How Does ALDI's Vegemite Clone Stack Up?

It's a yeast extract spread in a yellow-capped jar with a bright red label, but that's largely where the resemblance ends. Lifehacker goes the taste test on ALDI's Vegemite clone, Brekkie Mite.

ALDI registered the trademark for the "Brekkie Mite" name back in 2003. But I've never noticed it on my previous excursions into ALDI, and indeed I've long harboured the belief that Vegemite was one of the prime examples of a product where ALDI was forced to sell the brand name item rather than its own store brands.

That remains at least partly true; ALDI does still sell Vegemite in its stores, which is not a concession it makes in many categories. So as soon as I saw Brekkie Mite mentioned on Mumbrella earlier this week as a "new in store" release, I knew I'd have to try it out for myself.

The packaging certainly bears a remarkable resemblance to Kraft's product. Indeed, the comparison photo below probably understates it, since the Vegemite jar is promoting a contest and is thus less monochromatic than usual. The points of similarity are nonetheless clear, though ALDI appears to have taken care to use a yellow plastic lid that's similar but not identical to that found on Vegemite. (ALDI uses the Bramwells store brand on other spreads and jams as well.)

When Allure publisher Danny saw the two jars sitting on my desk, he was gobsmacked and went off on an extended rant about deceptive packaging. There's no doubt this kind of approach could confuse consumers in a hurry, but there's also no doubt that it's very common in store brand products. This video which we highlighted earlier in the year makes that clear:

While the packaging might seem similar, the pricing is definitely different. A 235 gram jar of Brekkie Mite costs $2.69 in Aldi; the same size of Vegemite is $3.69. ALDI appears to be the only major supermarket selling a 235 gram jar, and any budget-minded ALDI shopper is likely to be tempted by the very visible saving on the store-brand product.

One point worth noting: while Vegemite is made in Australia (even if Kraft is American-owned), Brekkie Mite comes from, of all places, Brazil. Kraft reputedly has a lock on the Australian market for the brewing leftovers which are used to make Vegemite, so that's not so surprising.

Nutritionally, there's nothing separating the two rivals, with a tiny non-relevant difference in kilojoule count and nothing much else varying:

But the crucial detail is: what does it taste like? There's only way to find out, and so, without any consideration for the personal risk involved, I grabbed a jar and prepared myself some Brekkie Mite on toast for breakfast.

As soon as you start spreading it, you can tell that this isn't, in fact, Vegemite. It's more liquid for starters. The taste is also extremely salty, with less of the apparent yeast overtones that make Vegemite more interesting. It actually seems much more like Marmite than Vegemite, and I would not be entirely surprised to learn that the same product appears in ALDI's UK stores as some kind of Marmite clone.

Is it unpleasant to eat? No, not at all. Does it taste like Vegemite? No, not at all — you would never mistake one for the other. I like the taste of Vegemite, and I'd be more than willing to spend the money on the branded product in this instance. I imagine there will still be cost-conscious shoppers happy to pay the lower price for the similar Brekkie Mite offering, but I think ALDI would be taking a risk to dump Vegemite altogether given the evident difference. The original is just too familiar a taste for most locals. (Plus I imagine it wouldn't work for making your own Big Macs.)

ALDI is actually very competitive in terms of actual Vegemite pricing right now. Its cost for the name brand product works out at $1.57 per 100 grams, which is cheaper than Woolworths or Coles until you go for the bulk 600 gram size, or Costco's monstrous 950 gram option. So my advice to occasional Vegemite users would be: buy it at ALDI by all means, but buy the real thing.


Comments

    Nothing beats the original Vegemite! I totally agree with you about the yeast overtones that make Vegemite interesting :D

      Marmite > Vegemite

        Heresy!
        Had one bite of marmite once, asked 'wtf is this shit?', don't eat the rest.
        Find out later it was marmite.

    I remember a while ago that another chocolate manufacturer came out with a product that had the same purple colour as cadbury or something like that.. it may have been Darrel Lea.. in any case, there was a court case about it because the new product looked too much like the other brand because of the particular shade of purple used. This is similar to legal battle around the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the iPad.. they looked too similar...

    This Aldi product looks, at first glance, just like the proper Vegemite product.. I wonder what Kraft have to say about that...

      KRAFT will buy them next week.

        Haha kraft could not afford to buy Aldi, it would more likely be the other way around

      With the Cadbury case, they've actually trademarked their particular share of purple (as it applies to chocolate products and packaging), so they had a very clear mandate to sue...

