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iSnack 2.0
November 3, 2009 1:32 AM   Subscribe

The billionth jar of Vegemite was sold in 2008. This nutritious yeast-based brown paste has been popular in Australia for decades, although its "distinctive" taste has limited its popularity in foreign markets. In July 2009, a competition was held by Kraft to come up with a name for the new cheesy variant. The result, chosen from 30,000 entries, sparked such a backlash that Kraft quickly backed down... but was iSnack 2.0 a marketing failure or a publicity coup?

The obligatory "Downfall" clip
posted by moorooka (111 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Don't forget:

marmite

promite and Bovril
posted by evil_esto at 1:50 AM on November 3, 2009


sorry Marmite
posted by evil_esto at 1:52 AM on November 3, 2009


I assume you mean Marmite
posted by Magnakai at 1:53 AM on November 3, 2009


Pipped to the post!
posted by Magnakai at 1:54 AM on November 3, 2009


As an American I've always wondered what it tastes like. I always imagine it's like Jello mix without sugar and with spam mixed in.
posted by crapmatic at 1:54 AM on November 3, 2009


Mmm, Marmite.
posted by signalnine at 1:54 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jimbob: Are you still hungy, CJ?
CJ: Ummm, yeah.
Jimbob: What would you like to eat?
CJ: Toast, please.
Jimbob: Okay, what do you want on your toast?
CJ: Vegemite, please.

I have this conversation with my 3-year old at least twice, sometimes three times a day. Sometimes he asks for Vegemite and cheese. Brings a tear to my eye. A true Australian. That is all.
posted by Jimbob at 1:55 AM on November 3, 2009 [16 favorites]


In fact, I'm gonna eat some Marmite RIGHT NOW.
posted by signalnine at 1:55 AM on November 3, 2009


iSnack was totally and very obviously a 100% marketing ploy which was very successful at making people talk about Vegemite again.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:56 AM on November 3, 2009


I always imagine it's like Jello mix without sugar and with spam mixed in.

Try to imagine pouring a shitload of salt into a pint of Guinness, then boiling it down to a thick, shiny sludge.

No, scrap that, just go buy some.
posted by Jimbob at 1:56 AM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I did say to the missus just the other day that we should buy a case of iSnack - cause it's sure to be a collectors item- JUST like my y2K spaghetti-Os will be one day.
posted by mattoxic at 1:56 AM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Finally, a salt lick for humans. Watch them run.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:58 AM on November 3, 2009


He just smiled, and gave me a vegemite sandwitch, querying me as to whether I was from the land Down Under or not. Nice guy.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:59 AM on November 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


sorry, in case you didn't know

marmite, promite and Bovril- are shit

shit in a jar

Growing up there was always that weird family that had promite, sunshine milk and promite. Only ever had the one sleep over, that was enough.
posted by mattoxic at 2:00 AM on November 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


I was rather hoping that Cheesemite would win.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:00 AM on November 3, 2009


It tastes good because it contains shitloads of glutamate which trigger those umami receptors on the tongue.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:01 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Conspiracy or cockup? I say cockup. If they had planned this from the beginning the old jars wouldn't be sitting on the shelves stinking up the brand. You'd have big media grabs showing the old stock being taken away and replaced with shiny new named jars.

“We asked people to vote on a name, and then we left the room and picked a name that wasn’t the most popular, and that’s where we lost the online consumer in particular.”

Brilliant work Sherlock. You asked for input from the public on something they love, then totally ignored them. And your contribution was the most bland, trying hard to connect to the kids, "cutting edge" name imaginable.
posted by AD_ at 2:04 AM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Isn't there some kind of Marmalite rifle we should be worrying about?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:04 AM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Presumably due to the proximity of Australia, you can buy it in specialist shops here in China much more easily than Marmite. Despite growing up with the latter, Vegemite definitely hits the right spot too, though maybe a bit more salty. Even had that Swiss version once many moons ago but can't recall the experience well enough to make the comparison.
Has garnered a few Chinese fans too; seen people compare it to yellow soybean paste (黄酱) which has been a northern favourite, but then also has that same split with those who absolutely hate it.
posted by Abiezer at 2:10 AM on November 3, 2009


marmite, promite and Bovril- are shit

shit in a jar


I'm with you on Bovril (Marmite for those who can't abide eating something without meat), and Promite is a curio at best. But Marmite is the One True Spread!

