Monday, 14 July 2014


There are many divisive topics of discussion. Politics is obviously the major area of activity, especially when you realise that 'politics' is not just anything to do with your government, but anything in life that has a meaningful impact on your your own life and those of the people you love (and, in the case of the abortion/sexual health situations, those of people who don't even exist yet. And may not).

Increasingly, people are becoming more and more overly opinionated about things that don't really matter, notably in the area of entertainment. And, for the record, I include all sport in that broadly-sweeping category. Why? Because when you get down to the basics, football (for example, he said, writing this on the day of the World Cup final 2014...) is not a job for most of the millions involved. And for those that are, so what? You are still only creating something to entertain the great unwashed masses (another quote mangled there*).

"I beg your pardon?"

Moving to the world of food (and I realise that some of you will now realise where this is going), it is oddly more cloudy. When you think about it, food is an essential part of life, so having an (informed) opinion about it can have a direct impact on the health of people that consume it. Eating something slightly out of date. Chili-eating contests. Fast food. Aspartame in diet drinks. Corn syrup in diet drinks. Marmite.

the offending article

Wait, what?

Some years ago, that reactionary and inflammatory rag of a newspaper known as The Daily Mail reported on a set of food products that were deemed in their pet scientists' (paid) opinions. Most of these foods were obvious, some of which I have listed above. However, tucked away in there was Marmite.

Horror of horrors, it seems Marmite is 11% salt! (full nutritional info here) That means that if you slather 100g on your toast you... wait, what? It seems someone has never eaten Marmite or has tasted it briefly and taken against it. In case you don't know, the black stuff is not for piling on like jam, Nutella, or peanut butter (blech). Seriously. If you tried eating 100g of Marmite in one go, you may as well call a priest for the lining of your mouth, as it would be stripped away like butter under a blowtorch.

This is where people get it wrong. Unlike the other spreads, Marmite is savoury, not sweet, and savoury generally means that it has more salt. Besides - have you seen how much salt is in bread? I bet you eat far more salt in that than you would in a single serving of Marmite.

Oh, and just for giggles, here is a link to a Daily Telegraph article commenting on how healthy Marmite can be.

As a company, Marmite are fully aware of how divisive their product can be. In fact, in Britain, a totally divisive subject is often known as a 'Marmite topic', and reactions to it range from this:

To this:

As I say, the company knows of this, and uses it extensively. In the past, they have gone for a 'political campaign' on behalf of the 'Love' and 'Hate' parties, but my favourite ads were drawings made of Marmite with the tagline 'you either Love it or hate it' (sic) scrawled on one side.

For the record, I hate Mr Bean.

In our house, the human population is split down the middle. I love it, Julie hates it, and we aren't going to let Roxy near it. Not if she wants to sleep in the same room as us.

It's fairly entertaining for me, as whenever Marmite is mentioned, Julie goes into a paroxysm of disgust. Some of this is a physical shudder, but much of it is a loss of sentence structure as she goes into a stuttering ramble mode.