Top 10 Fun Facts About Vegemite

The Top Ten
1 It was a post-wartime substitute for Marmite

After the disruption of Marmite imports in 1919 after WWI, Australian entrepreneur Fred Walker hired Australian chemist Cyril Callister on a task to develop a spread from used yeast from some breweries. It was not until 1923 that he created a recipe in the form of a dark paste known as Vegemite.

As a post-wartime substitute, it was rationed mostly to Australia during WWII and included in their army rations. By the late 1940s, 9 out of 10 Australian homes had Vegemite in their household.

2 It was the first electronically scanned item in Australia

It was at a place called Woolworths. It has been recorded in April 1984. It cost only 66 cents at the time. It's now a historic item displayed at the chain's head office in South New Wales.

3 According to the British Medical Association, it is a rich source of B vitamins

It was officially endorsed in their British Medical Journal in 1939. That's mainly why they rationed it to the Australian army since Vegemite is a very nutritious spread and keeps them mighty strong! Vegemite has its uses, especially in war advertisements promoting the spread.

It was not only rationed to Australia during WWII, but consumers at home, doctors, and baby care experts recommended Vegemite as part of a balanced diet. Although nowadays, baby care experts do not recommend the spread at all.

4 It's American owned

Despite its Australian roots and how it is a very popular food for many Australians, it is actually owned by Kraft Walker Cheese Co. after Fred Walker cooperated with James L. Kraft the same year Vegemite was created. They used the success of the American company to promote Vegemite, given away as a free jar alongside other cheese products from the same company.

In 1935, Vegemite was officially sold to Kraft Foods or Mondelez International. It is still owned by Mondelez International to this day.

5 It's banned in some Australian jails

It's banned in prisons of the Australian state of Victoria since 2007 to prevent inmates from extracting the yeast to make moonshine. Officials actually restricted sales of Vegemite in remote areas where alcoholism is prevalent.

6 It has been used to conduct electricity

In 2015, an Australian chemist used Vegemite to complete a circuit and turn on an LED light. The Vegemite's high concentration of ions and water is what makes it a good conductor. The experiment was part of a project to make edible medical sensors that gather data inside the body and dissolve when it's done.

7 There are unusual variations

They have weird products like Vegemite single (Kraft singles mixed with Vegemite), Vegemite Cheesybite (Kraft Cream Cheese mixed with Vegemite), and Cadbury Vegemite. The Vegemite single is the only product I just mentioned that's being discontinued. Though Vegemite Cheesybite contains less salty content, I may try that soon. To be honest, all of these products sound delicious yet weird at the same time.

8 The Vegemite name was changed to Parwill to increase the sales of Vegemite

It changed all for a stupid, cringy pun to promote sales of Vegemite. The slogan simply was "If Marmite, Parwill." Thankfully, it was changed after Fred Walker realized it was a very stupid mistake. But it wasn't until 1954 that the iconic Happy Little Vegemites jingle aired on the radio, which was a huge success for the Vegemite product.

In 1956, Vegemite expanded its advertisement to TV. It looks like it was just the happy beginning of Vegemite's growth and success as a beloved food product adored by many Australians.

9 Bega Cheese's (formerly Mondelez's) Port Melbourne manufacturing facility produces more than 22 million jars per year
10 Vegemite was selected as the product's name by Fred Walker's daughter, Sheilah

Very fitting name, thanks Sheilah!

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