Ajinomoto unveils big plans - News Today"> Ajinomoto unveils big plans - News Today" /> Ajinomoto unveils big plans - News Today">

Ajinomoto unveils big plans

By S Ben Raja Published on Mar 05, 2017 04:30 PM IST

Chennai: Ajinomoto. Does that name/word ring a bell. Maybe it will. Some years ago, it was a rather popular product. Starting operations in the country in 2003, Ajinomoto India Pvt Ltd, a manufacturer of seasonings and processed foods affiliated to Ajinomoto Group, Japan, was known for its unique product, Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG) which is nothing but a taste enhancing powder.

There was a misconception among people that the powder was not good for health with claims even to the extent that it led to

health problems.

In an effort to clear the air on such talk, Ajinomoto took a team of mediapersons to its facility located at OMR wherein top officials spoke about the company’s future plans too.

Speaking to News Today, director of Ajinomoto India Pvt Ltd, Atsushi Mishuku highlighted the product’s uniqueness and said, ‘Food taste can be greatly enhanced with a sprinkle of MSG. The seasoning has been used for over a century to acquire the delectable fifth taste termed as ‘Umami’. Discovered way back in 1908 by Dr Kikunae Ikeda, it became another taste altogether different from the four traditionally recognised ones: Sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. He discovered that an amino acid called glutamate created this unique taste and invented a method for producing a seasoning with glutamate as the key component. He patented this food enhancer which we now known as Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).’

Dismissing negative claims, Atsushi said that MSG is made by the firm completely from natural, organic plant sources and had nothing to do with the functioning of the body.

‘Some of the key sources we use include sugarcane, tapioca, etc with the former being the main source. We manufacture MSG through fermentation process. Foods high in natural glutamate include ripe tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, green tea, soy sauce, cheese, etc. Glutamate is naturally present in our bodies too. Human milk has one of the highest concentrations of glutamate which

perhaps explains why it is so hard to wean away toddlers from breast feeding. For a hundred years now, it has been used by food companies, celebrity chefs, and homemakers,’ he said.

‘Numerous scientific studies have failed to show a connection between MSG and adverse health. From the FDA to the United Nations to governments of Australia, Britain and Japan, public agencies that have investigated MSG have deemed it a safe food additive,’ he said.

Helping reduce salt content in foods is one of the main advantages of MSG, said Atsushi. ‘The sodium content of MSG is only 12 per cent, which makes it a great substitute for table salt (40 per cent). Less sodium intake in diet is known to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack,' he pointed out.

Explaining some of the other products of the company, manager - marketing, Ajinomoto India, Govinda Biswas, said, ‘Our other

products include a wide range of masalas under the Hapima brand. These masalas are unqiue as they have our patented MSG included. We also have the Ajitide (I+G) which is a commercial product. Our MSG is available in packs of 5g, 13g, 50g and 100g for the retail consumers, while for the food service segment, it is available in 500g packs. This range comes with a green dot signifying the adherence to the prevalent food laws in India.’

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