Shri Nathji enjoys taking a yeast preparation, Marmite, on the toast. Shri Nathji used to take Marmite and greatly enjoyed it. He used to give it to the HH Pran Nathji and HH Priya Nathji also, who enjoyed the sour taste. Marmite and Sanatogen were two tonics Shri Nathji was always very fond of. He gave up Marmite later when he was diagnosed with heart problem because of its salt and spicy contents.
Marmite is made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing. It is a sticky, dark brown paste with a distinctive, powerful flavour, which is extremely salty. This distinctive taste is reflected in the British company's marketing slogan: "Love it or hate it."
Marmite's distinctive and powerful flavour had earned it as many detractors as it had fans, and it was commonly notorious for producing a polarised "love/hate" reaction amongst consumers. Modern advertisements play on this, and Marmite runs a dual skinned website with two Facebook pages; I Love Marmite and I Hate Marmite, where people may share their experiences of Marmite and are actively encouraged to fuel this debate, as prompted by the I Hate Marmite registration form. This resulted in the coining of the phrase "Marmite effect" or "Marmite reaction" for anything which provokes such strong and polarised feelings.
The product that was to become Marmite was invented in the late 19th century when German scientist Justus von Liebig discovered that brewer's yeast could be concentrated, bottled and eaten. In 1902 the Marmite Food Extract Company was formed in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England by the Gilmour family, with Marmite as its main product and Burton as the site of the first factory. The product took its name from the "marmite" - a French term for a large, covered earthenware or metal cooking pot. The labels of the UK product still carry the image of a marmite. Marmite was originally supplied in earthenware pots, but since the 1920s has been sold in glass jars of approximately the same shape. A thinner version in squeezable plastic jars was introduced only in March 2006.
The by-product yeast needed for the paste was supplied by Bass Brewery. By 1907, the product had become successful enough to warrant construction of a second factory at Camberwell Green in London. The main ingredients of Marmite are glutamic acid-rich yeast extract, with lesser quantities of sodium chloride (table salt), vegetable extract, niacin, thiamine, spice extracts, riboflavin, folic acid, and celery extracts, although the precise composition is a trade secret. By 1912, the discovery of vitamins was a boost for Marmite, as the spread is a rich source of the vitamin B complex. With the vitamin B1 deficiency beri-beri being common during the First World War, the spread became more popular.
Initially, Marmite was popular with vegetarians as a meat-free alternative to beef extract products such as Bovril, which were popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. During World War I British troops were issued with Marmite as part of their rations. Marmite was used to treat malnutrition in Suriya-Mal workers during the 1934–5 malaria epidemic in Sri Lanka. In the 1930s, Marmite was used by the English scientist Lucy Wills to identify folic acid and its effect in suppressing anaemia. Besides folic acid (Vitamin B9) Marmite has useful quantities of several other vitamins, even in small servings.
The product's popularity prompted the Sanitarium Health Food Company to obtain sole rights to distribute the product in New Zealand and Australia in 1908. They later began manufacturing Marmite under licence in Christchurch in 1919, albeit using a modified version of the original recipe, most notable for its inclusion of sugar and caramel. Common ingredients are also slightly different quantities from the British version. New Zealand Marmite is described as having a "weaker" or "less tangy" flavour than the British version. It is distributed only in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Marmite is traditionally eaten as a savoury spread on bread, toast, savoury biscuits (crackers in US usage), and other similar baked products. Owing to its concentrated taste it is usually spread thinly with butter or margarine. Marmite can also be made into a winter drink by adding one teaspoon to a mug of hot water much like Bovril. Marmite is paired with cheese (such as in a cheese sandwich) and has been used as an additional flavouring in Mini Cheddars, a cheese-flavoured biscuit snack. Similarly, it has been used by Walkers Crisps for a special-edition flavour, is sold as a flavouring on rice cakes and has introduced, with local Dorset bakery Fudges, Marmite Biscuits in the UK. Starbucks UK has a cheese and Marmite Panini on their menu.
In 2003, the Absolute Press published Paul Hartley's The Marmite Cookbook, containing recipes and suggestions on how to blend Marmite with other foodstuffs.
In 1990, Marmite Limited—which had become a subsidiary of Bovril Limited—was bought by CPC International Inc, which changed its name to Best Foods Inc in 1998. Best Foods Inc subsequently merged with Unilever in 2000, and Marmite is now a trademark owned by Unilever.