What Is Marmite?

Well ‘ello, bruv. Looks like it’s chewsday, innit! No, I didn’t have a stroke (at least I think I didn’t. Hold on, let me check. Yep I’m good.) I’m using my amazingly accurate British dialect because we’re about to learn all about something that’s as quintessentially British as the Royal Family and getting drunk off of warm beer and getting into soccer, sorry, football fights. I’m talking of course about Marmite! But what exactly is Marmite? And what’s the difference between Marmite vs Vegamite? 

What is Marmite?

Marmite is a savory spread made from yeast extract with a hard to describe, divisive taste. Marmite is extremely popular in the United Kingdom, but even there, people argue over its tastiness. This is shown in Marmite’s slogan, “Love it or hate it.” It’s so ingrained into the culture that it’s sometimes used as a metaphor to describe other divisive things. I guess you could call me a bit of a Marmite. 

What does Marmite taste like? 

Marmite has been described as tasting like yeasty, salty, thick soy sauce. It’s an umami punch with the consistency of motor oil.

What is in Marmite? 

Marmite is made from concentrated yeast extract, which is a byproduct of brewing beer. A German scientist named Justus von Liebig figured out that leftover brewer’s yeast could be concentrated and eaten, so he did just that. Not long after that, the Marmite Food Company was founded in England in 1902, though today, Unilever makes Marmite. 

Is Marmite vegan?

Since Marmite is basically just yeast, it is vegan. Unilever says that their entire line of Marmite products has been certified by the European Vegetarian Union as vegan, except for their 70g jar, which is only vegetarian for some reason. 

How do you eat Marmite? What is Marmite used for? 

The most traditional way is to spread it thinly over a piece of buttered toast. But you can also glomp it onto a cracker or bagel. You can cook with it as well. Try throwing it in any recipe that could use an umami blast, like pasta sauce, or drizzle it onto a pizza. 

It turned out that Marmite is a great source of vitamin B as well as folic acid. Marmite has been used to treat cases of malnutrition and malaria epidemics. The folic acid in marmite is great for pregnant women. Marmite was actually issued to British troops fighting in World War I. This really kicked off that U.K. love affair with the stuff. 

Marmite vs Vegemite: What’s the difference?

Australians had a taste for Marmite, but the onset of WWI made it difficult to import. So Australia invented their own version to satisfy that craving: Vegemite. Vegemite is also made from brewer’s yeast but it contains onion, malt extract, and celery extract, so it’s a bit more vegetal than Marmite. Marmite can be a bit sweeter and Vegemite looks a little darker. But both, at their core, are gooey yeast spread!

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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