Marmite; you either love it or hate it!
Accidently discovered by a German scientist in the late 19th century, the original yeast spread, full of B Vitamins and better enjoyed with a cup of tea, is still on many breakfast tables across the UK today!
Let’s cut to the chase: Marmite’s product range is vegan (except for one product).
In fact, the initial plant-based creation was made to resemble meat extract and has an umami flavour.
But even though the brand is vegan, it’s not as cruelty-free as it seems!
Vegomm score: 80%
- Brand is certified vegan: YES
- Brand offers a selection of vegan products: YES
- Brand tests on animals: NO
- Parent company tests other brands on animals: NO
- Parent company sells other brands in China: YES
Is Marmite Vegan Friendly?
Yes! The good news is that Marmite is certified as a vegan product by the European Vegetarian Union (EVU). This means marmite products don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients.
At the time of writing this article, there are 5 Marmite varieties availables in the UK:
- Marmite Spread Yeast Extract
- Marmite Squeezy Yeast Extract
- Marmite XO
- Marmite Crunchy Peanut Butter
- Marmite Reduced Salt Spread
All five varieties are suitable for vegans.
Watch out for the 70g jar of Original Marmite, though. For some reason, it’s the only product from Marmite that isn’t certified vegan (yet), according to their FAQ.
What are Marmite's Yeast Ingredients?
Marmite’s main ingredients list is pretty much self explanatory: glutamic acid-rich yeast extract, salt, vegetable extract, spice extracts, celery extracts.
No animal by-products here!
By the way, do you know what Yeast actually is?
Yeast extracts are a flavour enhancer used to create what is described as a savoury or Umami taste. It is a natural ingredient that comes from fresh yeast, which belongs to the fungus family. The fresh yeast is fermented, leaving behind a blend of proteins and amino acids.
What Is Marmite Cruelty-Free Statement And Animal-Testing Policy?
According to our standards, we can't qualify Marmite as a cruelty-free brand, due to Unilever being the parent company.
Currently, Marmite does not have a cruelty-free/animal-testing statement on its UK website for consumers. There is a direct link to the parent company, Unilever, who has ‘Our Position On’ statements for topics such as animal-testing, farm animal welfare, and palm oil.
Unilever's statement on animal testing start with:
However, if you keep reading, you'll see the following section:
So, even though Unilever doesn't test its products on animals, they DO sell products in China, where animal testing is conducted (and required by law). For that reason, many vegan consumers choose not to support brands parented by Unilever.
Now, Marmite is not sold to the Chinese market (it is actually banned there), so the brand itself is cruelty-free. And it's up to you to decide if brands like Marmite have to "suffer" the consequences of the actions taken by the parent company.
Watch out for Marmite’s flavoured snacks!
Have you seen the wide range of Marmite flavoured snacks in the supermarket?
It is important to note that these are not part of the Marmite product range, but use the Marmite flavour profile to create a totally new product in partnership with the brand.
For example, Marmite Cream Cheese, Marmite Creamy Butter and Marmite Cheese Twists by Marks & Spencer; all three are not vegan.
How about Marmite Biscuits? Are the Marmite Biscuits vegan? Nope, Marmite Biscuits are not vegan as they contain Milk. Sorry, they won't be a good vegan alternative to prawn crackers.
Can’t find any vegan Marmite pre-packaged snacks?
- Vegan Marmite Rice Cakes
- Vegan Marmite Peanut Butter Sandwiches
- Vegan Marmite Gravy
- Vegan Soup with Marmite as a base for the vegan stock
- Marmite Scrolls but with Vegan Cheese
And if you don't feel like cooking or baking, don't worry, there are plenty of tasty vegan biscuits available in the UK!
Vegan/cruelty-free alternatives to Marmite
If you are searching for an alternative to Marmite, here are our two favourites options.
Vegemite, stay salty my friend
Loved and hated equally like Marmite, Kraft Vegemite is also a spread based on yeast extract but it is the Australian version. Marmite is said to have a sweeter, less intense, flavour profile when compared to the salty-tasting Vegemite.
Meridian, gluten-free alternative
Meridian, a brand fighting palm oil, offers its own Yeast extract. It is a healthy option that is vegan and gluten-free. Meridian's yeast can be enjoyed on toast just like Marmite, or used as a stock for cooking (speaking about cooking, have a look at our guide of vegan Christmas cooking books) (speaking about cooking, have a look at our guide of vegan Christmas cooking books). (Pssst, their Instagram is a delight!)
Most Frequently Asked Questions About Marmite
The ingredients in Marmite are listed on the packaging. To learn more about the brand’s vegan products you can simply visit the Marmite Uk Website and scroll to the bottom of the page and select the FAQ tab to find additional information to frequently asked questions.
Yes, the entire range is certified halal by the Halal Food Authority.
The entire range is certified vegan by the European Vegetarian Union (EVU) except the Marmite Original 70g jar which is vegetarian, not vegan. Marmite is in the process of certifying the 70g jar as a vegan product with the EVU at the time of writing.
No. Marmite can not be certified gluten-free because it contains ingredients such as barley, wheat, rye, and oats from the brewer’s yeast process.