Has Marmite lost it oomph?

marmitecat.jpg
Thinner? Sweeter? Do you think Marmite has lost a certain something recently?
People keep telling me ‘it’s just not the same’ so I started to investigate.
Being a Marmite lover myself I purchased a new jar. There was nothing to mark it out as any different and I really found it to be the same as usual. However, the small individual servings which are sold in our staff canteen are another matter. Definitely thinner and I’m certain it’s sweeter.
But Marmite Brand Manager Cheryl Calverley, was most insistent that there’s been no change in the recipe – even for the squeezy variety.

“The recipe for Marmite has remained the same and Marmite still has the same great loved and hated taste. The main ingredient of Marmite is brewer’s yeast, which as a natural product has an inherent variation in taste, and a range of consistency from thick to thin. Marmite in the glass jar is typically in the middle of this range, while squeezy Marmite is blended towards the thin end, however the taste profile is exactly the same as tested by both computers and people.”

Although not wishing to doubt this official guardian of the Marmite brand I was still a little suspicious. Had the health PC police perhaps affected the salt levels in our treasured spread?
Apparently makers Unilever do have a rather big brother sounding “salt reduction programme”.

“Unilever has a salt reduction programme in place and Marmite is included in this. Marmite is a strong tasting, concentrated spread of which salt is a key part of the taste profile, but used in moderation, Marmite can be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced diet. A typical serving of Marmite is 4g, which provides 0.17g of sodium (which is the amount of sodium found in 0.33g of salt). Research shows that fans of Marmite eat it approximately 2.2.times per week, which equates to less than 2% of the recommended salt intake.”

So is it this programme that’s making the change? If you can taste a difference, let me know below.
Thanks to Vrog at Flickr for this adorable picture.

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39 thoughts on “Has Marmite lost it oomph?

  1. The new squeezy Marmite I’m sure isn’t the same as the glass pot, more sweeter. Unfortunately we rely on unreliable memory for taste..you’ve now raised doubts in my mind. If only I kept that pot with “Best before 1999”.

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  2. At last! I have been eating Marmite since I was tiny. I hadn’t noticed any change until recently. I eat so much of it that I bought a larger than average pot and it does not taste the same at all. In fact, I used to find it hard to leave it alone but I doubt I will finish this jar. It is most definitely not the same.

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  3. Regardless of what is written above, there is most definitely a change in taste. My husband, who rarely eats Marmite, immediately noticed the change of colour in the new pot. I tasted the difference immediately. Having eaten it for so many years, and taking into account the comments of variations in each batch, why have I never noticed this before! Something is different and I’m not alone with this view.

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  4. Thank you!! I was so relieved to read your article, I’d thought I was going mad. Yes, Marmite has most definitely changed. It is a paler brown colour, it is runny regardless of temperature, and it is nowhere near as strong in taste. Not so long ago you only needed a tiny amount scraped over your bread or toast, now you have to spread it rather than scrape it, and you still don’t get the marmite taste. I think it is a ploy to make us buy more!! A jar of the old Marmite would last months, this watered down version is unlikely to last a couple of weeks by comparison. I want the old tastey Marmite back!

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  5. Well I had no problem with Marmite and have been eating it for 20 years. However my last purchase, a huge jar (as my son is also a lover) is totally wrong. You take the lid off and it smells different, it looks different and it most definitely tastes diferent!!! I wrote to Unilever via their Marmite website and got no reply. It might mean that I have to become a hater as I just can’t get used to the weird taste. 😦

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  6. I have been eating marmite since i was very young and both my partner and i have been puzzled by the difference in tatse. At first we thought that the butter was off, but sadly this was not the case. If it does not go back to its original taste we will be forced to give it up after 30 years!
    (Bristol)

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  7. I’ve just found a pot of Marmite I bough last year and compared it with a new one, and yes, the salt reduction programme has been implemented. The sodium level has gone down from 4.3% to 3.9% and maybe to compensate for this carbohydrate level has increased from 19.2% to a massive 24%, with sugar going up from o.5% to 1.1%. Unsurprisingly the calorie content has also increased, from 217kcal per 100g to 252 kcal per 100g. Still, my slimming diet won’t suffer, since I agree with the rest of you – it’s just not Marmite any more!
    Crazy Jack’s organic yeast extract isn’t Marmite either, but with only two ingredients, yeast extract and salt, it’s a little closer to the real thing than Unilever’s current offering.
    And has anybody noticed that the Marmite website link at http://www.marmite.com now just takes you to the Unilever home page? What’s going on?

