Food & Drink News


Marmite, love it or hate it
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Marmite can be more divisive than a game of Monopoly. It can really divide a breakfast table. You might be misled into believing it’s just a matter of preference. You simply love it or hate it. But a landmark scientific study has discovered the reason why we love it or hate it – it’s in our genes.

The Marmite Gene Project

Over the last year Marmite has worked with one of the UK’s leading genetic testing centres DNAFit to find an answer to the question: Are you born loving or hating it?

Clinical trials were conducted to determine whether there was a biological link to people’s taste preference. When the results came in they proved that it was part of your DNA.

Putting tastebuds to the test

The genetic study recruited more than 260 healthy adults, with an equal split of men and women taking part across the UK. Study participants were first asked to taste a 2g serving of Marmite on their tongue for 10 seconds. They then answered questions to see which side of the love/hate debate they were on.


Then things got really scientific. Saliva swaps were taken from participants to obtain a sample of their DNA. They were then analysed to identify SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) associated with Marmite taste preference. More commonly known as ‘snips’, SNPs are single DNA building blocks that have an impact on specific traits.

After swabbing, analysing and interpreting results, The Marmite Gene Project has identified 15 candidate SNPs that are linked to Marmite taste preference. This proves there is a genetic tendency to either be a ‘lover or ‘hater’ of the spread.

Still hope

Thomas Roos, Principal Investigator of The Marmite Gene Project at DNAFit, says there’s still hope for all Marmite lovers hoping to convert friends and families to the ‘love’ side of the spectrum.

“Like anything in genetics, taste preference is dictated by both nature and nurture. Our environment can impact our taste preference as much as the genes we are born with.” Though I think a hater is going to take a bit more convincing than that.

Put your tastebuds to the test

To find out the full findings from DNAFit’s research click here. If you want to take the test you can buy a Gente Test Kit and find out once and for all if you’re a fan or a detractor. But be warned, you may not like what you discover.