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Tag Vegemite

Spreading the risk

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Have you tried it yet? The Cadbury Chocolate Vegemite combo?

While the jury is still out on whether it actually tastes any good, it’s got me to wondering how many people actually know the real story of how Vegemite got off the ground in the first place.

Because it wasn’t an overnight success.

In fact people hated it.

Almost a century ago, when the war made imports difficult, food entrepreneur Fred Walker saw an opportunity to produce a home grown alternative to Marmite. They called it Vegemite. But it wasn’t popular. A copy cat spread just didn’t seem to impress the public.

Not to be put off, production continued, and to keep things afloat the company diversified into processed cheese by signing on with the US company Kraft (now you know why Kraft appears on the label). This smart move took the pressure of Vegemite to perform. Lucky they did because it wasn’t until another 15 years later that Vegemite actually took off! Some might say a stroke of luck, but perhaps it was sheer bloody-minded persistence that meant Vegemite got added to the WWII soldier’s ration packs once the health benefits of this great Aussie icon were finally established. Not too mention a great advertising campaign.

Sometimes it’s all about the timing. But when you’ve got to survive in the meantime you often need to diversify.

Got some brilliant ideas that aren’t quite coming together yet?

What could you do to keep things afloat?