President Obama once described Vegemite as “horrible…a quasi-vegetable by-product that you smear on your toast”, but what would he know? He’s not Australian! As the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal, Vegemite is overwhelmingly more popular among people born here than overseas-born Aussies — although New Zealand-born folks are rather partial to it, too.
In the 12 months to September 2014, 39% of the population aged 14 and older ate Vegemite (or similar spreads Promite and Marmite) at least once in an average seven days. Jams, conserves and marmalade were the second-most popular spread (31%), just ahead of honey and peanut butter (30% each).
Of the 7,550, 000 people who eat Vegemite/Marmite/Promite in an average seven-day period, 6,405,000 were born in Australia – that’s 85% of total Vegemite-eaters and 45% of people born in Australia. Meanwhile, 43% of people born in New Zealand, 30% of those born in the UK or Ireland and just 12% of Asian-born people eat the yeast-based spread in an average seven days.
Spreading the love: popularity of spreads by region of birth
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2013 – September 2014 (n=16,176).
Jam is the most popular spread among people born in the UK or Ireland, eaten at least once by 39% of them in an average seven-day period. People born elsewhere in Europe (38%), and Asia (28%), prefer honey over other spreads, while those born in the US are most likely to eat peanut butter (49%).
Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“Vegemite is as Australian as koalas, and as polarising as our Prime Minister. With its unique taste and unappealing appearance, it inspires either love or hate in people. It’s featured in songs by quintessentially Aussie acts like Men at Work and John Williamson, as well as its own famous ‘Happy little Vegemites’ jingle, and is renowned for its nutritional value.
“So it’s no real surprise that Australian-born Aussies are most likely to eat Vegemite in an average seven days, while those born in other regions tend to favour spreads more prevalent in those regions: peanut butter for US-born folks, jam for people born in the UK or Ireland, and so on.
“The ever-increasing number of Aussies born in Asia presents an interesting challenge for the producers of Vegemite, Marmite and Promite. Our data shows that this group is far less likely than people from other non-Australian backgrounds to eat yeast-based spreads in an average seven days — which could have serious implications for the continued success of these products.
“Indeed, understanding the demographics, attitudes and behaviours of consumers who favour different kinds of spreads is crucial for brands seeking to communicate effectively with their present and potential markets, and potentially even influence their preferences with some smart, targeted marketing...”
* NB: Vegemite includes marmite and promite; Jam includes conserves and marmalade
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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