every day – and we will likely lay on some small-scale catering arrangements.’
Unilever is not alone.
British Airways, which is marketing £1,000-a time Jubilee holiday packages, is not chipping in for the pageantry either.
But it regularly flies the Queen and other members of the Royal Family on official trips abroad.
And it is cashing in by selling ‘Jubilee experiences’ – tourist packages which include entry passes to Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Kensington Palace.
Mrs Grumble has put BA on the Grumbles’ black list, too.