Ownership of Vegemite Rightfully Returns to Only Country That Considers It Food

Just smile and give them a Vegemite sandwich. Photo: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Only the Australian people will ever “get” Vegemite, a salty spread made from yeast extract that has the consistency of Castrol GTX. Even the British, who have their own equally vile Marmite, would rather die hungry than spread Vegemite on toasts. It’s perfect, then, that ownership of the questionable product would eventually end up safely sequestered back in the country where it’s been “proudly made” since 1923. Bega Cheese, an Aussie company that specializes in cheddar and tin cans of cheese, has bought Vegemite from Mondelez, the Illinois-based food conglomerate that controls so many billion-dollar brands, it maybe forgot it owns the spread. Either way, executives seemed very happy to depart with it for the $345 million Bega offered. “This was a rare opportunity,” Bega’s chairman Barry Irvin told investors. “Vegemite doesn’t often change hands.”

Also, as Irvin points out, this acquisition “does add diversification to Bega Cheese.” It’s coming alongside an agreement for the rights to sell Kraft’s processed cheeses (basically, Singles and their ilk) as well as its peanut butter, giving Bega about a third of Australia’s $550 million spreads market, according to Bloomberg. The deal with Mondelez, meanwhile, includes several other surefire winners Down Under, too, like Zoosh salad dressings and this highly questionable product described as “Bonox beef drink:”

Vegemite Sold to Only Country Where It’s Considered Food