Posted by: Sarah | February 29, 2012

The Marmite Dilemma In Scandinavia


Marmite – that yeast based spread from Britain.  You either love it or hate it. That’s the marketing slogan.  Well, the Danes aren’t going to get the choice. Denmark banned Marmite last year under the food safety law.  Apparently it has extra vitamins/minerals that can impact health so it was black listed.  Many years ago it was also banned in Norway – something to do with the high salt content (which is ironic considering the Norwegians eat salt with everything).

I’m in the “love Marmite” camp and I’ve taken it into work on several occasions in various guises (Marmite spread, Marmite biscuits, Marmite Chocolate, Marmite cashew nuts) in order to get my colleagues to love the spread as much as I do.  I’m not having much luck.  When I first took it into the office I was told that perhaps I shouldn’t really be flaunting it around at the lunch table given that it’s banned in the country.  When I encouraged people to try it (which to their credit they did) most were rather impolite about the taste.

It’s tough to get hold of in Norway.  I normally buy it when I visit the UK.  BUT – I’ve been told about a place where, in a Marmite emergency, you can get hold of a jar.  Jacobs in Oslo.  It’s not on the shelf so you have to ask for it.  I’m told it’s in a cabinet in the back office which I found quite funny but hey, it’s a source in Norway so who’s complaining?

I noticed on the Marmite website that there is a contact for Norway so perhaps it’s not banned any more…here’s hoping!

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Responses

  1. Sarah, Like you, I’m in “love Marmite” camp and was dismayed when I couldn’t find it anywhere. We live near Sandefjord and the local Meny did stock it, but discontinued due to lack of interest!

    I find it hilarious that it was banned on health grounds, as the Norwegians have to be the most unhealthy lot when it comes to diet, salt with everything!

    I have a stockpile of the stuff which I have taken back from the UK but I am finding I am going off it a bit as I couldn’t have it for so long.

    p.s. Loved the previous baby blog! Keep them coming!

    Donnax

    • Hey Donna – good to hear from you again. Apparently you can get it from Kristiansand (Amanda’s comment) but it’s probably just as close for you to get to Oslo. I’m the same and stockpile on all sorts when in the UK – lemsips, nurofen and now baby stuff. As Lizzie now comes with 23kg of luggage for free on BA I have another bag to fill! :-)

  2. Thanks for the post. Interesting.

    • You’re most welcome Anna

  3. Thanks!

  4. I’ve seen it here in Kristiansand. Not in the grocery stores, but in a specialty shop. Sadly, no vegemite though :(

    • Oh – didn’t realise you could buy Marmite outside of Oslo. Excellent! We shall spread it across the land until the Norwegians love it!

  5. The “rent” I charge any visitors from the UK is a duty-free allowance and a jar of marmite =)

    • You’re not kidding David…Marmite and of course the full alcohol allowance :-)

  6. Mmmm what about Vegemite? (I’m not going to lament at how it’s now owned by the Americans) Vegemite = Aussie LOL It’s good on (almost) everything :D

    • Ha ha – no idea if Vegemite is available in Norway. I did have an Oz friend who lived here but he’s since moved back to Oz (for the weather I presume :-)) otherwise I would have asked him!

  7. I once sent a giant jar to my boyfriend while he was still at uni…a spoonful of marmite quickly became the challenge for all visitors! (I’m pretty sure they never found anyone who was in the ‘love it’ camp though…)

    • I know what you mean about the marmite. I haven’t found a Norwegian who likes it “neat” yet – only mixed with other foods like crisps or nuts.

  8. Marmite in most Centra stores in oslo

    • Wow – thanks Alex. There’s a Centra in Høvik. I will check it out this weekend :-)

  9. I have discovered that Maarud ‘Biff og Chilli’ crisps do not contain any beef (and very little chili come to that)…however they do contain a lot of yeast extract and are about the closest you can get to Marmite flavoured crisps without stating it explicitly. Its underhand, but if it’s a way to get Norwegians hooked on Marmite that has to be a good thing

    • Well spotted Kevin – I didn’t realise the Norwegians were probably already hooked on the yeast extract via another product. I’m with you – my quest to get Norwegians onto Marmite hasn’t stopped yet!


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