I can just about accept that someone's taste buds might have been warped through years of ritual Vegemite abuse. The first step in curing this sort of thing is to admit you've got a problem. Then you can begin to talk it through, and hopefully, one day, you will awaken to find the glorious sticky brown light of redemption shining up at you from your toast.
posted by Magnakai at 2:12 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, actually I've just read this on the wiki page:

Marmite purchased in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands is New Zealand Marmite, which has its own distinctive taste.

UK Marmite is available in Australia in the 125g size from several small imported food stores.

There is also an imported version called Our Mate which is produced and exported by Unilever's UK export division (Unilever UK Export). These are also sold in the 125g size and are produced in Burton on Trent, the home of Marmite and Bovril. The label states "Made in the UK by Unilever UK." Australia's national distributor Manassen Foods works with Unilever UK Export to sell Our Mate (Marmite) in Australia and New Zealand.


Consider yourselves exonerated, Australians. The only thing worse than worshiping a different god is worshiping a false one that masquerades as the real one. Our Mate seems to be the way forward though.
posted by Magnakai at 2:16 AM on November 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


From the wiki:
Vegemite is produced in Australia at Kraft Foods’ Port Melbourne manufacturing facility which produces more than 22 million jars per year

I was doing some work at the BORAL factory which it just behind the Kraft plant in Port Melbourne. Every week or so there would be this heavily vomitous smell emanating from the Kraft plant as they were making something- Vegemite probably.

I had just bought a new Holden (well a very old Holden but new to me) and took the wife and the new puppy for a drive down to St Kilda for the afternoon. I drove back via Port Melbourne to show her where I had been working- and as we drove past we caught a wiff of the smell from the Kraft plant. I continued to drive, up Lorimer Street, up Spencer Street and that smell was still with us.

As I commented that Kraft must be brewing an extra large batch, I turned around to see that the puppy had been car sick in the back seat, and had been slipping and sliding in his own vomit smearing the vinyl rear seat- probably since we left St Kilda.
posted by mattoxic at 2:18 AM on November 3, 2009 [15 favorites]


If you like iSnack, you might like eColi.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:21 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


BGBF and I coming home drunk after an insane evening:

gomi: Are you still hungy, sweetie dahling sweetie honey?
BGBF: Ummm, yeah.
gomi: What would you like to eat?
BGBF: Toast, please.
gomi: Okay, what do you want on your toast?
BGBF: Vegemiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite.
gomi: Vegemiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite!
BGBF: Vegemiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite!
gomi: Vegemiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite!

and repeat.....

Bestest post-drunkerd food EVER.

iSnack 2.0 - so meh. There wasn't even a 1.0! There is some kind of method to the versioning madness Kraft Foods sheesh.
posted by gomichild at 2:22 AM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I would like to have it noted that promite, while unquestionably gross if consumed on its own, is in fact TOTALLY DELICIOUS if eaten together with peanut butter, on toast.

It's all about the ratio. Promite has such a strong taste (an acidic relish, if you prefer... a sulphuric zing), that you need to balance it out with a fair slab of peanut butter.

--- If you choose to try this out, and think it's exquisite, then Yay! We Should Form A Club!

--- If you choose to try this out, and think it's disgusting, then, um...
Trickedya?
posted by Rumpled at 2:45 AM on November 3, 2009


I tried Yosemite once, but it tasted like granite and pine sap.
posted by clearly at 2:50 AM on November 3, 2009 [25 favorites]


I gather this thing got people talking about vegemite. I now eat exactly as much vegemite as I did before. I think vegemite must be about the hardest thing to market ever.
posted by pompomtom at 2:52 AM on November 3, 2009


*shuffles out to the kitchen to make vegemite & avocado sammich*
posted by goshling at 2:56 AM on November 3, 2009


Ugh, I can smell it just from reading this thread.

*gags*
posted by chillmost at 3:02 AM on November 3, 2009


iSnack 2.0. They couldn't have chosen a more ridiculous name. It sounds like a parody from South Park or The Simpsons.
posted by painquale at 3:03 AM on November 3, 2009


He just smiled, and gave me a vegemite sandwitch, querying me as to whether I was from the land Down Under or not. Nice guy.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:59 AM on November 3 [+] [!]

not rickroll

posted by vapidave at 3:07 AM on November 3, 2009


I have never tried it, but I kind of have to now since so many claim to hate it. I bet half of the negative sentiment comes from that weird American anti-foreign closed mindedness.
posted by TheCoyote23 at 3:13 AM on November 3, 2009


I like Marmite and all, but the US really won on the sandwich spreads. I've tried feeding some Kiwi kids Marmite sammies and they can usually take it or leave it. Feed an American kid a PB&J and as long as it is crust free watch your fingers.
posted by arruns at 3:22 AM on November 3, 2009


Adding to the stupid name saga is that the second choice name,
Cheesybite, is a trademark of Pizza Hut. I so hope they have to change the name again.

