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My First Vegemite

April 23, 2011 — BarryK
Vegemite is a yeast extract, a spread on sandwiches, an Australian icon, however it is owned by the US Kraft Company. I grew up eating Vegemite sandwiches for lunch, as did most (?) Aussie kids.

A criticism of Vegemite is the high salt content, about 3.5%. It is rich in some B-group vitamins but has no B12. For that reason I have been eating a competitor product, Marmite, made by Sanitarium, which has added B12, but the same level of salt.

In response to parent lobby-groups that want kids to eat less salt, Kraft have now introduced "My First Vegemite":

At first I was excited about this, as it has 50% less salt and added B12. I bought a jar, it tastes ok, and still surprisingly salty.

Here is a taste test:

After reading a bit about it, I learned that it has a lot more sugar, and also has glycerine, which adds to the sweetness and gives it a glossy apearance. Glycerine? -- I didn't know that you can eat that! Apparently, you can, it is of "low toxicity" (whatever that means):

Anyway, my enthusiasm has subsided. I can't help but see it as a cynical marketing exercise, rather than a genuine desire to create something healthier for kids.

For the record, another competitor sold in Australia is Promite, also owned by a US company:

This is sold in Australia, the UK and New Zealand, the UK version has different formulation:

This has only 1% salt, and is available in Australia. I have tried it, tastes like burnt car tyres (a weird taste that you would probably get used to):

There are also similar products made in Germany (Vitam-R) and Switzerland (Cenovis).


Yet more yeast extracts
Username: BarryK
These are also available in Australia: [b]Aussie Mite[/b] [b]MightyMite[/b] There's another one, available in health food stores in Australia, can't remember it's name, tastes awful.

Good Pavlova Methods
Username: Ted Dog
"After a bumper supply of fresh chicken eggs I began hunting down egg white uses and came upon an Australian dish called Pavlova. Sound wonderful, but are there any good methods for getting the dish right.

Yeast Extract
Username: Sage
"We eat supermarket own-brand. It contains 4.3% w/w sodium, equivalent to 10.7g/100g NaCl. Has B12. B-vitamins are essential for vegetarians and vegans; supplements tend to have salt as dispersant, as well as chalk, etc. Folks living in hot climates probably have no concern about salt content of foods, but pale-faces might consider eating less - except Brits in 2011?! Don't think pavlova is an Aussie dish? PRobably known to Mrs Beeton and earlier?

Username: Dave B
"Yes I grew up eating Vegemite although my mother (who was Welsh)also bought Marmite from time to time. She would often make us dripping sandwiches salted with a bit of Vegemite. How healthy was that. My partner (Polish) was so desperate for vegemite on one of our overseas trips that she went to Australia House and bought some. She loves her Vegemite. I must say a little bit goes a long way. However I think I'll have to switch to Marmite in future because I didn't realise until now about the B12. As for Pavlova the story I've always heard is that it was created right here in WA at the old Esplanade Hotel in Perth. Although I did read a year or two back where the New Zealanders dispute this. So who knows.

Username: Tony
"Hi Barry, have you tried this I used to not like it ages ago but they made it smoother and I now prefer it to Marmite. Great with hot toast and loads of marg 8-) Also you can buy it in 1kg tubs that last for ages which works out a lot cheaper.

Re Vecon
Username: BarryK
"Most of the vegetable stocks have lots of salt. Vecon has 35% "salt equivalent" and 13.5% sodium:

Marmite and peanut butter...
Username: gjuhasz
"We don't kill ourself by adding extra salt to food. The only source is xxxmite. Sometimes ON peanut butter. :) Why not? See

pavlova making answer +
Username: scsijon
"i'm told by she who makes them for me that the problem is usually people mixmastering the whites+sugar, best method is to 'hand fold with wooden spoon' and never a metal one, even just to fluff the whites up, takes longer to create, but soft and airy outcome, not like 'chewing a rubber ball'. Also don't forget to double-sift the sugar just before use, she says. And as far as i'm concerned the origonal vegamite is best. It use to be 'created' next door to the Richmond Railway Station in Melbourne and on the 'right day' we kids could take a clean vegamite jar with our name on the lid to the loading dock on the way to school and pick it up filled on the way home, cost was a hapney. Oh for freshly made vegamite sandwich.

Username: Amy
"I would just eat the original Vegemite, but in moderation. However, we have now been having the other brands which don't taste as nice but are healthier with less ingredients. @Sage; Vegans do not require supplements for adequate B-12. Cheers Amy

Username: ttuuxxx
"Hi Barry, when it comes to Vegemite,waltzing matilda, ugg boots etc, everything sold to the USA really gets me angry thinking about it. Those 3 thing should of been protect Australian Icons, If the Sydney Opera house wasn't bolted to the ground I bet that would of been sold off also. What I get from Vegemite is that its made from beer waste, maybe brew some homebrew then bottle the brew and on the bottom of the bucket usually there is this brown substance, mostly its yeast, I bet if you boil that with iodized salt on a low heat the end result would be homemade Vegemite :) I think I'll try it with my next batch, the salt would act as a preservative. ttuuxxx

Username: Dougal
"Sage, you really don't want to mess with us... I do fine with no supplements, thank you. Just like with you primitive carnivores, it's a question of if you eat garbage or not. As for Euros and excess sodium, it shouldn't be a problem if they move their arses a little and work up some sweat... Sidenote: I hereby nominate Linux kernel SCSI subsystem maintainer James Bottomley to be the next Dr. Who:

Username: Puppyite
"@ ttuuxxx Donít blame Americans for buying Australian companies, blame the seller, if it werenít for sale it couldnít be bought. Iím unhappy that foreigners buy American icons too. Chinese own half the US. Vegimite I can buy Vegimite and Marmite at an imported foods store, not that I would. IIUC it is/was a byproduct of beer production. Also IIUC it was considered a waste product then someone started selling it.

bad taste
Username: Puppyite
"[url=]Andrew Zimmern tried it while in Australia and he didnít like it. Heíll eat almost anything so I figure Vegemite must be an acquired taste."29 Apr 2011, 3:24"02229'Acquired taste indeed!"BigBen"@Puppyite - oh yes! Acquired taste indeed.... We're Marmite-eating poms, and it took a bit of - uh - [i]re-acquisition[/i] to get on the Vegemite wavelength when we escaped to Bendigo a while back. My wife likes that CheesyMite variant - but I've seen what a cheese mite looks like - no thanks! <grin>

Cheese mites
Username: BigBen
"Pic of cheese mites:

My First Pavlova
Username: Ted Dog
"On a road trip between towns I ran into an Aussie owned little roadhouse dinner by accident. After a short question on pavlova, I was offered to comeback and try some. It was good even with the differences in types of sugar and ovens from her homeland. They also had Texas sized Aussie burgers with beet root. Only 5 mins from my moms house, who knew? Also, she does not know Mr. Kauler, her loss.

Tags: general