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  8. I have the proof Marmite has changed! I have an old jar that I keep at my mother-in-laws in Austria for when we visit. It has a best before date of March 03. It is pretty much black in colour, tastes far better with no nasty after-taste, spreads slightly firmer and is just the real Marmite taste. So Cheryl Caverly is not rightwhen she says the recipe has not changed. If you compare the two spreads there is a huge difference.
    This new spread is very similar to the Australian Vegemite which is a miserable alternative to genuine Marmite.

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  9. To all you on the list, I have clicked on the Marmite name at the very top which takes you through to Love it or Hate it. I clicked on Hate it and then you can follow through to a contract email address – I think it said “form” of some sort and you can add your comments which they promise to reply to. I will let you know if they do.

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  10. We’re being gaslighted here (see the film by the same name). I thought seriously that they’d made some hideous mistake and put the new “spreadable” in a glass jar.
    Seriously, is there any way you could confuse the two? In search of a tarry, bitter hit, I downed a teaspoonful of the new pathetic offering without flinching.
    They have a nerve, messing with a Bitish institution like this. I’m minded to start a protest group!

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  11. Update – Personal taste-test (ongoing):
    Old Marmite – 10/10
    New Marmite – 2/10
    Tesco Yeast Extract – 6/10
    LIDL Route 66 Yeast Extract – 9/10

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  12. Here we are on 1st September 2008 and I have not received the promised reply from Marmite. I feared as much. As a lover of food and food programmes, I noticed James Martin recommend Marmite on Saturday Kitchen. I cannot believe a top chef has not noticed the difference. Like Sarah, I hoped that a batch of spreadable had been bottled by mistake and all would be well, but obviously not. I hate to say so but I think we have to concede defeat and believe that the Marmite that we have all loved will not return. If it is due to the healthy brigade wanting to reduce our salt intake, surely that is up to us.

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  13. Hooray! I have just phoned Marmite direct – telephone number 08000323656 and spoken to Peter Scott. He eventually admitted that there was a batch which “wasn’t up to their usual standard”, sold at the end of last year, beginning of this year, although there was nothing wrong with it. He is sending me a voucher to buy another pot of Marmite and assured me the recipe hasn’t changed. I shall keep you all informed as to the outcome in the very near future.

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  14. I agree with all these statements I used to be a fresh pot had to be used sparingly as it was very strong & very dark colour. now a new pot has to be spread thickly, is a lighter colour & the tast has changed so much I’m becoming a hater not a lover of the stuff.

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  15. With the voucher sent to me by Peter Scott back in September, I bought a small pot of Marmite and was astounded to find it was exactly the same as the good old original product. Is there something odd going on with production? If, as I wrote in September, there had been an inferior batch which was withdrawn, why are people still writing about the problem. I’m still eating the small pot, but when it’s finished I shall buy another and let you know if it was as good. I have to say I was relieved and happy to have the old product at last. I hope it wasn’t just a one off!

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  16. Why has nobody mentioned Guinness Marmite?. That was definitely sweeter and runnier (and nicer) and although now discontinued and way past its sell-by date is still going strong on ebay.

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  17. Just opened a new small jar purchased just prior to Christmas….it is RUBBISH! I’ve eaten Marmite for the the best part of 60 years, this new light brown, runny, bland tasting concoction is a disgrace…pack it all up Unilever and send it to our Aussie cousins,…..then give us back the REAL stuff you bunch of snake oil salesmen.

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  18. Glad you mentionned this.Ialways loved the stuff.Recently I noticed that it was not as dark and the ingredient deck was not as I remembered.i’m sure it had onions and other vegies.Marmite has become more like vegemite,which I tried and rejected many years ago.
    Why does everything savoury have to be so sweet now?Walkers marmite crisps for instance!Horrible horrible.Unlike the original Bovril crisps-I digress.Cheers.
    Former Marmite addict in Canada!

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  19. Route 66 Yeast Extract at Lidl was a superior product: but sadly I notice that Route 66 has been “discontinued” even though it was better than Marmite has become. This is a stain on the character of our country, matched only by the former boss of RBS

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    1. yes i was a fan of route 66 yeast extract and wrote to lidl a few years ago to ask when it would be back and they said in the winter but it never came.
      i too believe it was better than marmite.

