ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Little-known facts about Marmite

Shedding some light on the black stuff

Little-known facts about Marmite
13 October 2016

It's been a turbulent year for the UK, and we're not getting an easy run to the finish line.

Just when we thought hope may have been possible, a new bombshell has hit: our Marmite supplies may be under threat.

You may adore the tasty spread, or hate the toxic yeasty sludge, but its importance to our culture isn't in dispute.

However, other than the extremely passionate reactions we have towards it, not a lot else is known about the mysterious substance. Until now, of course...

In World War I, it was included in soldier's rations along with spam and condensed milk. Sadly, toast was not provided.

Marmite's name actually comes from a French casserole called Marmite Dieppoise. It's what you can see on the main label on the jar. Confusingly, the real dish is actually made from fish, unlike actual Marmite, of course.

Marmite manufacturing is... pungent.

Until 2014 it was banned in Denmark for containing too many vitamins.

The Marmite that you'd find in New Zealand has high levels of potassium, tastes weaker and is less tangy.

After Jade Goody compared herself to the substance, her funeral included a display of flowers in the shape of a Marmite jar.

In 2009, it was reportedly banned from prisons as inmates were using it to create an alcoholic drink called Marmite Mule as the yeast helps with the fermentation process.

There's a belief that Marmite helps to repel mosquitos although no actual proof to support it.

After Russell Brand moved to America, he was inundated with British fans sending him Marmite as they assumed he would miss it. Ironically, he hates the stuff.

Madonna's worst nightmare is eating a Marmite sandwich as she thinks that it is "vile".

Marmite is a great source of B Vitamins, which help protect the nervous system.

Believe it or not, the ‘Love it or hate it’ was not organic but rather a rather canny strapline created in 2000 when Unilever acquired the company.

In 2009, a Marmite-obsessed thief targeted a petrol station and stole 18 jars over a month. Ultimately, the owner stopped stocking it to prevent him striking again.

Former Arsenal, Man City and Bolton striker Nicolas Anelka has a fear of Marmite but he's never dared to actually try it.

33% of Brits love it while 33% hate it. But this means that 34% have no feeling on it whatsoever...

Britney Spears is a surprise fan of Marmite after trying it on a UK tour.

Marmite has also been used as a dietary supplement in prisoner of war camps and was sent to British peacekeepers in Kosovo in 1999 as a morale booster.

There is a restaurant in Windhoek, Namibia called La Marmite yet, opportunity missed, there are no Marmite dishes on the menu!

Annual sales top £25 million, three times that of Bovril.

Both The Rolling Stones and Dido ask for Marmite when they are on tour.

Apparently, if a pregnant woman eats four slices of Marmite on toast a day, there's enough folic acid to reduce the threat of children born with spina bifida.

Although a wide selection of popular Marmite products exist now, two attempts to introduce Oxo-style cubes have both failed in the Thirties and the Nineties.