14.10.2016 Word of the week: Marmite

This was the week that, according to some commentators, “Brexit finally got real”.

Was it because Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn clashed in the Commons over her plans to trigger Article 50?

Or perhaps because campaigners took their fight to have Parliament approve any Brexit deal to the High Court?

Well no, it was neither of those things, but something much more British – Marmite.

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Yes, love it or hate it (sorry) you couldn’t avoid hearing about the yeast-based paste this week as Marmite made headlines as part of a wider row between Unilever and Tesco.

The supermarket giant suddenly stopped stocking Marmite on its online store, along with a whole host of other Unilever-owned brands, after Unilever raised wholesale prices by 10 per cent.

The multinational consumer good company said it was raising prices in the UK to compensate for the sharp drop in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote. Tesco refused to pay.

Inevitably some people reacted with horror and panic at the thought that there might be a Marmite shortage, and before long #Marmitegate began trending on social media.

Tesco and Unilever finally managed to come to an agreement on Thursday night and Marmite was back on the online shelves.

But the damage was already done; #Marmitegate has brought home the stark realities of Brexit, and Britain will never be the same again.