Monday, September 7, 2009

Vegemite want know more about vegemite

Vegemite (pronounced /ˈvɛdʒəˌmaɪt/) is an Australian food paste made from yeast extract. It is dark brown in colour and is mainly used as a spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits, as well as being used as a filling for pastries like Cheesymite scroll. It is similar to British and New Zealand Marmite and to Swiss Cenovis.

Vegemite is made from used brewers' yeast extract, a waste product of beer manufacturing, and various vegetable and spice additives. The taste may be described as salty, slightly bitter, and malty — somewhat similar to the taste of beef bouillon. The texture is smooth and sticky, much like peanut butter. It is not as intensely flavoured as British Marmite and it is less sweet than the New Zealand version of Marmite.

Vegemite is very popular throughout Australia, so much so that it has long been commonly considered a national food and a cultural icon. It can also be found in shops around the world, particularly where there are large populations of Australian expatriates. Vegemite has not been successfully marketed in other countries, apart from New Zealand and to a lesser extent in the United Kingdom, and has failed to catch on in the United States, despite being owned by US food company Kraft Foods. When seen in the United States, the Vegemite label often does not contain the Kraft logo.

Fred Walker's company first created and sold Vegemite in 1922.

Vegemite was invented in 1922 by food technologist Dr. Cyril P. Callister when, following the disruption of British Marmite imports after World War I his employer, the Australian company Fred Walker & Co., gave him the task of developing a spread from the used yeast being dumped by breweries. Callister had been hired by the chairman Fred Walker. Vegemite was registered as a trademark in Australia that same year. The registration was later transferred to Kraft, a US multinational, which has maintained an interest in Vegemite since 1925. In 1919, the New Zealand company Sanitarium began manufacturing a version of Vegemite's biggest competitor, Marmite, and shipping it to Australia.

Callister used autolysis to break down the yeast cells from waste obtained from the Carlton & United brewery. Concentrating the clear liquid vitamin extract and blending with salt and celery and onion extracts formed a sticky black paste. Following a nationwide competition with a prize of £50 to find a name for the new spread, the name Vegemite was selected out of a hat by Fred Walker's daughter, Sheilah. Vegemite first appeared on the market in 1923 with advertising emphasising the value of Vegemite to children's health but failed to sell very well. Faced with growing competition from Marmite, from 1928 to 1935 the product was renamed as Parwill in order to make use of the advertising slogan, "Marmite but Parwill", a convoluted pun on words ie: "Ma [mother] might [like the taste] but Pa [father] will." This attempt to expand market share was unsuccessful and the name was changed back to Vegemite, unfortunately as Parwill it had lost market share and did not recover. In 1925 Walker had established the Kraft Walker Cheese Co as a joint venture company with J.L. Kraft & Bros to market processed cheese and, following the failure of Parwill, in 1935 he used the success of Kraft Walker Cheese to promote Vegemite. In a two year campaign to promote sales, Vegemite was given away free with Kraft Walker cheese products via coupon redemption and this was followed by poetry competitions with imported American Pontiac cars being offered as prizes. Sales responded and in 1939 Vegemite was officially endorsed by the British Medical Association as a rich source of B vitamins. Rationed in Australia during World War II it was included in Australian Army rations and by the late 1940s was used in nine out of ten Australian homes. Vegemite is produced in Australia at Kraft Foods’ Port Melbourne manufacturing facility which produces more than 22 million jars per year. Virtually unchanged from Callister's original recipe, Vegemite now far outsells Marmite and other similar spreads in Australia. The billionth jar of Vegemite was produced in October 2008.

Vegemite and cheese

During the 1990s, Kraft released a product in Australia known as Vegemite Singles. It combined two of Kraft's major products into one. The product consisted of Kraft Singles with Vegemite added, thus creating Vegemite-flavoured cheese. This extension of the Vegemite product line was an attempt by Kraft to capitalise on the enormous popularity of Vegemite and cheese sandwiches (made by placing a slice of cheese into a Vegemite sandwich). Vegemite Singles were later taken off the market, possibly due to poor sales.
United States ban rumour

In October 2006, the Melbourne newspaper, the Herald Sun incorrectly reported that Vegemite had been banned in the United States, and that the United States Customs Service had gone so far as to search Australians entering the country for Vegemite. The story appears to have originated as an anecdote by a traveller who claimed to have been searched by US Customs. Also, a spokesperson for Kraft made a misinformed comment to reporters. The story led to some anti-American comments in blogs and newspapers. The Herald Sun blamed George W. Bush, at the time the president of the United States, for the ban, and encouraged readers to post comments on its website and send emails to the White House.

