Love or hate it? We taste test the new Marmite peanut butter

Katie Morley
The spread combines a mix of the iconic yeast spread and chunky peanut butter - Geoff Pugh

Known for its pungent, salty flavour it has been both loved and hated by the British population since 1902.

But now, for the first time in its 120 year history, Marmite has given itself a modern day makeover by launching a new peanut butter flavour.  

The spread combines a mix of the iconic yeast spread and chunky peanut butter, designed to be slathered on toast, bagels or crumpets for breakfast or as a snack.

It comes as sales of peanut butter are going through the roof, while figures suggest yeast spreads may be slightly declining in popularity. 

Peanut butter is set to overtake jam as Britain's favourite breakfast spread as sales of the nut-based spread were up by nearly a fifth in 2017.

Meanwhile the amount spent on yeast spreads in supermarkets has declined slightly, down from £45.1m spent in 2015 to £44.5m in the year to March, Kantar Worldpanel data shows. 

The new Marmite peanut butter  Credit: Geoff Pugh

Marmite has long been a staple at British breakfast tables but back in 2016 panic spread across the country when it emerged that it was at risk of being removed from supermarket shelves over a price war between its maker, Unilver, and shop bosses. 

The debacle, dubbed "Marmitegate", saw sales of the yeast spread soar during the aftermath as consumers were relieved to find it was still available in abundance. 

Marmite was first discovered by accident by a German scientist called Justus Liebig in the late 19th Century. He realized that brewer's yeast could be concentrated and then eaten, and shortly afterwards the Marmite Food Company was established. 

Marmite has been sold in dark round glass jars with the distinctive red and yellow label since the 1920s.

Jars of the new Marmite peanut butter will be available to order online at Ocado.com from 25th April and carry a recommended retail price of £2.50. 

They will then become available in store at Sainsbury’s from 7th April, before rolling out to all leading nationwide retailers.

Camilla Williamson, brand manager at Marmite, said: “The British public asked, and we listened. We’re delighted to bring the nation exactly what they’ve been craving with the creation of Marmite Peanut Butter.”

“It’s the most exciting product launch since the conception of the brand in 1902 and we’re confident that the nation is going to love it. They ain’t tasted nuttin yet.”

So what were the results of the taste test?

 

The verdict was a thumbs up from Katie, but Tom wasn't so sure... Credit: Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph

 

Katie Morley said: "I've entertained the idea of smothering a breakfast bagel with Marmite and peanut butter before, but never plucked up the courage. Why? Because messing with the classics is usually a mistake.

"I was skeptical about the new Millennial-friendly peanut butter laced Marmite and was ready to dismiss it as the next passing fad. But I loved it. The combination of creamy nut butter, meaty Marmite tang and just enough crunch had my taste buds doing the Macarena.

"On a hot, toasted bagel it's a dream. A warning to selfie lovers though; it sticks terribly to the teeth."

Tom Ough said: "The effect of combining foods, I reckon, is more like multiplication and division than addition and subtraction. Salt and caramel? Way better than the sum of their parts. Peanut butter and jam? Similar. Peanut butter and… Marmite? Not so much.

"I love the idea of the Marmite R&D department, with their white coats and Hazmat suits, coming up with weird culinary chimeras, but they should have kept this one to themselves. The peanut butter was pleasingly viscous and crunchy, but the Marmite arose as a bitter aftertaste.

"The effect was far less enjoyable than if the spreads were separate. This product is a gimmick."