( dpa ) - Australians in Hong Kong are finding expatriate life harder to cope with due to a shortage of one of their favourite foods - Vegemite, a news report said Sunday.
Supplies of the bitter-tasting black spread have run out across the city of 6.9 million, where tens of thousands of Australian expatriate business people, diplomats and their families live.
Many families unable to do without Vegemite as a way of starting their day have resorted to getting relatives to bring in supplies when they come on visits, the Sunday Morning Post newspaper reported.
Schoolboy David Atkins, who attends the Australian International School, told the newspaper he was miserable after going for three weeks without his favourite spread.
"We have some now because Auntie Karen brought some up from Sydney, and they have plenty of Vegemite there," he said.
A spokeswoman for one of Hong Kong's two main supermarket chains Wellcome said suppliers had blamed the shortage on a change of the company that packages Vegemite for export in Australia.
But a spokesman for Vegemite's manufacturer Kraft told the newspaper the explanation seemed unlikely and promised: "Rest assured we will work to ensure Vegemite is back in Hong Kong as soon as possible."
British-made yeast extract Marmite, which looks similar to Vegemite but has a different taste, is still available in Hong Kong but many Australians refuse to accept it as a substitute.