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AUSTRALIAN FOOD AND RECIPES

Vegemite

Vegemite is uniquely Australian and a fair dinkum Aussie icon with 90 percent of Aussies having a jar in their pantry. Vegemite is a nutritious product, one of the richest sources known of Vitamin B.

One of the most popular ways to eat Vegemite is to toast some bread, butter it and then spread on the Vegemite. If an Aussie is being honest with you, they'll admit that it's an acquired taste. With Vegemite, you either love it or can't stand it. Our experience has been that if you're raised eating it when you're very young, you generally like it as an adult.

We don't know of anyone who ate it for the first time as an adult and liked it. In fact, when we've tried to get people visiting Australia to try it, they can't get past the strong smell to try it. An American friend once told us that Vegemite looked and smelled like dried soup mix that comes in packets. With that image, I can understand why we couldn't get her to try it. In any case, we love it!

See also on our website  Happy Little Vegemites Song

History of Vegemite

Vegemite had its beginnings when a young chemist named Dr Cyril P Callister developed a remarkable new spread from brewer's yeast. Over time it has become an Aussie icon despite originally receiving a poor reception by the public and slow sales.

Vegemite was produced at the Fred Walker Cheese Company. It's one of the world's richest known sources of Vitamin B. It appeared on grocers' shelves in 1923 as a delicious spread for sandwiches and toast and to improve the flavour of gravy, soups, and stews.

In 1939 Vegemite received endorsement from the British Medical Association which allowed doctors to recommend it as a Vitamin B-rich, nutritionally balanced food for patients. This helped boost sales and public acceptance.

Since World War II Vegemite has travelled with our soldiers for its nutrition and to provide a taste of home. Demand was so strong during the war that it often meant Aussies at home had go without it so their soldiers would have enough. 

Did you know . . .

Can you guess what product was the first to be electronically scanned at a grocery store in Australia? Vegemite of course. In April 1984, a 115g jar of Vegemite priced at 66 cents was scanned in Woolworth at Chullora NSW.

Vegemite is found in 90 percent of all Australian homes resulting in over 22 million jars being sold every year. It has truly become an Aussie icon.

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