I'll be interested to see how sales go over the next year or so. I bought a small jar of anonymite a few months ago & thought it was pretty meh, but I don't like vegemite & cheese together anyway so that was no surprise.

My theory, all made up all by myself, is that they are just trying to get people to eat more of the stuff (duh). Most people spread vegemite very thinly. A jar lasts in my pantry for several months. Blending vegemite with cheese makes, it makes for a much milder tasting spread that also spreads a lot easier. It has the look & texture of Nutella and can be slathered on in much larger amounts that is usually considered sane or edible.
This is the yeast based spread equivilent of the laundry detergent manufactuers trick where they double the size of included scoop so you use more product.
posted by goshling at 3:26 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I watched the video, with the guy who didn't like the Vegemite, and I feel I need to point something out: he failed to heed the warning to spread it on lightly. Oh sure, he said he spread it on lightly, but then he showed his spreading technique and he'd smeared it onto that slice of bread like it was fuckin' Nutella. It was like watching someone who'd never done drugs before decide they were going to snort a fistful of cocaine.

Vegemite is strong-tasting stuff. If you're going to eat it on it's own, then you need to apply it with extreme restraint. A slice of white bread should acquire the merest shading of the stuff, as if a deliciously salty cloud had passed across the sun. Eventually you build up a tolerance, but until then, stick to the shallow end of the pool, kids.
posted by Ritchie at 3:29 AM on November 3, 2009 [13 favorites]


Marmighty good. It's funny when Americans mispronounce it to rhyme with Yosemite.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 3:44 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


goshling: Most people spread vegemite very thinly.
Ritchie: Vegemite is strong-tasting stuff. If you're going to eat it on it's own, then you need to apply it with extreme restraint. A slice of white bread should acquire the merest shading of the stuff, as if a deliciously salty cloud had passed across the sun.
BS. The trick is to slap the butter - and it needs to be real butter - on just as thickly as the Vegemite. With the Vegemite on, you should only see the merest hint of butter or bread around the edges.

Do it right and you get a deliciously creamy, buttery, salty, bitter delight.

Do it wrong, and your mouth puckers up like a New Zealander who's just been told his favourite sheep has died.

Or maybe its just you Melburnians who can't handle the stuff ;-)
posted by Pinback at 3:47 AM on November 3, 2009


From Ritchie's description of the video, I was reminded of this.

Many people appear to not understand when they are told "spread it very thinly" and proceed to slather it on like the they would peanut butter or the aforementioned Nutella. Imagine doing that with, say, wasabi.
posted by goshling at 3:53 AM on November 3, 2009


Or maybe its just you Melburnians who can't handle the stuff

Fightin' words! I eat the stuff like it was dip. I'm just saying that's not the best way to introduce it to someone who's never had it before.
posted by Ritchie at 4:00 AM on November 3, 2009


I think vegemite must be about the hardest thing to market ever.

Adults are the wrong market. The key market is the under twos. Wean them onto Vegemite and they're hooked for life. My two-year-old is now forever nicking the corner of my toast. It didn't take him long to build up my adult levels of Vegemite tolerance, either.

Shame we can only buy it in the small jars here in the UK, but at least we're better off than twenty years ago, when as a visiting student I was reduced to sampling Sainsbury's own-brand Marmite knock-off in the hope that imitation Marmite might be closer to Vegemite than actual Marmite. (Answer: no.)
posted by rory at 4:02 AM on November 3, 2009


A table spoon of Vegemite is awesome in spaghetti sauce

Gravy is brilliant with a tablespoon of Vegemite

And I'm impressed that the Australian dictionary firefox addon knows the word Vegemite
posted by mattoxic at 4:31 AM on November 3, 2009


Vegimite? Yuck.

Its like they took the greatness that was Marmite and then added a crapload of sugar, it is completely vile.

Well, no, not really, but I do like Marmite better. And, I'm American. I bought a bottle of each (the net is great) and tried them specifically because I was told that nearly 100% of Americans found both revolting. Tried the Vegimite first, then the Marmite, and definitely prefer the Marmite. In fact, I think I'll have a Marmite sandwich for breakfast...

