by Monte Sahlin
By AT News Team, January 2, 2014
A distinctive vegetarian food product which is exclusively manufactured by Sanitarium Foods, the large grocery company in Australia owned by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, is again widely available throughout the country and across the Pacific region. "Marmite" is a food spread made from yeast extract, "a sticky, dark brown food paste with a distinctive, powerful flavor which is extremely salty," according to Wikipedia.
Invented in England in the late 19th century, the Adventist company obtained sole rights to distribute the product in New Zealand and Australia in 1908. A factory in Christchurch, New Zealand, manufactures Marmite and it was closed down by an earthquake in March 2012. This led to a shortage of the product dubbed "Marmageddon" by the media in the two nations.
Over the fall production began again and "Marmite returned to Aussie shelves," reported the South Pacific Record. "It's been great to see the interest in Marmite from Australian consumers, and we would like to thank everyone for their loyalty and patience," said Julie Praestin, corporate communication manager for Sanitarium Foods. "We're delighted to be reuniting Australians with their much-loved Marmite and look forward to supplying this product … for many years to come."
The version of Marmite produced by the Adventist company in New Zealand has a different flavor than the original version produced in the United Kingdom which is a by-product of beer brewing. The Sanitarium Foods recipe includes sugar and caramel as well as different proportions of the basic ingredients than the original, European version. It is described as having a "weaker" or "less tangy" taste. It is much more widely distributed than the British product.
Marmite is popular as a savory spread on toast or crackers and in sandwiches, a vegetarian alternative to beef products. It is often paired with cheeses and Sanitarium Foods recommends including potato chips for a Marmite and Chippie sandwich. It can also be the base for soup, and in Singapore and Malaysia it is popularly added to plain rice as well as cooked with chicken, prawns or crab.
Although it does not require believers to abstain from animal products, the Adventist movement has long promoted a vegetarian diet. Even in the United States and Australia, the majority of church members do not follow an entirely vegetarian diet, but it is a much larger percentage than the general public. Large studies of Adventists conducted by Loma Linda University for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that vegetarians live longer and suffer less negative health outcomes.