Great British Marmite. Short Tales of British Creation and Invention.

Posted on by Lizzie Watson

Accidentally created in the 19th Century, it was discovered that by concentrating and bottling brewers yeast you could eat, the sticky, dark brown paste that formed, and the great British icon that is Marmite, was born. 

With the raw material readily available from local brewers, Marmite Food Company was founded in 1902 in Burton-On-Trent, Staffordshire. It’s distinctive and powerful taste has divided opinions across the globe, and Marmite’s “love it, or hate it” marketing campaign slogan even has it’s own metaphor in the English language; coining the phrase ‘Marmite effect.’
Since it’s creation, Marmite has long been a routine part of the British household; recommended for folic acid and vitamin B12 intake during pregnancy, and most of us will remember being given Marmite sandwiches as young children; it is still recommended that a little a day aids brain function and digestion. The Marmite accolade can go as far as accompanying troops into battle and was included in soldiers rations alongside Spam and condensed milk.

It’s popularity over the last decade has cemented Marmite as a trendy retro brand, and we can’t get enough of it. Celebrities have been know to make dressing room requests for Marmite, whilst one was stopped at Heathrow airport for trying to smuggle an extra-large jar in his hand luggage. The relationship we have with Marmite is a real passion; a passionate love, or a passionate distaste.

Every minute, twenty-seven jars are sold, and the look of the jar has been used to commemorate occasion; In April 2012, a special edition jar was released for Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee and Marmite briefly became known as "Ma'amite,” featuring a Union Jack themed label. Past Christmas editions have included gold, limited edition jars where the Marmite itself contained flecks of edible gold.

Solid silver engraved lids are an enormously popular addition to our British condiments and are proving to be delightful heirlooms for future generations, and in Marmite's honour, a sculpture, nicknamed ‘Monumite’, now takes pride of place next to the main library in Burton-on-Trent.

Engravers Guild of London
Burton Edition Marmite Lid (250g) 
£79 >


If you're a true Marmite connoisseur, test your skills with this this 500 piece Marmite jigsaw puzzle.


John Lewis
Gibsons Marmite Jigsaw Puzzle Jar (500 pieces)
£12.49 >

Love it or hate it, Marmite's part in British Popular Culture is only growing; in our hearts, and on our toast - it really is "the growing up spread you never grow out of."