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Made from a by-product of the beer brewing process, the yeast extract Marmite is a popular UK sandwich and toast spread similar to Australia's Vegemite.

The Marmite Food Extract Company was formed in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, in 1902.

Marmite is the richest 'natural' source of the vitamin B complex, if one can call a product resembling pitch natural. Although vitamin B12 is not naturally found in yeast extract, it is added to Marmite during manufacture.

Advertised variously as "The Growing Up Spread" and "My Mate, Marmite", Marmite tends to be an acquired taste, with no middle ground. It is the food item most commonly missed and imported by British expatriates in other countries. People tend to love it or hate it-- in fact, two websites have been set up where either camp are invited to leave their comments: I love Marmite (http://www.ilovemarmite.com/) and I hate Marmite (http://www.ihatemarmite.com/). The snack food Twiglets is flavoured with a substance resembling Marmite.

The spread is packaged in a distinctive bulbous brown glass jar. The shape is meant to resemble a cooking pot, for which the French word is la marmite; the label has a picture of the cooking pot. An occasional surrealist sight on British roads is that of a large tanker lorry (presumably taking yeast to the factory) with the round end of the tank painted to resemble the Marmite jar and label.

see also: Where to buy marmite

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