Vegemite is a savoury spread that contains no animal products, that has become a symbol of Australia, in Australia, and around the world. Vegemite and Vegemite-flavoured products are sold extensively in Australia and in many other countries around the world. Vegemite is possibly the most famous Australian food!
I’m an Aussie chef, married to a Brit. We’ve experienced British Marmite, Australian Vegemite, New Zealand Marmite and the British “Our Mate” sold in Australia. This post is about the yeast spread, Vegemite, an icon of my native Australia. What is Vegemite? How to use Vegemite and recipes that use Vegemite as an ingredient.
When was Vegemite Invented?
In 1922, in Melbourne Australia, a food manufacturer named Fred Walker engaged a local chemist to produce a yeast spread similar to British Marmite.
In the 50s and 60s the American company, Kraft, owned Vegemite. In 2017 it returned to Australian ownership when it was bought by Australian cheese company, Bega.
When was British Marmite Invented?
British Marmite is older than Vegemite.
British Marmite was first sold in 1902, so pre-dates Vegemite by 20 years. Marmite came into being because of beer production. Brewer’s yeast was in abundance and a German by the name of Justus Von Liebig developed the savoury spread for sale. Marmite was made by the Marmite Food Company back then in Burton on Trent, now it is produced by Marmite Limited and owned by Uniliver. (source). Unilever is a British multinational company.
Marmite is also a symbolic British Food.
When was New Zealand Marmite Invented?
The Marmite sold in New Zealand, under the name “Marmite” is different again. Sanitarium bought the rights to distribute British Marmite in 1908, but the New Zealand Marmite didn’t hit the shelves until 1910. So New Zealand’s marmite is older than Vegemite.
Which is Best, New Zealand Marmite, British Marmite, or Vegemite?
The three taste completely different. I could tell you which of the three I was eating easily, blindfolded. I must admit, I don’t really like any of them! My wife will only eat British Marmite and can’t eat the other two spreads at all. It’s personal taste, and what you grew up with.
How To Eat Vegemite?
Vegemite is a spread for bread or toast. You should butter your margarine or bread first, then add a thin coating of Vegemite spread. Vegemite on toast is a good way to eat Vegemite, or you can make a simple Vegemite sandwich. Vegemite is good in a cheese sandwich too!
Vegemite is never eaten by itself, straight from the jar, but it can be used as a savoury ingredient in many recipes, we share some further down this page.
Is Vegemite Banned in the US?
There is a myth or urban legend that Vegemite is banned in the US. There is no truth in this rumour with United States Customs and Border Protection saying that there is no such prohibition on the import of Vegemite for personal use.
The FDA did not issue an “Import Alert” and Australians entering the US were not being searched for contraband Vegemite. Check this information here. The controversy is over folate, which Vegemite naturally contains.
Australians have invented a whole host of recipes using Vegemite as an ingredient. Some of the best Vegemite recipes are in our list below.
Cheese and Vegemite Scrolls
Vegemite scrolls are so popular in Australia that they are produced commercially. You will see Vegemite scrolls in many supermarkets and bakeries. Get the recipe for this Aussie Vegemite treat here.
Vegemite Pasta Recipe
Can you use Vegemite with pasta? You bet, get a Vegemite pasta recipe here.
Vegetarian Vegemite Ramen
Can You Make Home-Made Vegemite?
Yes, surprisingly, you can make a home-made version of Vegemite using black tahini, coconut aminos, brewer’s yeast, extract of malt, salt and apple cider vinegar. These versions of Australian savoury spread are said to be healthier than commercially produced Vegemite as they don’t contain colour and flavour enhancers and is made with good quality salt, not commercial salt (which usually contains anti caking agent and fewer minerals). Get the recipe for a Vegemite substitute (vegan and gluten free) here. Sounds good to me!