Remember the “My mate. Marmite” adverts from the Nineties? Fast forward to 2022 and a cost of living crisis, and we’re not sure we can be pals.
That’s despite the fact that this iconic spread, made from spent brewer’s yeast, has been around since 1902.
Unilever, who also own brands including Domestos, Dove, Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s, among many others, has announced that they’ll be increasing the cost of Marmite by 11.2 per cent, which is higher than the rate of inflation. It’s currently selling for £4.75 for 500g in Asda so we’d imagine that the price rises are likely to push it way over the fiver mark.
While we decide whether we can afford to continue our addiction, or if we’re going to have to deviate to the supermarket brand, Vegemite or Generation Z’s favourite spread, Nutella, here are the things we love and hate about the black gold.
1 The dirty butter. If you’re making toast and Marmite, you always end up with bits of the yeast extract polluting the butter, and vice versa. The pernickety will use one knife for each. It’s a messy product overall. Post toast, there will always be a bit clinging to your chin. Billy Connolly wrote a whole sketch about the time he dropped some (well, Vegemite) on hotel room sheets in Australia.
2 Cats love it. What do you mean Mr Boots and Lucy Fur haven’t tried it? They’re all crazy about the spread, which is odd, since it’s a vegan product. They must be hoodwinked by the beefiness. Anyway, it’s very salty, so probably won’t replace Whiskas anytime soon.
3 It’s perfect on a cheese scone. We’re pretty sure it’d work on a warm tattie version too. Nigella Lawson stirs it into cooked spaghetti, along with loads of melted butter and Parmesan. Others add it to stocks and stews for its umami qualities. The Marmite people recommend it with avocado, cheese and eggs. In Singapore and Malaysia, it’s sometimes stirred into congee. We prefer it on cold buttered toast, though some pledge allegiance to hot.
4 We’re fans of the classic yellow-lidded packaging, but can never eke out every last scrap from that pot-bellied jar. Now the price is going up, someone needs to invent an implement - a bit like a tiny garden hoe – to scrape at the dregs. Also, don’t bother trying the squeezy version. That’s even worse. Fine at first, then a bit like getting honey out of a shoe. Interestingly, Marmite was originally sold in earthenware pots, called marmites in French, that are similar to the ones on its label.
5 The novelty products. The most recent was Truffle Marmite, which launched back in May and comes in sexy black and gold packaging. There have also been silver lids, personalised labels, or versions that are printed with Love or Hate. We’ve had crisps, peanut butter, Twiglets, ale, Guinness Marmite, extra-strength Marmite XO and yeast-imbued chocolate. The less said about 2013’s Marmite Gold, which contained real flecks of gold, the better. The bling years are over. However, we’d like to suggest butter that’s infused with Marmite, to solve the above pollution problem.