Marmite Food Extract Company

The pioneering German agricultural chemist Justus von Liebig started a company in 1865 to sell the beef extract he had perfected as an inexpensive replacement for meat. He later discovered that brewer’s yeast could be concentrated as a food product.

Some thirty years later, a British firm name the Marmite Food Extract Company ran with Liebig’s yeast extract research had foisted the black spread upon an unsuspecting nation in 1902.

On 15 November 1902, the company applied to register its first trademark for ‘a concentrated preparation, being an article of food’.

The company set-up it’s the first factory in Burton upon Trent, one of the major centers of brewing in Britain.  The yeast need for the paste came from the local Bass Brewery in the town, the largest in the country, and the spread became so successful that the company constructed a second factory in London.

Though the extract recipe is a trade secret, it is still primarily yeast extract with a little added vegetable extract and spice.  When vitamins were discovered just before the First World War, Marmite became what be called today a ’superfood’ and sales soared.

In 1930s, the Marmite Food Extract Company was acquired by Bovril, which was bought in 1971 by Cavenham. The brand eventually ended up with Unilever, which now holds many Marmite trademarks.
Marmite Food Extract Company


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