Profile - Vegemite
Following World War 1 and a disruption of Marmite imports from England, Cyril Percy Callister developed Vegemite from leftover brewers’ yeast extracts which he perfected in 1922 by mixing vegetable and spices, to produce a salty, bitter, and malty beef-bouillon tasting spread. It appeared on the market in 1923 advertised towards children but failed. Renamed to Parwill (“if Ma might...then Pa will”), the brand failed and was renamed back to Vegemite. In 1935, Fred Walker Co. (now Kraft Food Company) took on the brand and by 1939 was endorsed by the British Medical Association as a good source of Vitamin B. In World War 2, Vegemite became a stable of Australian Army rations and by the end of the war it had 90% penetration into Australian homes. It was the first electronically scanned produce item in Australia in 1984, and in 2008, the billionth jar of Vegemite was produced. The Vegemite brand was recently acquired from Mondelez International (part of Kraft) by Bega Cheese, returning it to Australian ownership. Today, 22 million jars are sold each year and Vegemite is one of Australia’s most iconic brands, featured in music, TV, books and movies.