If you haven't tried it you should, and even in tiny little hick towns like Amarillo TX you can actually buy them both off the shelf in at least one grocery store which means you may not even have to order online.
posted by sotonohito at 4:31 AM on November 3, 2009


I have it for breakfast near every day. It's great.

I went through a phase of trying all the Australian owned vegemite-like spreads to see if they are any good.. they are OK, but they are not vegemite.

Someone needs to buy it back off KRAFT and just keep making the unaltered recipe forever,
posted by zog at 4:37 AM on November 3, 2009


Its like they took the greatness that was Marmite and then added a crapload of sugar, it is completely vile.

It's not like you can just buy a jar and expect to like it- it's got to like you. Sorry, but that's how it works. Maybe one day, but not yet.
posted by mattoxic at 4:41 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I tried Yosemite once, but it tasted like granite and pine sap.
Damn you to hell, clearly - I had to read that three times before I could pronounce "Yosemite" correctly. First two times I wondered what this new off-brand "Yosemite" was...

/Now I'll probably never read it again without hearing "yo-suh-might" in my head.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:46 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Damn you to hell" in the heh-heh sense, of course.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:46 AM on November 3, 2009


*shuffles out to the kitchen to make vegemite & avocado sammich*

goshling, you just broke my brain. vegemite AND avocado? together? this, this... this is. this.

/runs to the store.
posted by Mil at 4:58 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


The only thing worse than worshiping a different god is worshiping a false one that masquerades as the real one. Our Mate seems to be the way forward though.

I read this before reading the excerpt, and presumed Our Mate was an Australian way of saying 'god'. Heh.
posted by the cydonian at 5:02 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh dear. Marmite had the best ads.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:08 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Losers all. The best yeast extract spread is the little known but ultimate Vitam-r. Go find, go try, go nowhere else ever again. I quintuple-dog-dare you. Until you've tried you know nothing, absolutely nothing, about yeast extract.
posted by i_cola at 5:18 AM on November 3, 2009


they are probably up to a billion jars of vicks vapo rub, or vaseline, either one of which would make a sandwich as good as vegemite.
posted by kitchenrat at 5:23 AM on November 3, 2009


As an American I've always wondered what it tastes like. I always imagine it's like Jello mix without sugar and with spam mixed in.

More like salty cat poo, honestly, with undertones of mold and decay.

It's one of the very, very few foods that I simply can't eat, no matter how polite I am trying to be. But for people who've grown up eating it, it's like an ambrosia of delight.
posted by Forktine at 5:24 AM on November 3, 2009


I like it spread thickly. It puts a rose in every cheek!
posted by gomichild at 5:27 AM on November 3, 2009


It was a stupid contest and an even stupider winner. As to whether it was successful or not, I suppose it depends on sales figure of the spermite (my preferred nom de jour). Vegemite is one of those rare products that really don't need much in the way of advertising although they've had a modest profile in print and tv ads, I suppose, over the years. People will just buy it: they don't really need the brainwashing which happens growing up here with or without advertising pressure. I've tried some of this new stuff and its ok I guess. I predict that it won't last tooooo long (sure, I might be wrong) because the unadulterated version (a doubtless contradiction in terms to some folks) can be made into spermite on the bread/toast at will. Anyway, I don't eat it allll that much - maybe once or twice a fortnight or so - and this campaign has not affected my purchasing behaviour.
posted by peacay at 5:34 AM on November 3, 2009


Vegemite is alright, but Marmite is better.

Both will make grilled cheese zing pretty much equally well though. Yum.
posted by The Monkey at 5:41 AM on November 3, 2009


I have a jar of Marmite which I inherited from an old roommate (she was then dating an Australian, and has since married him and moved to Brisbane). Fortunately she showed me how very, very little you spread on your toast, so I didn't have any nasty surprises.

These days, though, I use it to flavor soup stock now and then if my soup's tasting a bit insipid (a little blob of Marmite gives it a meaty taste).

I can't even BEGIN to think what adding cheese to that flavor would be like.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:44 AM on November 3, 2009



Could someone please explain to me the difference between Vegemite and Marmite? I know I have tried both, but the only one I can (and do!) go to the grocery store and purchase is Marmite.
posted by Jinkeez at 5:55 AM on November 3, 2009


All right, Vegemite!!

I love Vegemite (and Marmite!). I was introduced to it when my Australian aunt gave me the above book (but with a different, green cover with a Platypus shooting through the sky). I loved the book and reread it over and over again as a child. The rhymes often go through my head for no reason.

