Vegemite!! Well, you all might keep hearing about this popular savory bread and one of the richest sources of vitamin B. but you never also might never tried of knowing about vegemite in depth!! So today, I have come up with this most famous bead spread in Australia to help you all know about its uses, nutritional facts, history, health benefits, and more.
Vegemite is the Australia’s national identity symbol as well as an exceptional Australian bread spread. Ninety percent of Aussies keeps a jar of vegemite in their pantry not only they have the craving towards it but it is also highly nutritional and rich in vitamin B. Over 25 million jars of vegemite is sold every year and since it is a richest source of vitamin B, even doctors and dieticians recommend vegemite to consume on daily basis to those who are in lack of vitamin B. Now let us learn what exactly is vegemite and its uses plus history.
What is a vegemite?
Vegemite is an Australian delicious food which is in market since 95 years and much loved by generations of Aussies.
Originally, vegemite is a delicious, black, thick, and dark-colored food spread. To our surprise, vegemite is made from brewer’s yeast. Yeast extract is the key ingredient for the magical and loved taste of vegemite. What is brewer’s yeast?
Brewer’s yeast is a by-product formed during beer production. Along with salt, vegetable extract, B vitamins, and malt extract from barley, yeast extract gives vegemite unique taste and flavour. Why vegemite is seems dark-colored?
Kate Gudorf, an accredited and practicing dietician explained that- yeast extract along with malt extract and caramel’s natural color gives vegemite a dark brown color. Gudorf also added, yeast extract is naturally appears dark in color and the 150d natural color, which is dark brown also adds dark color to vegemite texture. The demand and love for vegemite is still in demand and its price ranges four times more to the price of Nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread.
Vegemite is a commonly used spread by Australians on variety of breads such as pizza breads, burgers, sandwich breads, crumpets, and also works as one of the key ingredients in pastries. The good part about vegemite is no artificial colors and flavors are added.
Vegemite is a light spread that goes well on breads, crackers, and toasts along with a little amount of butter. “Lightly” is the concerned word as a little amount of vegemite goes a long way on the breads only because of its strong taste. Sometimes, vegemite is also used to add flavors to the meat pies, soup stocks, and meat and potato pies. A part from those, vegemite is also used to spread on the toast along with avocados, and cheese slices to make Vegemite soldiers for dippy eggs (soft-boiled eggs).
Vegemite is a thick, dark-reddish brown colored spread appears shiny when it is spread. As we all know it is made from brewer’s yeast, resulted from the process of beer. During fermentation, yeast consumes all the sugars from the beer and settles down. Further, it is removed as dead yeast, which is then washed and boiled in water. The dead yeast cells release nutrients while the water is spinned in a large centrifuge. Finally, the yeast cells are removed, reduced, concentrated, seasoned, and packed as vegemite for sale.
You can find Vegemite in different variations since it became most popular food in Australia. Let us what they are!
Vegemite Cheesybite: Vegemitereleased a new version with a formula that combines Kraft cream cheese and vegemite on 13 June 2009. Vegemite Cheesybite version is considerably tastes low salt and milder compared to the original.
Vegemite Singles: Vegemite singles is long back version released during 1990’s released by Kraft in Australia. This new version in 1990’s is made from two different Kraft’s major products such as vegemite and Kraft singles, thus creating a new flavour called vegemite-flavored cheese.
My First Vegemite
Kraft Foods Australia n 2011 launched ‘My First Vegemite’, which is a special formulation of original vegemite especially made for children over one year. Kraft disclosed that this special formulation adds more health benefits including B6 and B12 vitamins, iron, and 50% less sodium.
My First Vegemite was designed in response to the demand for spreads with less salt and sugar along with additional benefits. It has also got good reviews from media reports but still Kraft Foods Australia stopped production of My First Vegemite in 2012 due to poor sales in the market.
Vegemite Blend 17
Vegemite Blend 17 is a premium version of vegemite released by Kraft only for a limited period. It satisfied the richer bolder taste but at the double the price of standard value.
Chocolate and Vegemite
Chocolate and vegemite is a new version from Cadbury in April 2015. It is nothing but a chocolate flavored vegemite block. The formulation includes a combination of Cadbury’s Caramello block mixed with original vegemite with chocolate.
The other versions and products that have vegemite flavour available in the market include Bagel Crisps, Smith’s Crisps, In a Biskit, meat pies, and sausages.
History of Vegemite
In 1919, it was time of disruption of British Marmite (a food spread invented by German scientist and made from yeast extract but originally prepared in United Kingdom) imports after World War 1, an young chemist named Dr Cyril P Callister, an employer of the Australian company Fred Walker & Company had been hired and given orders to develop a spread using yeast extract being dumped by breweries.
