Marmite Love or hate it, it's vegan
A British jar of Marmite
The British version of the product is a sticky, dark brown paste with a distinctive, powerful flavour, which is extremely salty. This distinctive taste is reflected in the British company's marketing slogan: "Love it or hate it." The product's name has entered British English as a metaphor for something that is an acquired taste or tends to polarise opinions.
The image on the front of the British jar shows a "marmite" , a French term for a large, covered earthenware or metal cooking pot. British Marmite was originally supplied in earthenware pots, but since the 1920s has been sold in distinctively-shaped glass jars.
The product that was to become Marmite was invented in the late 19th century when German scientist Justus von Liebig discovered that brewer's yeast could be concentrated, bottled and eaten. In 1902 the Marmite Food Extract Company was formed in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England with Marmite as its main product and Burton as the site of the first factory. The product took its name from the "marmite" , a French term for a large, covered earthenware or metal cooking pot. The labels of the UK product still carry the image of a marmite. The by-product yeast needed for the paste was supplied by Bass Brewery. By 1907, the product had become successful enough to warrant construction of a second factory at Camberwell Green in London.
Initially, Marmite was popular with vegetarians as a meat-free alternative to beef extract products such as Bovril, which were popular in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Marmite is traditionally eaten as a savoury spread on bread, toast, savoury biscuits or Cracker, and other similar baked products. Owing to its concentrated taste it is usually spread thinly with butter or margarine. Marmite can also be made into a savoury hot drink by adding one teaspoon to a mug of hot water much like Bovril.
Besides folic acid Marmite has useful quantities of several other vitamins, even in small servings. The sodium content of the spread is high and has caused concern, although it is the amount per serving rather than the percentage in bulk Marmite that is relevant. The main ingredient of Marmite is yeast extract, which contains a high concentration of glutamic acid. Marmite made in the United Kingdom and exported to several countries is believed to be gluten free although there is no chemical relation between glutamic acid and gluten, despite the phonetic similarity of the two terms. However, Unilever will not confirm that it contains less than 20 PPM of gluten, the current European standard and the proposed US FDA standard for gluten-free labelling.
Marmite today is fortified with added vitamins, resulting in it being banned in Denmark which disallows foodstuffs that have been fortified.
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