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  20. Well, it’s the 6th May 2011 and I have just relaced an old, much loved jar of Marmite with a new jar of so called Marmite. Like many of the previous correspondents, I have eaten Marmite all my life (60 years or so) and this new jar of Marmite is definitely not the same. Its paler, thiner and much less tasty. In short, its an insipid imitation of the original. Its a shame that Unilever won’t admit that they have watered it down and even more of a shame that their apologist spin doctor seems to be a stranger to the truth and obviously takes us all for being gullible mugs. I have no doubt that the new formula is engineered to increase Unilevers profit’s rather than enhance their customer satisfaction and loyalty. So, come on Unilever. Restore some faith in Big Business. Stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes and give us back the original and authentic formula.

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  21. Just finished a very large bottle of Marmite and the new smaller bottle is lighter in colour and very runny [kept in cupboard not warm]. Very disappointing and the response from Unilever they are telly porkies!!!! It’s not so strong it’s lighter in colour and not as sticky as I have always had in 50 plus years! I think it must be the same consistency that they use in the squeezable bottles! Well I want it hard and sticky!!!!
    Oh arh Matron 🙂

    BaZa

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  22. Can we bombard Cheryl Calverley, Marmite brand manager, with emails?

    I can’t find her contact but I am sure someone here can 🙂

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  23. i found this searching in google for “squeezy marmite consistency changed lighter colour taste”… something is definitely different but i’ve only noticed it over the last 1-2 years or so.

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  24. I’ve just opened a new jar, and spread it on toast for a quick snack and I have to say I thought my taste buds were on strike!!
    I waited for that lovely,salty tangy taste but there was just an insipid hint of flavour.
    Why can’t people leave things alone?
    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it !!!

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  25. I agree with all above cooments. I opened a new jar the other day and just couldn’t eat it as it tasted disgusting. I will now try the route 66 yeast extract from Lidl.

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  26. I totally agree. I’ve eaten marmite for years and buy the giant pots from Costco, but with this last one the difference was startling. Runny and bland. Whereas previously I was sparse with the amount spread, now it has to be layered on. I’m going through the pot in no time at all when it used to last months. Is this a way of us paying more for less in a recession? Very cynical.

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  27. Had a fun conversation with a lady at Marmite customer support who was very concerned that customers might think that the flavour had changed & promised me that it hadn’t – even when I mentioned the Alison Moore post that quotes the changed printed ingredient mix. No voucher offered either; perhaps I wasn’t indignant enough. I suggested they looked at this post. Seriously though: of course it’s changed and, as you all say, much for the worse: blander, runnier, less concentrated & flavoursome, lighter colour etc – I won’t go on for risk of boring you. (My comparison was with a very old jar – probably 1995 vintage – compared with a 2012 jar.) I’ll try out the recommended alternatives – Thanks Hamish.

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  28. Ohmigod! Just bought 2 little jars in Asda for £1 – thought it was a good deal! Yeuch!!! Light brown, smells different, tastes different (slightly fishy?). Cannot eat it. Who do we complain to?

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  29. It’s not really been the same since they stopped using the lovely tin lids, apparently for health and safety reasons, sigh. Now I know that the lid doesn’t affect the taste but it does affect the overall experience.

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  30. I have not eaten marmite for a little while although love (loved) the taste!! I have just put some on a piece of toast and could not get enough on the bread to get any kind of flavour!
    Oh Unilever what have you done to one of our National treasures?
    Sonya

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  31. I expect pain when I eat Marmite. If I wanted my tastebuds to be tickled rather than receiving a good slapping I would spread Vegemite on my buttery crust. Unilever? More like Looneylever.

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  32. People think I am crazy: I noticed the change on Twiglets about 4 years ago, contacted the Twiglets people and they denied it all! I live in the USA, so have only occasional access to Twiglets and they were NOT how I remembered them from the 60’s . SO THERE! Marmite HAS changed.

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  33. Americans know the price of everything and the value of nothing. They have no sense of taste, and compromise the original recipe with cheap fillers to keep costs down. Marmite is now just pale, sticky gloop thanks to the yanks – but still they put the prices right up to squeeze profit out of the brand before it dies. They do this with everything.

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  34. Definitely tastes and smells blander, and is much lighter in colour. And thinner. Ah well, just another famous English food brand that has been ‘ruined’ by new recipe. Just have to accept these ‘improvements’ as a fact of life these days.

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