'Australia is a free nation, of that there is no doubt, so if you have no dinner, then you're free to go without!'

How very true.
posted by molecicco at 5:55 AM on November 3, 2009


Vegemite is where beer goes when it dies.
posted by No-sword at 6:02 AM on November 3, 2009


You bi-miters freak me out. CHOOSE.
posted by gomichild at 6:06 AM on November 3, 2009


marmite -v- vegemite. It's mushrooms -vs- acid. Marmite is more miso-like, more soup flavouring-like whereas vegemite is much more singularly salt concentrated and doesn't have very wide application and it's toxiciity is inescapable.
posted by peacay at 6:11 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bet half of the negative sentiment comes from that weird American anti-foreign closed mindedness.

Well, anecdotally speaking as a (North) American, I've travelled extensively throughout Europe and Asia, and unfamiliar food's one of my favourite things about travel. There are only two wildly popular local delicacies that I've tried that I will actively avoid for the rest of my days: the rancid-yak-butter tea beloved by Tibetans and Ladakhis . . . and Vegemite.

The only reason I can imagine why Aussies pound a tolerance to the stuff into their kids is as a kind of sensory reminder that as beautiful as their country is and as lovely as the weather often is, there are many things afoot in the land down under that are trying to kill them. Deadly snake poison manque on toast - that's Vegemite.

Now Timtams - there's an Aussie processed food worth celebrating!
posted by gompa at 6:15 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bet half of the negative sentiment comes from that weird American anti-foreign closed mindedness.

Except that it's Americans (Kraft) who are making money selling you the stuff.
posted by octothorpe at 6:26 AM on November 3, 2009


"Pounding a tolerance of the stuff" doesn't sound like what I did with my two-year-old; I just let him try it. If it's that easy, how come I can't get him to eat his peas?
posted by rory at 6:38 AM on November 3, 2009


If you pour a little hot water into your scraped-out finished jar of Marmite (or my personal preference, Three Threes Mighty Mite) and shake it up and dump it in a soup or stew or bolognese sauce, it makes it taste rich and yummy.

If you do the same with Vegemite, it makes it taste like Vegemite.
posted by flabdablet at 6:39 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


For Americans over the age of 30 wondering what Marmite tastes like, imagine if someone concentrated the mushroom gravy on the salisbury steak from Woolworth's lunch counter into a spreadable paste. Vegemite is similar to what you've just imagined, but it's a bit creamier, and it's slightly less bitter. (I prefer Marmite for cooking and Vegemite for cheese and tomato sammiches.)
posted by crataegus at 6:43 AM on November 3, 2009


Agreed that the name change must have been more of a cockup than a marketing conspiracy. They really weren't prepared to recall the obnoxiously-named product (and the guy who entered it in the competition sounded pretty damn suprised that it won). And as peacay notes, you can't really bump sales of Vegemite that much:

1. The stuff doesn't go off, or stale - it just sits in your cupboard until you've scraped the jar clean.
2. Most people don't spread it thickly enough to get through a jar very quickly
3. There's no new people to lure in - either you were indoctrinated at birth and consider it as essential as the air you breathe, or you weren't and would never buy it in a pink fit.
posted by harriet vane at 6:43 AM on November 3, 2009


Also, I've been eating cheese and Vegemite sandwiches forever. Recipe: 1. Make an open-faced cheese sandwich. 2. Spread a buttered slice of bread with Vegemite and put it on top. 3. Laugh in the face of Kraft's marketing department.
posted by rory at 6:44 AM on November 3, 2009


It puts a rose in every cheek!

Asking in all sincerity, do they mean that it, uh, assists in regularity?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:51 AM on November 3, 2009




I tried Yosemite once, but it tasted like granite and pine sap

I tried marketing Termite once, but only the anteaters were interested.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:06 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ever since the Men at Work song, I've wanted to try Vegemite, but have never found a place that carries it (to be fair, when I've been in towns like Chicago or NYC that probably have it at import places, I haven't really looked for it). Some of the local stores occasionally have Marmite, I might try it (and definitely would have bought the Guinness special edition, because, you know, Guinness).

I would never, ever eat Bovril after reading a bit in one of Nancy Friday's sex fantasy books where a woman spreads it on her swimsuit areas and has the dog lick it off.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:17 AM on November 3, 2009


There's only one possible name for this stuff, amirite?
posted by twine42 at 7:20 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I should swing into Cost Plus World Market and grab a little jar of Vegemite and see what I think.