In the process of developing a spread, Callister used autolysis method in order to break down the yeast cells that are obtained from the waste collected from Carlton & United Brewery. He made a thick, sticky black paste by concentrating the clear liquid extract, eventually blending with onion extracts, salt, and celery. Now the spread was ready but what is the name to be given to it!? Hence, the concerned team conducted a competition to find a name for the remarkable new spread from brewer’s yeast. Finally, the name’ “Vegemite” was given by the chairman of the Australian company, Fred Walker & Co., Fred Walker’s daughter Sheilah. Over time, this yummy and nutritious spread had become very popular and famous, which eventually made vegemite an Australian icon. Finally, vegemite appeared in the market and stores in 1923 as a delicious spread for toasts and sandwiches and also to improve the flavour of stews, soups, and gravy’s. Today, vegemite is one of the richest sources of vitamin B all over the globe.
During initial days of vegemite in the market, it was been advertised by highlighting the nutritional value of vegemite to children’s health but there was poor reception by the public and less sales. Later on during the period from 1928 to 1935, to counter the growing competition of Marmite in the market, vegemite manufacturers came up with an idea of changing name from Vegemite to “Parwill” with an advertising caption “Marmite but Parwill” but this attempt also failed to increase the sales. As a result of unsuccessful attempts, the name again changed back to Vegemite but still faced the lost market consequences.
As a new attempt to increase the vegemite sales, in 1925, the Kraft Walker Cheese Co. had been established by Walker in a partnership with J.L. Kraft & Bros Company to market processed cheese. In 1935, vegemite still facing the failure of market share and to promote vegemite sales, he used the victory of Kraft Walker Cheese. For two years Vegemite was given away for free along with some coupons and Kraft Walker Cheese products. In a two year campaign of giving away vegemite for free, sales responded and in 1939 finally vegemite was officially recognized by the British Medical Association as a good source for vitamin B. eventually, vegemite was also supplied as one of the main ration to the Australian Army Rations during World War II. During World War II, vegemite supplied to soldiers was classified into three sizes: half-ounce rations for behind enemy lines, eight-ounce tins for soldiers on the go, and seven-pound tins for the platoon. To explain the situation of limited civilian during war time, advertisements like below were in the market:
“Vegemite fights with the men up north! If you are one of those who don’t need Vegemite medicinally, then thousands of invalids are asking you to deny yourself of it for the time being”
Following two years, the Kraft Walker Cheese Co. held a poetry competition in order to promote market sales and hence once again brought this product into the national spotlight. Surprisingly, this attempt brought successful sales and the prizes distributed in the competition were imported American Pontiac cars. Entries flooded in and sales multiplied!!
Vegemite’s increased popularity was helped by many marketing and promoting campaigns written by J. Walter Thompson advertising in 1954. To achieve the success in promoting vegemite sales, they used smiling and attractive healthy children singing a catchy song, “The Happy Little Vegemite Song”. You can see the song below.
The Happy Little Vegemite Song
We are happy little Vegemites as bright as bright can be,
We all enjoy our Vegemite for breakfast, lunch and tea,
Our mummy says we’re growing stronger every single week,
Because we love our Vegemite,
We all adore our Vegemite,
It puts a rose in every cheek!
The song was first streamed on radio in 1954and then telecasted on television after two years in 1956. Until late 1960’s, the advertising campaign through song was continued.
Did you know?
Here are a few interesting facts about Aussies obsession on Vegemite.
1) Vegemite is in nine out of ten pantries in Australia
2) A sandwich made of Vegemite served to an Australian kid is the equivalent of an American peanut butter and jelly sandwich to an American kid – but there is a lot of difference in taste and therefore considered both are QUITE different!
3) Vegemite is a unique fair dinkum Aussie icon and represents Australia’s heritage as much a part of kangaroos and Holden cars contribution to the nation.
4) This obsession and high craving to vegemite by Australians made vegemite a loved and unique symbol of the Australian nation.
5) The Australian infants are brought up by feeding on vegemite since the time they are born.
6) It is well-known that Australians travel around the globe carrying a small jar of vegemite in their luggage because they are in fear of unavailability of vegemite in new places.
7) 22.7 million jars of Vegemite are manufactured in Australia every year – that’s 235 jars per minute.
8) 35 jars are sold in Australia for every one exported.
9) A 5g serving of Vegemite contains as much as 173mg of sodium, which is nearly half a gram of salt.
10) Since it is said that vegemite is high in salt content and not good for elderly, the makers of vegemite introduced a new version i.e. low-salt version, which is made with less amounts of sodium to encounter the high content of sodium in the original recipe.
11) The first product of Vegemite (a 115-gram (4.1 oz) jar) was electronically scanned at a checkout in Australia in April 1984.
12) Bega Cheese’s (formerly Mondelez’s) Port Melbourne is producing over 22 million of vegemite jars in Australia every year. Now vegemite outsells Marmite and other similar spreads in Australia. The billionth vegemite jar was produced in October 2008.
