Aussie Tradition Mate

One of the most fondest and customary Australian spread is Vegemite. As a child, I was never really fond of its taste and smell. But as the years went on, I have become a custom to its taste. As such, my breakfast was consisted of Vegemite on toast. As I drew my spreading knife, I noticed that the texture was smooth. When I took the first bite, the attention was instantly brought to the salty and slightly bitter flavour. Intrigued by its origins, I thought I would undergo some research about this historical paste.

The inventor of Vegemite was Cyril P Callister and launched the spread in 1922 under the company Fred Walker & Co. It was invented following the disruption of British Marmite imports after The Great War and was originally made using brewers’ yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, various vegetables, wheat and spice additives and has barely been altered in today’s recipe. By the unsuccessfulness it gained when it was first released, the company had decided upon the change from Vegemite to Parwill in an attempt to compete with Marmite with an advertisement pun “If Ma [mother] might… then Pa [father] will.”

This attempt was to decrease sales and as a result the paste was titled Vegemite once again, however this did not gain recovered market loses. In 1925, the Fred Walker & Co had initiated the Kraft Walker Cheese Co. as a joint venture company with J.L. Kraft &Bros to market their processed cheese. As such following the failure of Parwill, they used the triumph of Kraft Walker Cheese to promote Vegemite through car prizes, free food and poetry competitions. Sales responded and in 1939 Vegemite was officially endorsed by the British Medical Association as a rich source of B vitamins and by the late 1940s, researchers discovered that the product was used in nine out of ten Australian homes.

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