I eat Marmite pretty much every day on buttered toast. It's insane, it tastes justs like beef bouillion cubes. My five year old enjoys it quite a bit, my seven year old won't touch it.
posted by padraigin at 7:37 AM on November 3, 2009


a woman spreads it on her swimsuit areas and has the dog lick it off.

That's just asking for a -
you know what nevermind i'm gonna wash my brain off now
posted by luftmensch at 7:45 AM on November 3, 2009


I tried Yosemite once, but it tasted like granite and pine sap

I tried marketing Termite once, but only the anteaters were interested.


I tried marketing Stalagmite, but the war ended before I could get into production.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:45 AM on November 3, 2009


Marmite is a little eating a bouillon cube, or the gravy master my Mom used to use. Salty, deeply savory, and perfect on toast with peanut butter. Never tried Vegemite. Checked Amazon, and they offer to let me know when it's available.
posted by theora55 at 7:51 AM on November 3, 2009


I know it's in a completely different category, but as long as we're talking about regional condiments I just wanted to express my recently discovered love for Branston Pickle. Spread it on as thick as you can, with or without cheese. I could eat that all day.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:53 AM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


/Now I'll probably never read it again without hearing "yo-suh-might" in my head.

I have this problem with GWACK-a-mole.* And to-MATTLE-ohs. I'm surprised there is anyone left on earth who is willing to discuss Mexican food with me.

*This one's especially satisfying because if you throw a fake Spanish accent back on top it sounds like Speedy Gonzales saying "whack-a-mole."
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:06 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've wanted to try Vegemite, but have never found a place that carries it.

Down here in North Carolina, the supermarket carries Marmite. Whole Foods carries Marmite and Vegemite. And I'm sorry, my dear Aussie friends (including the one who left the Vegemite in my refrigerator), Marmite (though still a fundamentally confusing concept to me) does taste better. That said, I generally find that my most intense salt cravings are better sated by olives, capers and pickles. But alas, I cannot and will not judge considering how much Cheese Whiz I enthusiastically ate during middle school.
posted by thivaia at 8:23 AM on November 3, 2009


I know it's in a completely different category, but as long as we're talking about regional condiments I just wanted to express my recently discovered love for Branston Pickle. Spread it on as thick as you can, with or without cheese. I could eat that all day.

What the awesome? I gotta get some of this.
posted by padraigin at 8:26 AM on November 3, 2009


.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:29 AM on November 3, 2009


Is this the future of marketing? Creating scandal and gossip through stupidity?

Because I can do that.
posted by graventy at 8:38 AM on November 3, 2009


An Aussie friend bringing me over a 500g jar of Vegemite (as opposed to the tiny things at World Market) had it confiscated by TSA under the "no liquids" rule. The mind boggles.

I'm more in the Marmite camp, but variety is the boiled-down-dead-yeast of life.

Most people don't spread it thickly enough to get through a jar very quickly

Though the natural state of both Marmite and Vegemite in jars is to be either full or clink-clink-scrape-the-glass empty.
posted by holgate at 8:42 AM on November 3, 2009


I'm fairly certain that the Safeway in my tiny town of 9000 residents carries Vegemite. The jars of the stuff are never very large, so it might be easily overlooked. Many chain grocery stores carry it, actually.

If you cannot find it there, it should be easy to find at any Cost Plus World Market.

If you still can't find it, then perhaps a quick Amazon order is needed.

(And seriously, that guy in the video... WAY too much Vegemite on that bread. The proper way is... toast so the bread has some resistance factor during spreading, and then just barely spread any on the bread. Like, just barely. Like, thinner than butter. A wafting of the stuff.)
posted by hippybear at 8:46 AM on November 3, 2009


Oops! My bad. Amazon seems to only have Marmite for purchase.
posted by hippybear at 8:59 AM on November 3, 2009


Okay, how about a few online sources for ordering Vegemite. Sorry for the earlier confusion.
posted by hippybear at 9:01 AM on November 3, 2009


I say spread it on thick. I love the stuff. And yes, Branston Pickle rules.
posted by molecicco at 9:28 AM on November 3, 2009


Brilliant work Sherlock. You asked for input from the public on something they love, then totally ignored them.

If they had planned this from the beginning the old jars wouldn't be sitting on the shelves stinking up the brand.


That's the opt-out. Sorry, mods. I kid!

It's been a long time since I've tried Vegemite or Marmite. I remember them both being vile (and in similar ways, to the dismay of my Aussie and Kiwi friends and family). Maybe time for another try.

