Reducing Salt Without Compromising Taste

Saturday, May 27th, 2023

Ajinomoto on Reducing Salt Without Compromising Taste

The Ajinomoto Group’s Discovery: Umami

Umami is the taste of the amino acid, glutamate, which is one of the most prevalent amino acids in
nature and inherently present in foods such as tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and mushrooms. More than
100 years ago, the Ajinomoto Group was founded upon the discovery that glutamate is responsible for the umami taste, which led to the launch of the world’s first umami seasoning, AJI-NO-MOTO. Today, AJINO-MOTO or MSG seasoning is a widely used ingredient globally.


MSG: A Tool to Fight Excessive Salt Intake

Excessive amounts of sodium increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death. To prevent
these risks, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that governments implement policies to reduce sodium intake through, which is most often consumed as table salt or when sodium is
added to processed food products.

However, the world is off-track to achieve its target of reducing sodium intake by 30% by 2025. Nearly
73% of WHO Member States are falling short by not implementing policies that will significantly reduce sodium from the population’s diets.


Food manufacturers should consider product reformulations using MSG, which has two-thirds less sodium than table salt, as an ingredient that can help reduce the total amount of sodium in products without compromising taste.


The Latest Scientific Research on the Power of MSG

Replacing salt with umami substances creates meaningful change. The University of Tokyo released a series of research papers to demonstrate that replacing salt with umami substances, such as MSG, can help reduce sodium intake. Using actual dietary data, each study suggested umami is a strong tool to reduce total sodium intake.


22% decrease in salt intake among Japanese adults.
This study suggested that approximately 60% of Japanese adults could achieve the national dietary goal of 8 g/day, while only 7.6% would meet the global recommendation of 5.0 g/day with the standard diet.

United States
Replacing salt with umami substances could help US adults reduce salt intake by 7–13%, which is equivalent to 0.61–1.13g/d of salt reduction without compromising taste.

United Kingdom
Replacing salt with umami substances could help UK adults reduce daily salt intake by 9%–18%, which is equivalent to 0.45–0.92 g/day of salt reduction.



Consumers Hold Food Manufacturers Responsible for Creating Low Sodium Products



Globally, 55% of consumers agree that low sodium food is tasteless.

But while consumers know too much sodium is bad for one’s health, many believe it’s everyone else’s problem but their own.

  • 64% believe that eating too much sodium is bad for health.
  • 63% believe that it is important to monitor sodium intake at any age.
  • 37% believe they control how much sodium they consume.
  • 34% look for food marked ‘low in salt’ or ‘low sodium’.


The Ajinomoto Group recently conducted a global survey titled Sodium Alternatives and Long-Term
Solutions (SALTS) in seven countries, which found that 64% of respondents knew eating too much
sodium was bad for their health yet only 34% of consumers look for food marked “low in salt” or “low sodium.”


The survey also showed that 55% find low-sodium food to be tasteless. The survey indicated that the majority of consumers prioritise taste above all else when deciding what to eat and currently believe low-sodium foods are bland and tasteless.


By leveraging their expertise in amino acid science, the Ajinomoto Group provides solutions for
consumers to reduce sodium in home cooking and food manufacturers to lower sodium in their
products, all without compromising on taste.


MSG is a solution that lowers sodium without compromising taste. It contains two-thirds less sodium than table salt and when used as a partial replacement for salt, MSG can reduce sodium by up to 61%.


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