The rising cost of living has impacted even one of Australia’s most cherished foods, a fact underscored by a shopper who recently stumbled upon its new “low” price.
“It’s nearly 10 bucks for Vegemite now? And this is a low price?” questioned DarkLake, a user on the Australian Reddit page, alongside a photo showing 560g jars (1.23 pounds) of Vegemite priced at $9.40 (US$6.24) at Woolworths.
Vegemite is a thick, dark brown Australian food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives.
The product in the photo is part of Woolworths’ latest campaign to address the cost of living pressures as it draws closer to the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The social media post has attracted heated discussions from people feeling the pain of inflation.
“According to finder.com, this was $8 in 2017, so that’s about 2.7 percent per year inflation which is about right, maybe even too low,” another said.
“The minimum price for literally anything is now $5,” a third wrote.
However, some others defended the new price, citing the big capacity of the jar.
“It’s also over half a kilo of Vegemite. I reckon that would last the average person a long while,” one user posted.
“Yeah, I get it’s pricey, but that’s a huge jar. Doesn’t seem super unreasonable to me,” another said.
The argument about the quantity seems to depend on varying needs in different households.
“Thank god. It lasts 3 years,” one wrote.
“Not in my house. It’s almost like it evaporates. Not going to spread it thinner though,” another replied to the above comment.
Reflection of Inflation RateThe price of Vegemite is a reflection of the inflation rate and general living costs Australians face.
The consumer price index (CPI) rose 5.4 percent over the 12 months leading to the September 2023 quarter, with notable increases in fuel and electricity costs.
The CPI experienced a spike unseen in decades at the onset of COVID-19 when between December 2020 and June 2022 it hiked 8.1 percent.
These inflationary pressures will likely persist, stemming from factors outside of the realms of control of the Reserve Bank, which only has access to the cash rate lever.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised that the cost of living would be his government’s top priority.
“Our government understands the cost of living is the number one pressure on Australian families,” he said in a keynote address to the Economic and Social Outlook Conference on Nov. 2.
“Getting the Budget onto a stronger foundation and getting wages moving again are essential elements of this.”
Invented in Port Melbourne as an imitation of British spread Marmite, Vegemite has evolved into a staple in every supermarket across the nation, with over 20 million jars sold annually.
In 1926, three years after it was developed, Vegemite was sold to American company Kraft Foods, which later became Mondelez International.
In 2017, Australian dairy producers Bega Group purchased multiple Kraft assets in a $460 million (US$290 million) deal that returned Vegemite to Australian ownership.