Tibetan yak-butter tea, though, gompa. Never again. Never.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:32 AM on November 3, 2009


A marketing friend of mine spoke with an ex-colleague of hers at Kraft, who apparently confirmed that it was all just a ruse to get some word of mouth action going... Astro-vegima-turf?
posted by modernnomad at 10:14 AM on November 3, 2009


I've heard that some places are just as revolted by the idea of Peanut Butter & Jelly mixed together.
posted by wcfields at 10:25 AM on November 3, 2009


Spreadable gym socks.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 10:35 AM on November 3, 2009


I've heard that some places are just as revolted by the idea of Peanut Butter & Jelly mixed together.

Lunatic asyla?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:38 AM on November 3, 2009


I'm afraid 'tis true, a peanut butter and jam sandwich is an odd and incongruous amalgam - sweet, tasty jam, together with peanutty salty goodness, which should be heaven on a stick, somehow instead equals blechblergyuck. Each to their own, however.

On another note, what, exactly, is the difference, if any, between 'jam' and 'jelly'?

As a recently arrived resident in the US I've found that (just as happened somewhat earlier in the UK) a few of the iconic foods from home have found their way onto American supermarket shelves. It's relatively easy to buy Vegemite here, and there's a variety of TimTams on the shelves in our local Safeway (made in Oz, packed as some American brand but still named TimTams).

Of course there's also Crown Lager (cunningly repackaged as Fosters) but that's far from new, and why would one want to drink Crownies at a premium when there's a veritable plethora of tasty local beery beverages on offer? However, I digress, as is often the case when beer is involved.

I'm informed that the Canucks have a Cheesymite Scroll analogue available from one of their bakery chains, proving to my children/Cheesymite Scroll Addicts just how nice and clever those Canadian people are. For those of you keen on the idea of a Vegemite and cheese sandwich, imagine those same ingredients swirled into the dough of a bread roll and then baked, and best eaten warm from the oven...

Turnabout being fair play, are there any Tibetan MeFiers with a taste for Yak Butter Tea who could comment on their perspective on the relative merits of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or of the tastiness quotient of Vegemite on toast?
posted by Cods at 10:51 AM on November 3, 2009


Answered my own question on jam versus jelly with a couple of nanoseconds on Google's servers - Jelly, it seems, is Jam with all the good bits missing.
posted by Cods at 10:52 AM on November 3, 2009


I'm afraid 'tis true, a peanut butter and jam sandwich is an odd and incongruous amalgam - sweet, tasty jam, together with peanutty salty goodness, which should be heaven on a stick, somehow instead equals blechblergyuck. Each to their own, however.

Here is where I recommend you take some truly burly wheat, some chunky peanut butter, and some raspberry jam. Far superior to mere creamy JIF and grape jelly.

Also, I heart Vegemite. iSnack 2.0, on the other hand, is a troll of epic proportions, and as such I salute it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:22 AM on November 3, 2009


3. There's no new people to lure in

As a yank who got his first taste of Vegemite at age 25, and immediately thereafter formed a suicide pact to be carried out if it ever becomes impossible to import, I must protest!

In 2006, it was announced that the Four'N Twenty pie would begin being sold on the American market

LIES. WHERE?
posted by jake at 11:26 AM on November 3, 2009


I've not seen 'em in stores, but these guys might be able to help you.
posted by Cods at 12:53 PM on November 3, 2009


as peacay notes, you can't really bump sales of Vegemite that much:

1. The stuff doesn't go off, or stale - it just sits in your cupboard until you've scraped the jar clean.
2. Most people don't spread it thickly enough to get through a jar very quickly
3. There's no new people to lure in - either you were indoctrinated at birth and consider it as essential as the air you breathe, or you weren't and would never buy it in a pink fit.


Well, I'd say that those three reasons were exactly the thinking behind the new version (iSnack 2.0) which seems to be nothing but regular Vegemite heavily diluted in some kind of creamy processed cheese.

Doesn't go off? - I bet it does now that cheese has been added.

People don't spread it thickly enough? - With a less strong flavour, you need to use more. Plus, the cheesiness hits your fat receptor pleasure centres. I bought a small jar out of curiosity & finished it within about a week. That's about 5-10 slices of toast. The same sized jar of regular Vegemite would probably last me about six months.

No new people to lure in? - There's a reasonable chance that some people who can't stand regular Vegemite might like the weaker, cheesy version, and it might even be a kind of gateway drug to the unadulterated Vegemite.