13) New Zealand had also produced vegemite for over 50 years but now the production of vegemite from New Zealand is ceased.
Is Vegemite healthy and good for everyone?
This is the common and important question raises by the health professionals and common people all over the world. Let us take a look whether vegemite is really healthy or not.
We all already learned that vegemite is made from brewer’s yeast extract, which is a common ingredient used in making beer. A part from yeast extract, you do not find any other main ingredient listed on the vegemite labelled bottle and the manufacturers also say that they prepare vegemite free of flavors, added sugars, and colors.
The salty black paste or spread is a rich source of B vitamin along with a spoonful of riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. You can also find fifty percent of folate, which is a recommended daily intake for any age of human being. In addition, vegemite is a great source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, selenium, and iron. All the elements help a person in maintaining skin and eye health, improves cell health, keeps the nerve health in check, and boost the digestive system.
All the above researched statements prove that vegemite is a healthy spread. The only thing you need to consider before eating vegemite is “think before what you are eating vegemite in conjunction with”! Yes, vegemite is healthy but the conjunction food my not be healthy and put you in danger. For example, since we take vegemite mostly in conjunction to bread, make sure you are using healthy breads such as whole wheat bread, milk bred, etc. whereas the white bread is not nutritious. So be aware while choosing breads! Also consider avoiding butter if you can and instead make use of coconut spread or avocado spread, which helps you tlo intake complete benefits of vegemite to your body.
It is being said that vegemite is very salty. For example: a 5gr serving of vegemite encompass 173 milligrams of sodium which is comparable to half a gram of salt. If you are an adult and sure that you are consuming only 5 grams of salt per day, then you can go easy on vegemite spread. But you do need to monitor your body salts levels and enjoy vegemite accordingly. In the market, there is low-salt version of vegemite available, which is said to have 25% less sodium content than the original one. So happy eating and go easy on vegemite if you satisfy the right measures on daily intake of salt content.
One serving of vegemite spread offers about 7-9 calories, among these, five calories are from proteins and the rest is gathered with the help of carbohydrates. Also the same one single serving provides less than 1% of total daily caloric intake for an average adult.
Find out the below list which tells about the essential vitamins and minerals quantity in one serving of vegemite…
1) Thiamine – 0.5mg
2) Folate – 0.1 or 50% of
3) Niacin – 2.5mg
4) Riboflavin – 0.43 mg or 25%
5) Trace amounts of potassium iron, selenium, and zinc
Vegemite is incredibly nutritious and has distinct flavour for which people love to eat it!! A part from original recipe, vegemite in the market is available in many flavors such as Blend 17, Reduced Salt, and Cheesybite. For Example: Vegemite is a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B9. The low salt version provides less sodium but also contains vitamins B6 and B12. The vitamin B in vegemite offers the following health benefits:
1) Boosts Brain Health
2) Reduce Anxiety and Stress
3) Reduce Fatigue
4) Help lower Heart Disease risk attack
It is easy to include in your diet and consume since it is not only flavorful but also versatile in taste. Though vegemite is promoted as a healthy spread with rich amounts of vitamin B, Australians love to consume vegemite for its taste. The most common way of consuming vegemite is to spread a spoonful of vegemite on to a slice of bread. Vegemite spread also goes superb with homemade pizzas, burgers, casseroles, and soups to add salty kick to the taste.
To our surprise, vegemite is very low in calories, a single spoon of vegemite offers just eleven calories since it contains no fat or sugar. So, people who are worrying about their waistlines can happily consume and enjoy vegemite. In fact, people who are in their way to reduce body weight may find vegemite as a wonderful low-calorie way and finds their diet tastier with vegemite. Also, vegemite is with no sugar, it won’t affect blood sugar levels as well.
The official website of vegemite manufacturer’s encompasses many different types of recipes using vegemite spread in foods including pizzas, burgers, pasta, ice cream, and casseroles.
Certifications achieved for Vegemite
Since a long time, the manufacturers of vegemite have claimed that vegemite is a perfect choice for vegans, vegemite received vegan certification from the Vegan Australia Certified program on World Vegan Day 2019.
Kosher and halal certification
In 1980, very limited quantities of Kosher vegemite jars were produced but the kosher certification was ceased but reversed after a backlash from Jewish consumers. Later in 2009, to supervise the Kashrut services, Kashrut Authority in New South Wales contracted with the Kraft and the following year all the jars and tubes of ordinary vegemite got labelled with authority’s stamp. In addition, Halal certification was also received by vegemite.
It is being said that vegemite encompasses high amounts of sodium levels which means vegemite is rich in salt content and hence it is salty in taste. Hence, people who are following a low-sodium diet may skip vegemite in their diet.