      Only if Kraft had a similar trademark on some aspect of Vegemite packaging would they have as clear a case for litigation...

        Not so. There is the recognised cause of action known as "passing off". The test is an objective one. I am to become a lawyer this month, so I do know about these things.

    That video needs more cowbell.

    A visitor friend from the UK instantly fell in love with Vegemite and decided to take a load back so as to spread the "yeast scum" message back at home!

      He can buy Vegemite in a lot of UK Tescos right off the shelf

    Big question is which marmite that it tastes like are you refering to?

    British Marmite (yellow jar)
    or
    NZ Marmite (Sanitarum made, red jar)

    As they taste quite different, and my experience is the British one is quite bad, whilst the NZ made one is close to Vegemite, and is an acceptable substitute if required.

      British Marmite. (I think that fact I said ALDI could sell it in the UK might have made that clear :)

    At my work we get these huge 4Kg catering tubs of vegimite for a bakers, and I get to take home whats left after they are "empty".I scrape the bottom and sides, lasts me a couple of weeks worh of breakfast toast.

    An American friend who lived with me for 6 months spent the first 2 months forcefeeding himself Vegemite to intentionally develop a taste for it. He took jars of it when he went back to America. A true convert, willing to suffer for his beliefs.

    i tried 'brekkie mite' at a mate's place yesterday! it's actually closer in taste to kraft's "my first vegemite". which is also heresy and an abomination.

    It's Vegemite or a Vegemite-like product so it's still going to taste like ass.

    Wife bought this one for me to try, I've now gone through half a jar, is it the same NO. The spread is softer, the taste is similar but its not Vegemite. Will we get this again? Well NO, I want Vegemite not a cheap facimilie of Vegemite.

    I don't know why people keep thinking they can create this stuff, just stock the real thing.

    To the people who don't like Vegemite thats ok, but, maybe this not the forum to vent your opinion (Calvin)? I'd prefer to be reading honest assessments from people who actually like Vegemite and have also tried Brekkie Mite, as their view make the best reviews.

    Tried Brekkie Mite, a bit put off by the fact that it's made in Brazil but can barely tell the difference. Never been much of a Vegemite fan. I'm a Promite fan for life. Promite is the bomb, what's even better than Promite you ask? Toasted Promite.

    What I prefer about Brekkie Mite, having just tried it today for the first time - it's not genetically modified. Monsanto own Kraft...and I refuse to buy anything Monsanto after learning about this toxic company. I think I noticed on the last vegemite jar that 'flavours' were added. Brekkie Mite doesnt have random 'flavours'. Also, over the past couple of years, I noticed vegemite tasting drier, harder to spread....I wonder.

    Well done Aldi (yet again)! I stopped buying may favourite food
    (Vegemite) about 15 years ago, when Kraft was bought by tobacco
    giant, Philip Morris; their message being "Buy Kraft foods, make
    your kids strong and healthy so that we can poison them with out
    other product, cigarettes". Brekkie Mite tastes almost the same as
    Vegemite, so I' mow able to enjoy my favourite food again, this
    time without having to incur a social burden. As a bonus, it costs
    less, and is better for you than Vegemite!

    Can anyone please tell me what the star symbol means next to the recycle symbol on the label?? cheers.

    Dick Smith has a similar product called Ozemite. Dearer than Vegemite but at least it's Australian owned and sourced. Bought a jar but haven't tried it yet.

    Well good to see an upfront disscussion on Mites.
    Also good to see loyal Bonded Australians who won't compromise.
    But we in NZ are in a crisis,our beloved MARMITE was wiped out in the Christchurch earthquake
    and despite bringing home all the remainder of our heavenly foods from other countries,we have run out.
    But also loyal as you are to your product ,we refuse to bow to VEGEMITE,as we know it is no comparison to MARMITE,(the taste WE were bought up on.)
    Alas starved Kiwis are in a dilema,we cannot eat your product as that would be as bad as wearing a Wallabys jersey out in public,and the pommie equivalent is rubbish, (Both the empires colonial products are far superior) but whilst staying at Daughters in Brisbane have tried this new Brekkie mite and find it although softer in taste,is a lot more acceptable than caving in to carnal desires and eating the enemys strange tasting VEGEMITE.
    So Aussies keep to your Vegemite and I will happily take home a jar or two of Brekkiemite to tempory starve off the pangs of withdrawal until Sanitarium get their act into gear and start producing the best Mite in the world again.

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