What is Vegemite and Why do Aussies Love it so Much?
Aussies love it, most overseas tourists hate it, but there’s no denying Vegemite is one of Australia’s most popular and iconic brands.
It is an ingredient in many Australian lunchboxes but what is Vegemite?
Made from yeast extract, Vegemite is a dark coloured spread a little like Marmite although the taste is different. It has a very strong and unique salty flavour. It is an acquired taste, but for Aussies who are raised on it as children, it is part of their everyday diet.
Australians are brought up on this breakfast spread, but most tourists trying Vegemite for the first time make the mistake of layering the spread on too thick.
Even Aussies would find it hard to swallow a big lump of it.
so how do you eat it?
Trying Vegemite is a must-do cultural experience for international travellers but many make the mistake of layering it too thickly.
Or, even worse, eating a lump off a spoon, which not even Aussies could stomach.
Most Australians will tell you that you only need to add a very light layer to your buttered toast or crackers. This is more than enough to give you that wonderful flavour.
In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find an Aussie home that doesn’t have a jar of Vegemite in the cupboard.
Believe it or not, Vegemite didn’t actually become popular in Australia for many years. While a young chemist created the spread out of brewer’s yeast in 1922 for the Fred Walker Company (later named the Kraft Food Company), the spread went through many name changes before people started buying it.
Vegemite was originally called Pure Vegetable Extract, not a very catchy or appetising name, so a public competition was run to change the name to Parwill. Still it wasn’t popular, even though a similar spread called Marmite was a huge seller.
In 1937 the company again renamed the spread and called it Vegemite and by 1942, exactly 20 years after the spread was actually launched, it became a household name. Vegemite was here to stay.
It even became a staple food for soldiers during World War 2. It was used as a substitute for Marmite when supplies ran out, because of its nutritional value.
happy little vegemites
Some say it could be an unofficial Australian anthem, but for most of us, the Happy Little Vegemite jingle is a happy memory of childhood.
Vegemite actually produced their catchy radio jingle ‘We are Happy Little Vegemites’ in 1954 and turned it into a television commercial two years later, gaining even wider popularity for this breakfast spread.
In the 1980s and again in 2010 this jingle made it back on to our TV screens, and a new generation of Happy Little Vegemites fell in love with the tune.
how do aussies eat it?
If you look online for recipes you will more than likely find hundreds to choose from, but the most popular ways Aussies like to eat it are for breakfast and lunch and these are our favourites:
- Vegemite on toast
- Vegemite toast with scrambled eggs
- Vegemite toast soldiers (cut into thin strips) with soft boiled eggs
- Vegemite toast with poached eggs
- Vegemite toast with sliced avocado on top
- Cheese and Vegemite scrolls
- Cheese and Vegemite crackers
With approximately 22 million jars sold every year, and 98 percent of those sales being in Australia, Vegemite is definitely a part of Aussie culture.