But I think it's mostly about boosting turnover through the cheesy dilution. Kids, in particular, would probably rip through the stuff.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:38 PM on November 3, 2009


Oh, and I've said it before & I'll say it again: until you've tried vegemite on buttery raisin toast, you haven't lived.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:41 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Then again, who does?
posted by flabdablet at 3:11 PM on November 3, 2009


It puts a rose in every cheek!

Asking in all sincerity, do they mean that it, uh, assists in regularity?


Answer's here. Folk memory.
posted by Wolof at 4:14 PM on November 3, 2009


The company I work for has worked quite closely with Kraft. One of the interesting things we discovered during the process - and that blew my mind - was that when the media talks articles about social trends Vegemite is the number one brand mentioned in the world.

That delicious black goo is apparently the first thing people think of when talking about social trends and generations.
posted by smoke at 4:34 PM on November 3, 2009


Other fun fact: An amazing 7 out of ten Australian households have a jar of vegemite in them. Is there any other brand in the world with such incredible penetration?
posted by smoke at 4:38 PM on November 3, 2009


I eat my instant yeast raw. The active dry type for bread making. YUM.
According to The Cook's Thesaurus, it's bad for me! However, pasteurized, it's sold as Vegemite, Marmite, and Promite, which I've never tried.


Indeed a publicity coup. Witness the hue and cry and people snapping it up off the shelves just to keep as a souvenir for the gall.

Quotes: NYTimes article, Simon Talbot, the head of corporate affairs at Kraft Foods Australia.
"But the furor was already paying dividends: Sales of iSnack 2.0 rose 47 percent during its first two weeks with the name,"
and
“In the first week, we were in 15 percent of Australian households, which is unheard of. It usually takes many months to get that sort of impact,”

Question is, will it get a name makeover and should it?

I much prefer the raising of the KFC Colonel and crashing the UN, including a letter for starting a Grilled Nation? Now That's a campaign.

As for Kraft, in the product's website, what possessed them embedding a video using Hitler as the pitch man? Pretty pretty pretty insensitive and vulgar.
What effect do you think hearing Hitler's voice again have among those that lived through that period in history.

I won't be purchasing any Kraft products, who exhibit such ignorance.

Voting with my wallet, it was an eye opener what Kraft Group owns or have private equity investments. Take for example the Carmel Container Systems, located in Caesarea, Israel. What would they think of this promo? Or the American-israeli Paper Mills Ltd., located in Hadera, Israel? Or Ampal Enterprises Ltd., based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Does one hand of a company know what the other is doing and do they give a damn? Just thinking out loud, s'all.
posted by alicesshoe at 4:55 PM on November 3, 2009


Is there any other brand in the world with such incredible penetration?

Durex?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:04 PM on November 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


It seems to me impossible to like both Marmite and Vegemite, so this thread is fascinating. I am wondering if those who do claim to like both were either a) exposed to both as a child or b) not exposed to either until adulthood. There is probably a PhD or several in this.

Also, when the jar is unscrapeably empty, you could fill it with hot water and use that in a sauce but this seems a bit risky, depending on the sauce. Far better to just fill it with hot water and drink it, or give to a loved one to drink. But only a very deeply loved one.
posted by motty at 5:17 PM on November 3, 2009


allright. Got ahead of myself and was behind the curve regarding the Hitler's Downfall vid and how pervasive it is for any headline. sheesh....

Got fished in, however, it still looks odd for Kraft when someone has a website with the product name.... and slaps the send up on there. gnome sayin'?
posted by alicesshoe at 7:38 PM on November 3, 2009


gnome sayin'?

For a moment there I was gonna tell you to elf off for being a troll, but now I realise you were just off with the fairies.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:13 PM on November 3, 2009


I visited Tibet a couple of years back and will always regret not trying the yak tea. I got as far as the smell, and just couldn't go through with it. Now I'll always be curious. Speaking of smells, taking a good hard sniff out of a vegemite jar is probably nauseating enough to scare people off as well
posted by moorooka at 8:44 PM on November 3, 2009


It seems to me impossible to like both Marmite and Vegemite, so this thread is fascinating. I am wondering if those who do claim to like both were either a) exposed to both as a child or b) not exposed to either until adulthood.

a).
posted by flabdablet at 4:24 AM on November 4, 2009


Okay, call me slow, but I've only just realised that Twiglets are a very British snack.

How can you have a party without Twiglets? It's like having a party without beer. Or hookers.
posted by twine42 at 4:57 AM on November 4, 2009


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