Vegemite Vs Marmite

Vegemite vs Marmite: Two Iconic Spreads

Vegemite vs Marmite have been staples of Australian, New Zealand, and British cuisine for over a century. These two food spreads, made from yeast extract, have become so popular that they have even been the subject of national pride, with people from each country fiercely defending their spread of choice.

While they share similar ingredients, the taste, nutritional value, and legal status of these two spreads differ significantly. In this article, we will delve into the history, nutritional value, controversy, and comparison of Vegemite and Marmite.

vegemite vs marmite

The History and Origin of Vegemite and Marmite

Vegemite was first produced in Australia in 1922 by a chemist named Cyril P. Callister, who was working for the food company Fred Walker & Co. It was originally marketed as “Pure Vegetable Extract” and was intended as a cheaper alternative to the British spread Marmite. Vegemite gained popularity due to its strong and salty taste, as well as its association with Australian nationalism.

Marmite, on the other hand, was first produced in the UK in the late 19th century. It was developed by a German scientist named Justus von Liebig, who discovered that yeast could be concentrated and used as a food supplement.

Marmite was marketed as a “food for invalids” and was later adopted by the British armed forces during World War I as a source of vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Vegemite and Marmite

Yeast extract spreads like Vegemite and Marmite are generally rich in vitamin B complex, which is essential for energy metabolism, nervous system function, and healthy skin and hair. They also contain iron and folic acid, which are important for red blood cell production and DNA synthesis.

However, the nutritional value of these spreads can be affected by the addition of salt and sugar, which are often used to enhance their flavor. In fact, Vegemite has been criticized for its high sodium content, which can contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems if consumed in excess.

Despite these concerns, there is some evidence to suggest that yeast extract spreads may have health benefits. A study published in the Journal of Food Science in 2016 found that Marmite consumption may improve brain function due to its high levels of vitamin B12.

Another study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2002 found that yeast extract may help lower cholesterol levels in people with mild hypercholesterolemia.

vegemite vs marmite

Controversy Surrounding Marmite and its Legal Status in Different Countries

Marmite has been a source of controversy due to its legal status in some countries. In 2011, the Danish government banned the sale of Marmite and other yeast extract spreads, claiming that they contained too many vitamins and minerals.

The ban sparked protests and outcry from British expats, who claimed that they were being denied a taste of home.

In New Zealand, Marmite was temporarily taken off the market in 2012 due to damage to the factory caused by an earthquake. This led to a nationwide shortage of the spread, which forced retailers to limit sales and led to panic buying and hoarding.

In the UK, Marmite has also been the subject of controversy due to its association with Brexit. In 2016, the spread’s manufacturer Unilever attempted to raise prices due to the depreciation of sterling, leading to a “Marmitegate” scandal and a run on the spread in supermarkets.

Comparison of Vegemite and Marmite

When it comes to taste, Vegemite and Marmite are often described as similar but distinct. Vegemite has a stronger and saltier taste, while Marmite is milder and slightly sweeter. Marmite is also thinner in consistency, while Vegemite is thicker and stickier.

In terms of nutritional value, both spreads are rich in vitamin B complex, but Vegemite contains higher amounts of sodium. Additionally, Marmite has been shown to have higher levels of vitamin B12.

When it comes to choosing between Vegemite and Marmite, it ultimately depends on personal preference. While both spreads offer nutritional benefits, they should be consumed in moderation due to their high salt content.

Vegemite may be a better choice for those who prefer a stronger and saltier taste, while Marmite may be more appealing to those who prefer a milder flavor.

vegemite vs marmite


In conclusion

Vegemite and Marmite are both iconic spreads that have played a significant role in the cuisine and culture of Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. While they may share similar ingredients and nutritional benefits, their taste, consistency, and legal status differ significantly.

Ultimately, the choice between Vegemite and Marmite comes down to personal taste and preference, but it is important to remember that these spreads should be consumed in moderation due to their high salt content.


1. Can I use Vegemite and Marmite interchangeably?

No, Vegemite and Marmite have distinct flavors and are not interchangeable. However, Marmite can be used as a substitute for Vegemite in recipes that require a strong flavor.

2. Is Vegemite vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, Vegemite is vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

3. How should I eat Vegemite and Marmite?

Vegemite and Marmite can be spread on toast, sandwiches, or used as a seasoning in soups and stews.

4. Are Vegemite and Marmite the same thing?

No, Vegemite and Marmite have different flavors and are made by different companies.

5. Are Vegemite and Marmite healthy?

Yes, both spreads are high in vitamins and low in fat. However, they are high in salt, so moderation is key.

6. Why is Vegemite considered an iconic Australian food?

Vegemite has been a staple food in Australia for nearly a century and is deeply embedded in Australian culture. It is often referred to as “black gold” and is part of the Australian identity.



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