Scientists have discovered that ‘loving’ or ‘hating’ the popular Marmite food spread may be down to your genetic makeup, and they want to help those considering trying the divisive product for the first time to know whether they’ll be a fan or not beforehand.
Marmite, which is supplied by Unilever, decided to team up with UK genetic testing centre DNAFit to conduct a clinical trial to see if there was a biological link between those that love and hate the product.
The study consisted of more than 260 healthy adults, equally split between men and women. Here, participants were asked to state whether they assumed they were a lover or a hater, before tasting 2g of Marmite on their tongue for 10 seconds and giving their reaction to the taste.
Saliva cheek swabs were then taken from each participant to obtain their DNA samples. After reviewing these samples, researchers found that there were 15 single DNA building blocks that are linked to Marmite taste preference.
“Our research indicates that Marmite taste preference can in large parts be attributed to our genetic blueprint, which shows that each of us is born with a tendency to be either a ‘lover’ or a ‘hater’,” said Thomas Roos, principal investigator of The Marmite Gene Project at DNAFit. “Our data reveals that there are multiple genes that contribute towards this, and it is a really exciting discovery.”
In addition to the research, Marmite has made Gene Test Kits available to buy from social.marmite.co.uk for £89.99, so people can find out whether they were born a lover or a hater.
“For over a century we too have been questioning why the nation are so clearly divided between love or hate for Marmite. Finally, we have the answers,” said Philippa Atkinson, brand manager at Marmite. “The DNA data provides a glimpse into our taste preferences. While it’s fascinating looking at the data on this scale, the fun really starts when you test your own DNA and begin to delve into your own genetic make-up and see if you were born a lover or hater of Marmite.”