With its unique taste and unappealing appearance, Vegemite inspires either love or hate in people and is seen as an Aussie icon. It is often featured in songs by quintessentially Australian acts like Men at Work and John Williamson, as well as its own famous “Happy little Vegemites” jingle. It is also renowned for its nutritional value.
Four out of five born Aussie
A massive 39% of Australians ate either Vegemite itself, or similar products like Promite and Marmite, at least once in an average seven days. Jams, conserves and marmalade were the second-most popular topping (31%), just ahead of honey and peanut butter (30% each).
Of the 7.5m Australian Vegemite lovers, all but 1.1m were born in Australia. The percentage was even higher among Kiwis, with 43% of those born in New Zealand eating yeast extract each week, while 30% of those born in the UK or Ireland and just 12% of Asian-born people eat the spread in an week.
“Vegemite is as Australian as koalas, and as polarising as our prime minister,” said Angela Smith of Roy Morgan Research, which conducted the survey.
“So it’s no real surprise that Australian-born Aussies are most likely to eat Vegemite in an average seven days, while those born in other regions tend to favour spreads more prevalent in those places: peanut butter for US-born folks, jam for people born in the UK or Ireland, and so on.”
Jam is the most popular spread among people born in the UK or Ireland, with 39% of the group eating jams, conserves or marmalades. People born elsewhere in Europe (38%), and Asia (28%), prefer honey over other spreads, while those born in the US are most likely to eat peanut butter (49%).
“The ever-increasing number of Aussies born in Asia presents an interesting challenge for the producers of Vegemite, Marmite and Promite. Our data shows that this group is far less likely than people from other non-Australian backgrounds to eat yeast-based spreads in an average seven days, which could have serious implications for the continued success of these products,” said Smith.