Vegemite gets a makeover

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 15th June 2009

For the first time in 85 years there has been a change to Vegemite.

Kraft, the American owner of one of Australia’s most iconic brands, has decided to tamper with Vegemite to produce a new version with cheese, however the original will remain on supermarket shelves.

Last October, the one billionth jar of Vegemite was sent down the production line after first hitting retailers shelves in 1923 – a year after it was created by Chemist Dr Cyril P Callister. The product was not immediately embraced by Australians, however, with a name change to Parwill – a play on the name of the similar English product Marmite – in 1928 designed to boost its flagging fortunes.

Parwill was only ever seen in Queensland and the Kraft Walker Cheese Company soon reverted back to the original name of Vegemite, with sales beginning to blossom in the 1930s and 40s. And now, for the first time since launch the product will be altered, albeit to produce a new standalone product.

Kraft has advised that, following a survey of 300,000 Australians, they will offer a product that is essentially Vegemite mixed with cream cheese. The official launch over the weekend was put forward after a leaking of information last week, with the product not set to hit supermarket shelves until July 5.

Kraft’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Simon Talbot, said the manufacturer was well aware that tampering with the brand needed to be carried out with the utmost care. “(Consumers) told us they wanted a Vegemite that doesn’t require combining with butter and one that’s easier to spread,” he advised. “With such a well-loved, iconic brand we wouldn’t create something using the Vegemite name unless we were absolutely sure Australians would love it.”