The US Food and Drug Administration later stated that there were no plans to subject Vegemite to an import ban, or withdraw it from supermarket shelves. The United States Customs and Border Protection also tried to dispel the rumour, stating on its website that "there is no known prohibition on the importation of Vegemite" and "there is no official policy within CBP targeting Vegemite for interception". The story of the "ban" later took on the status of urban legend. While Vegemite has never been popular in the US, it can still be purchased at supermarkets that stock imported food items.

Nutritional information

Vegemite is one of the world’s richest known sources of B vitamins, specifically thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid, but unlike Marmite and some other yeast extracts, it contains no vitamin B12.
Advertising and branding
Different Vegemite jars - National Museum of Australia

Originally promoted as a healthy food for children, during World War II advertising emphasized its medicinal value:

Vegemite fights with the men up north! If you are one of those who don’t need Vegemite medicinally, then thousands of invalids are asking you to deny yourself of it for the time being.

At the same time "Sister MacDonald" insisted that Vegemite was essential for "infant welfare" in magazines. Later advertisements began to promote the importance of the B complex vitamins to health.

Vegemite's rise to popularity was helped by the marketing campaigns written by J. Walter Thompson advertising that began in 1954, using groups of smiling, attractive healthy children singing a catchy jingle entitled "We're happy little Vegemites".

We're happy little Vegemites
As bright as bright can be.
We all enjoy our Vegemite
For breakfast, lunch and tea.
Our Mummies say we're growing stronger
Every single week
Because we love our Vegemite.
We all adore our Vegemite.
We're growing stronger every week!

First aired on radio in 1954 the jingle was transferred to television in 1956. This advertising campaign continued until the late 1960s but, as they were targeted to children, discontinued in favour of ads promoting the product to all ages. In the late 1980s the original black and white television commercial was partially colourised and reintroduced. This commercial is still occasionally run on television today. The two young twin girls who sang this advertising jingle were known as the "Vegemite Twins".

In March 2007, Kraft announced that they were trying to trace the eight original children from the campaign to celebrate the advertisement's fiftieth anniversary and to take part in a new campaign.[12] The 1956 commercial was to be remade with the original children, now grown, to forge a link between "the new generation and the old ad". The media took up the search on Kraft's behalf with all eight children identified in eight days and resulted in many TV specials and interviews in the Australian National media. The 50-year reunion campaign won the Arts, Entertainment & Media Campaign of the Year award at the November 2007 New recipe

On 13 June 2009, Kraft released a new version of Vegemite, which differs from the original recipe. The new formula combines Vegemite and Kraft cream cheese, spreads more easily and has a considerably less salty, more milder taste than the original. To coincide with the release of the new recipe, Kraft ran a competition to give the new flavour a name. The new name will be announced on 21 September 2009.
Popular culture

* Vegemite was referenced in the lyrics of the 1982 song "Down Under" by Men at Work:

I said, "Do you speak-a my language?"
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.

* The original 1986 lyric to the John Williamson song "True Blue" included the lines "Is it standing by your mate/ When he's in a fight?/ Or just Vegemite?" Vegemite is also mentioned in Williamson's song "Home Among the Gum Trees": "You can see me in the kitchen/ Cooking up a roast/ Or Vegemite on toast". Williamson sang both songs at the memorial service for Steve Irwin.
* The Vegemite Tales, by Melanie Tait, is an Australian comic show regularly performed in London's West End.
* In The Simpsons it is noted that one can purchase a foot-long Vegemite Sub from Subway during their trip to Australia.
* In the 2002 television movie Rocket Power: Race Across New Zealand, the Hawaiian character Tito struggles through the whole movie to eat Vegemite.
* In the film Kenny, Jackie comments about the amount of Vegemite that Kenny was putting on his cracker. Kenny tells her he put so much on to prevent his brothers from eating his crackers and he has come to prefer it that way.
* In the 2008 Star Trek: Destiny novels, Vegemite is mentioned as one of the foods preferred by one of the NX 02 Columbia's officer from New Zealand on toast
* In May 2009 on the television program Mornings with Kerri-Anne, Dutch violinist André Rieu tried to eat Vegemite on toast.