When I go shopping at the local supermarket in my neck of the woods a stone’s throw north of New York City, I occasionally browse through the items in the British/Irish section to see if there is anything interesting. There are so many British products there I often feel like I am shopping in a market in Liverpool, England. The item that interests me the most is the quintessentially British Marmite, which is a strong tasting yeasty-vegetable product that is spread on bread, usually for breakfast in the U.K. As I understand it, it is something of a staple in the U.K(though some people hate it), and Vegemite, a very similar product is commonly eaten in its former colony, Australia. In fact, Vegemite is so quintessentially Australian, it was mentioned in Men at Work’s song “Down Under” in the famous verse: “He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich”.
Marmite as well as Vegemite is a very good vegetarian source of B vitamins like B-12, so it’s a great way for vegans to get this important nutrient without taking a supplement. Other than this, I don’t believe it provides any unique health benefits, and it is very salty.
As intrigued as I am by Marmite, I still haven’t tried it. Or Vegemite for that matter. The main reason for this is the price. $7.19 for a 125g jar of Marmite is outrageous. If this small amount cost this much in the U.K it would cost £4.66*! I think 125g of Marmite usually costs around £1.70 in the U.K. And in the U.S I only see 125g available while it is available in much larger sizes in the U.K(based on research, since I’ve never been there). If I were to buy it at its current price, I would feel like a victim of British imperialism!
I realize its an import, and very few stores over here sell it, but did it have to cost this much? I really want to try it, but I will try to find it at a cheaper price first. I think I would like it because I love strong yeasty flavors. To any British people reading this: Do you regularly use Marmite? And if you travel outside the U.K, do you miss Marmite or try to find it in stores where you are staying?
* Assuming 1 U.S dollar = 0.65 Pound Sterling