Vegemite: What It Is, Ways To Eat It And Why It's So Good

You either love it, hate it or love to hate it.

09/06/2016 12:40 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
Well that's just far too much for one slice.

However hard we try to explain, no one outside Australia understands our appreciation for this odd, thick, dark brown spread we lovingly put on toast with butter (the key is to use a scant scrape, people!).

But our use of Vegemite doesn't stop there: we use it in spaghetti, with avocado on toast, in cheese scrolls, for beef stews and soups, on grilled cheese and tomato toast (life-changing combo) and even in chocolate for Pete's sake.

The best way to describe good ol' Vegemite is salty and malty, which is what makes it so unique and tasty. Think about it: what makes avo toast delicious? A bit of salt. What brings out the flavour in chocolate? A pinch of salt. What makes you feel better when you're struck down with a stomach bug? Something salty.

Vegemite is a staple in most Australian households, a savoury superstar, if you will -- yet few of us actually know what the heck this stuff is.

Let's take a look at what Vegemite is made from, its history and nutritional profile.

It may not look pretty but it sure tastes good.


Vegemite has a history spanning over 90 years. Back in 1922, cheese maker Fred Walker joined forces with a young chemist to produce a yeast-based savoury spread. Originally called 'Pure Vegetable Extract', after a nation-wide naming competition, Walker's daughter selected the winning name -- Vegemite.

Fast forward to today and Vegemite is 94 years old, and it's become one of the country's most 'Australian' foods. Over 22 million jars are sold and 6,800 tonnes are produced each year -- think of how much toast that would make!

What it's made from

According to the brand, the recipe of Vegemite is relatively unchanged. But what is it really made from, and why is it dark brown?

"The key to Vegemite's loved taste is brewer's yeast," Vegemite said.

This brewer's yeast extract is indeed a by-product of beer manufacture and, along with salt, malt extract from barley, vegetable extract and B vitamins, it's what gives Vegemite its unique flavour.

@vegemite and cheese scrolls fresh out of the oven.

A photo posted by tinmanstreats (@tinmanstreats) on

A photo posted by Vegemite (@vegemite) on


As accredited practising dietitian Kate Gudorf explained, the yeast extract -- as well as the added malt extract and natural colour from caramel -- is what makes Vegemite dark brown.

"Yeast extract is naturally brown and a natural colour 150d, which is dark brown, is also added," Gudorf told The Huffington Post Australia.

Nutritional benefits

According to Gudorf, Australia's popular breakfast spread is also pretty nutritious.

"Vegemite is an excellent source of B vitamins. In fact, one teaspoon provides half an adult's daily requirements for folate and thiamine," she said.

"The spread is low in energy, with one teaspoon providing less than 50 kilojoules and containing 1.5 grams of protein, no fat and no added sugar."

A photo posted by Vegemite (@vegemite) on

A photo posted by Vegemite (@vegemite) on

Vegemite is high in salt however, so it's best not to go eat it by the spoonful (not that that would be particularly delicious, anyway).

"Vegemite does contain added salt with 207mg per teaspoon, so for those with, or at risk of, heart disease this may be an important consideration," Gudorf told HuffPost Australia.

"Many people only use a small scrape of the spread, so its high salt content is unlikely to be a problem."

Keen to experiment with Vegemite? Try these recipes for brownies, pasta and chocolate ganache.

A photo posted by Hal Kuang (@halkuang) on

THIS. This is how you eat Vegemite.

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