Vegemite now comes with a new twist
Vegemite has officially become a spread that can now be enjoyed by vegans.
The popular Australian product has been certified by Vegan Australia, after meeting the organisation's requirements for it to be classified as vegan.
Australian dairy company Bega Cheese confirmed to News Corp each jar will carry the Vegan Australia Certified logo that helps customers identify products that meet the high standards set by the organisation for vegan products.
Vegan Australia Certification Manager Heath Kilgour told News Corp the process to get Vegemite certified meant its ingredients and their origins had to be reviewed.
"This includes ensuring animals products are not used in manufacturing nor are ingredients tested on animals," he said.
"In most cases, a site visit is not required. Certification can be completed in a couple of weeks."
For a product to be certified there are several provisions it must meat:
*the product must not contain any ingredients derived from animals
*animal products must not be used in the manufacturing process
*the product and its ingredients must not be tested on animals by the manufacturer or a related entity
*any ingredient that may be of animal origin must have a traceable supply chain
reasonable steps must be taken to minimise cross contamination
Vegemite Senior Marketing Manager Matt Gray told News Corp the spread has never contained animal products in it.
"Vegemite has always been vegan, with the number of vegans and vegetarians in Australia on the rise, it was important to ensure that consumers could quickly identify that Vegemite is officially vegan," he said.
Mr Gray also said they have not had to change any of their manufacturing processes to comply with the standard.
"Vegemite is manufactured in Port Melbourne on its own line, separate from other products, and always has been," he said.
He also said the taste will not change after the logo begins to appear on jars in the next few months as they arrive in stores.
"The taste of Vegemite hasn't changed - Vegemite wasn't required to make any process or ingredient changes in order achieve its Vegan Australia certification, therefore the Vegan Australia Certified Vegemite is exactly the same as the Vegemite that you know and love," he said.
"To keep Vegemite relevant today, it needs to appeal to all Australians. With over 10 per cent of Australians choosing a vegan or vegetarian-based diet, it's important that they can still enjoy the nation's favourite spread - so we sought official certification from Vegan Australia."
Vegemite Nutritionist Claire Saundry added Vegemite is rich in four B vitamins, including Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin and Folate, making it a fitting choice for vegetarians and vegans.
Newstead vegan and dietitian Kiah Paetz, 23, from Queensland said it's helpful to have easy-to-spot vegan products available in the supermarket.
"It's great that there are new vegan products coming out because not everyone knows how to go vegan and it's easy to get confused about," Ms Paetz said.
"If you have to read the ingredients list for every single product you're going to be in the supermarket for ages, so seeing a small vegan symbol or the word 'vegan' makes it such an easier pick."
The announcement comes on World Vegan Day today, after Vegemite recently launched a gluten free variant for those who are coeliac or low FODMAP.
Recent figures from Roy Morgan show that almost 2.5 million Australians or 12.1 per cent of the population now have diets where almost all the food is vegetarian.
This has increased from 2.2 million in 2014.
Vegan Australia estimates there are about 400,000 to 500,000 vegans nationwide, and sales of vegan food products, including plant-based foods that mimic the taste and texture of meat products have soared over the past five years, with major food manufacturers and takeaway chains increasingly introducing new products to meet demand.