Every week, Wendyl Nissen takes a readily available packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.
Yeast extracts such as these enjoy a love/hate relationship with people depending on where they live. If you're British, Australian or Kiwi then you'll love it but Americans and Europeans think it is ghastly stuff.
There are also those who will only eat Marmite and those who prefer Vegemite.
And there is another product lurking on the shelves called Our Mate which is actually British-made Marmite, which must be sold here under another name.
The spreads are made from a yeast that is a by-product of the brewing industry.
But are all our yeast extracts made the same? The shortage of Marmite is forcing people to look for alternatives. Time perhaps to have a look at all three and see what is in them.
Yeast (80 per cent)
As this is a yeast product, it is reassuring that most of this jar contains yeast.
This must be in here for taste but is nearly 12 per cent sugar which seems odd for something with such a distinct savoury taste.
We all know Marmite is salty and there is 170mg of sodium per 5g (a teaspoon) serve but at such a small serving this shouldn't be a problem.
Mineral salt (508)
Potassium chloride which is often used in foods as an alternative to salt (sodium chloride) to reduce the amount of harmful sodium in foods.
A form of sugar taken from wheat.
Colour (caramel III)
This is a dark brown colour made out of heating sugars with ammonia.
Vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate, B12).
The iron in one serve will give you 15 per cent of the recommended dietary intake a day.
Yeast extract (from yeast grown on barley)
We aren't told what percentage of this product is yeast.
At 173mg of sodium per 5g serve this is similar to Marmite.
Mineral salt (508)
Again potassium chloride possibly to bring down the amount of sodium.
Malt extract (from barley)
This is similar to the maltodextrin used in Marmite but it is extracted from barley rather than wheat.
This is the same caramel III as used in Marmite.
This could mean herbs and spices or it could be a natural identical flavouring.
Niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folate
There is no B12 or iron listed here.
Like the other two.
This is higher in sodium at 200mg for a 4g serve. This will be because it does not have the addition of potassium chloride.
This will be for flavouring
Because of its position in the list this shows that there is more niacin in here than the other vitamins.
Again in here for flavouring.
Vitamins: B1, B2,
Thiamine (B1) and riboflavin (B2)
A natural flavouring.
Vitamins: Folic acid, B12
Folic acid is another name for folate.
My recommendations:If you're looking for a product which is as real as possible then Our Mate is an obvious choice.
Unlike the other two products it has no sugar added (Marmite), or maltodextrin/malt extract (Marmite/Vegemite), it identifies its flavours (unlike Vegemite) and does not add colour (Marmite and Vegemite).
If you're looking for more iron, Marmite is the only one which has some in it.
Our Mate is made in Britain where it is called Marmite. It is a different consistency to Marmite (NZ) or Vegemite as it is quite liquid and treacle-like.By Wendyl Nissen Email Wendyl