Makeover for Australia's iconic Vegemite

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The iconic Australian vegetable spread Vegemite is getting a makeover.

Maker Kraft Foods announced yesterday that a creamier variation of the product would be on store shelves next month alongside the original, which has been a staple in pantries Down Under almost since its invention in 1922.

"With such a well-loved, iconic brand, we wouldn't create something using the Vegemite name unless we were absolutely sure Australians would love it," said Simon Talbot, Kraft's head of corporate affairs.

Vegemite - a salty, slightly bitter spread made from brewer's yeast - is such a part of Australian lifestyle that it even made mention as a sandwich in the 1980s hit song Down Under by Men at Work.

Kraft decided to make a new product after conducting a census of 300,000 Australians and New Zealanders to find out how they use Vegemite.

The end result is a Vegemite mixed with cream cheese for a smoother, more spreadable consistency.

Mr Talbot said the new product was given to 600 homes for testing and came back with overwhelmingly positive results.

"It's a milder version, more suited to dipping celery or carrots, easy to spread," he said.

Just like the original, which was named in a national poll in 1923, the new version will also be named by a public contest. Jars that go on sale next month will carry the label: "Name Me."