Yeast extracts consist of the cell contents of yeast without the cell walls; they are used as food additives or flavorings, or as nutrients for bacterial culture media. They are often used to create savory flavors and umami taste sensations, and can be found in a large variety of packaged food, including frozen meals, crackers, snack foods, gravy, stock and more. They are rich in B vitamins (but not B12), and so are of particular importance to vegans and vegetarians. Yeast extracts and fermented foods contain glutamic acid (free glutamates), an amino acid which adds an umami flavor. Glutamic acid is found in meat, cheese, fungi, and vegetables—such as mushrooms, broccoli, and tomatoes.
Yeast extracts in liquid form can be dried to a light paste or a dry powder (but this is not the same as nutritional yeast). Additionally, skincare companies like Orved, Kiehl's, REN, and SkinCeuticals use yeast extract in their products.
The process to make yeast extract was invented in the 19th century by Justus von Liebig. Yeast cells are heated until they rupture, then the cells' own digestive enzymes break their proteins down into simpler compounds (amino acids and peptides), a process called Autolysis. The insoluble cell walls are then separated by centrifuge, filtered, and usually spray dried.
Use in foods
Yeast autolysates are used in AussieMite, Mightymite, Vegemite, Marmite, New Zealand Marmite, Promite, Cenovis, Vitam-R, and Maggi sauce. Bovril (Ireland and the United Kingdom) switched from beef extract to yeast extract for 2005 and most of 2006, but later switched back.
Yeast extract is produced commercially by heating a suspension of yeast; the enzymes in the yeast cell then degrade the cell wall. The result has more concentrated flavor and a different texture. This is the process used for Vegemite, Marmite, and the like.
|Inventor||Justus von Liebig|
Marmite is a sticky, dark brown food paste with a distinctive, powerful flavour, which is extremely salty. This distinctive taste is represented in the marketing slogan: "Love it or hate it." Such is its prominence in British popular culture that the product's name is often used as a metaphor for something that is an acquired taste or tends to polarise opinions.
The image on the front of the jar shows a "marmite" (French: [maʁmit]), a French term for a large, covered earthenware or metal cooking pot. Marmite was originally supplied in earthenware pots, but since the 1920s has been sold in glass jars.
A similar spread, also named Marmite, has been manufactured in New Zealand since 1919. This is the only product sold as Marmite in Australasia and the Pacific, whereas elsewhere in the world the British version predominates.
Vegemite (// VEJ-i-myte) is a thick, black Australian food spread made from leftover brewers' yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. It was developed by Cyril Percy Callister in Melbourne, Victoria in 1922. The Vegemite brand was owned by Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods Inc.) until January 2017, when it was acquired by the Australian Bega Cheese group in a US$460,000,000 (equivalent to about $470,000,000 in 2018) agreement for full Australian ownership after Bega would buy most of Mondelez International's Australia and New Zealand grocery and cheese business.
A spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits as well as a filling for pastries, Vegemite is similar to British Marmite, New Zealand Marmite, Australian Promite, MightyMite, AussieMite, OzEmite, German Vitam-R, and Swiss Cenovis.
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Main ingredients||Yeast extract|
(per 100 serving)
|223 kcal (934 kJ)|
(per 100 serving)
|Similar dishes||Marmite, Vegemite|
Vitam-R is a savory yeast extract spread made in Hameln, Germany, by the company Vitam Hefe-Produkt GmbH. It was first developed by Rückforth AG in Stettin (today's Szczecin, Poland) in 1925 following the discovery by Justus von Liebig that yeast could be concentrated. It is sometimes described as having a smoother flavor than similar products such as Marmite, Vegemite or Cenovis. Unlike those brands, Vitam-R is not an iconic part of its home country's cuisine, but it is also described as having a love-it-or-hate-it flavor. It is both vegan and vegetarian and is sold primarily in Reformhaus health-food stores.
|Place of origin||Switzerland|
|Region or state||Rheinfelden|
|Created by||Alex Villinger|
|Main ingredients||Yeast extract|
Cenovis is a product based on yeast extract that is similar to Marmite and Vegemite, rich in vitamin B1. In the form of a dark brown food paste, it is used to flavour soups, sausages and salads. The most popular way to consume Cenovis, however, is to spread it on a slice of buttered bread, as stated on the product's packaging (or it can be blended into the butter and spread on bread or as a filling in croissants and buns).
Cenovis is popular in Switzerland (particularly Romandie). It was developed in Rheinfelden in 1931, on the initiative of a master brewer called Alex Villinger, and was subsequently produced by the company Cenovis SA.
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Beispielhaft für den wissensbezogenen Wandel der Vermarktung steht Vitam-R, ein Hefeextrakt, der Ende der 1920er Jahre als »Fleischextrakt des Vegetariers«39 vermarktet wurde. Das Präparat wurde 1925 von der Stettiner Rückforth AG...
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But if Marmite stays off the shelves, Germany could have an answer. A company in Hameln has been making Vitam-R yeast spread since the 1920s. It may not have the same cachet as Marmite, but its smoother taste has a cult following among health food aficionados. But it, too, has become more expensive to import to Britain - even if, after Brexit, it will by default become the leading brand in the EU.
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