Smell from Vegemite Factory Awarded Cultural Distinction

Vegemite. You may have heard of it thanks to the Men At Work song, but it’s possible you’ve never tried it. It’s a dark, thick and salty yeast extract spread and a famous Australian delicacy. And it turns out, it gives off such a distinct smell during the manufacturing process that it’s been awarded a special heritage recognition from the city of Melbourne.

According to the Guardian, the city council this week voted unanimously to include the scent in any statement of significance assigned to 1 Vegemite Way in Fishermans Bend, site of the company’s nearly 100-year-old factory. Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said the decision doesn’t necessarily mean the smell needs to be protected, but that it “should be acknowledged in any future development of the site.”

The council was somewhat vague in its proclamation, stating only that smell should be interpreted on a plaque or other means when the site is redeveloped. That leaves the door open for future developers to install a Vegemite smell machine, which really would be the right thing to do.

Bega Cheese, which owns the factory after buying the Vegemite brand from Kraft in 2017, is reportedly looking to sell the building. However, even if the company finds a buyer, it would secure a long-term lease so it could continue making Vegemite, meaning the sweet smells will likely keep churning out for years to come.

Aroma protection is not that common but, according to the Guardian, it has happened in at least one other place; Unesco World Heritage in 2018 recognized the smell of perfume from the Grasse region of France. Should the trend makes it to the U.S., we’ve got an entire country full of pungent factory smells that could be celebrated.


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