What do Marmite and Vegemite have in common? They are both a yeast extract spread except they are made in in two different countries. They are also both loved and hated at the same time. Some love the taste of these rather interesting spreads while others are not too fond of it. Whether you are a fan of a foe of these spreads, they are here to stay. You can find them in their trademark glass jars with their distinguishing yellow lids but they are not made by the same company. Marmite is made by Unilever in the UK while Vegemite is made by Kraft in Australia.
Marmite was created entirely by accident during the late 19th century by a scientist from Germany named Justus Von Liebig. He discovered that brewer’s yeast could be concentrated, bottled, and eaten. The Marmite Company was started in 1902 and the name was based on the French dish Marmite, pronounced “Marmeet. Marmite was rationed out to British troops during several wars, including WWI. Marmite is loaded with B vitamins and folic acid, which is said to be beneficial to women, especially women who wish to have children. It is eaten not just on bread but also in soups, stews, and there are even products made with Marmite, such as Marmite coated nuts and Twiglets, which have a Marmite flavor.
Unlike Marmite, Vegemite was created intentionally, by a chemist named Cyril P. Callister. He was hired specifically by Kraft, which was known as the Fred Walker
Company in the 1920s, to develop their own brewer’s yeast spread. There was a nationwide contest in Australia to name this new product. The name Vegemite was submitted by Fred Walker’s daughter and it was chosen to be the new product name. Unfortunately, Marmite overtook the Australian yeast spread market which led to Vegemite to be briefly renamed to Parwill. After several years as Parwill, the name was changed back to Vegemite. Like Marmite, Vegemite was sent to troops overseas thanks to the high nutritional content and was rationed back on home territory. Decades later, Vegemite has become a staple in every Australian home. It’s not only used on toast and on crackers but there are many Vegemite recipes. Can you imagine a cheesy Vegemite toast?
Whether you are British, Australian, or just curious about yeast extract spreads, give Marmite and Vegemite a try. It’s a taste adventure in every bite!