100 Years of Vegemite

100 Years of Vegemite


Posted 2023-08-20 by Gillian Chingfollow
Is there nothing more Australian than Vegemite - that black, thick, salty spread that has been a savoury favourite on the plates among generations of Aussies for decades? In a celebratory year, it's hard to believe that Vegemite turns 100 in 2023.

Where would Australian lunch boxes, picnics and breakfast tables be without a jar of many people's favourite spread, yeast-based spread, Vegemite? Here are a few points in its rich history which have marked its journey to turning 100.

The Invention of Vegemite
Vegemite was developed by food chemist, Dr Cyril P Callister in 1923, who discovered a unique and valuable use for brewer's yeast with various vegetable and spice additives and a range of B vitamins including niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin. Vegemite was created in response to a shortage of the almost equivalent spread, Marmite, during wartime.

The phrase, We're Happy Little Vegemites
A song about vegemite was written by Alan Weekes of advertising agency J Walter Thompson in Sydney to go alongside an advertising campaign for the product and boy was it popular. In fact, the sing-along tune has withstood the ages and is almost as recognisable as the product itself.
The song and advertisement were also released simultaneously to the broadcast of the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1954. What good timing.

[LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNiOZInvLogsong}

Vegemite became associated with happiness
The song gave rise to the colloquial saying which made its way into the Australian vernacular. Vegemite became associated with happiness. When people were satisfied and things went well, they use the term "we're happy little vegemites" in common sentences.

Australian ownership
While it has been through many changes over its life, pleasingly the Vegemite brand is now under Australian ownership. In 2017, Bega Cheese purchased Vegemite.

So, as you open the fridge or pantry door, squeeze open the jar and spread vegemite over your morning toast or prepare a vegemite sandwich for the kid's lunches, consider the history and longevity of this culinary and cultural Australian icon as Vegemite turns 100. Let's hope for another 100 years of Vegemite in thousands of households across the country.


261988 - 2023-08-14 03:42:15


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