Chennai (Tamil Nadu)/Mysore (Karnataka) [India]: Ajinomoto India set up a manufacturing unit in 2015 at industrial park, OneHub, at Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu.
The company has its motto – `Eat Well, Live Well’.
Ajinomoto, whose name is synonymous with flavor enhancer Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) manufactures umami seasoning, which is scientifically proven benefit in the interest of people’s health.
MSG is a salt of amino acid. The Japanese developed this taste in food, besides sweet, sour, salt and bitter tastes.
Despite the debate surrounding the use of MSG in India, Ajinomoto has seen a growth in product category in retail applications like flavour seasonings.
Dr.Jamuna Prakash, Professor, Department of Science and Food Nutrition, University of Mysore, said, “MSG has been the most controversial subject as far as additives are concerned and there has been lot of human cry at least for the past few months on the use of MSG in certain process products. Let us try to understand what MSG is? MSG is made of Glutamic Acid and Sodium. Now, these two substances are very natural. They are metabolized in the same way as any other natural component would be in the body. That means to say, these are not xenobiotic. Xenobiotics are foreign substances to the body for which we actually need a different system to metabolize, but MSG is not so. So, chemically when we analyse, we find this to be absolutely safe.”
Umami seasoning Ajinomoto is made of natural sugarcane. Sugarcane becomes Ajinomoto by the process of fermentation.
To prepare Ajinomoto, Cane molasses is made by extracting sugar from sugarcane juice.
Later, the cane molasses and fermentative microbes get fermented for two days. Glutamic acid becomes the seasoning monosodium glutamate.
By removing impurities with filters and active carbon, the monosodium glutamate gets ready to form crystals. And Ajinomoto gets ready.
Nutritionists find MSG as safe to eat.
Dr.Prakash further said, “In the 20th century, a Japanese scientist extracted this component from sea weed and he described it as Glutamic acid which can be used to increase the taste of food, enhance the taste of food. And at present, today, it is manufactured all over the world and actually the manufacturing process they use molasses, it’s a natural fermentation process by using molasses and the source can be sugarcane, it can be beat, corn starch. So it’s an entirely natural substance. There is nothing synthetic about it.”
Since its expansion in India, Ajinomoto is focusing on the southern market. Besides other states in the region, Tamil Nadu is the key strategy for its “rising star” markets.
Ajinomoto entered into Indian market in 2003 and is supplying MSG under its brand Ajinomoto, inosinate and guanylate, food items and chicken and mutton masala under the brand Hapima.
Inosinate and guanylate are nucleotide seasoning, which is sometimes used in combination with MSG in soups for instant noodles and some processed foods.
Many Indians have started using MSG for cook their traditional food and they find it a good taste.
A customer said, “I have been using Ajinomoto for the last one month. My wife use Ajinomoto to cook Rasam and Chicken Biryani by using Ajinomoto. I believe, it gives a very good taste, different taste which makes you to eat more.”
MSG doesn’t have an especially pleasing flavor on its own, but when added in the right quantity to various foods it lends them a rich, savory element, and balances and rounds off the flavours that are present, giving everything an umami-like kick.
Monosodium Glutamate is 12 percent sodium, which table salt is 39 percent.
Many people in India, who are looking to reduce their sodium intake, are replacing their salt by MSG with no perceived reduction of saltiness.
Dr. Prakash said, “MSG is a very new taste for Indian palate. We never had MSG in our diet. We have never added MSG to our food. We are not use to it. But, you see at the street side there are lot of vendors who are giving all kinds of oriental food to which MSG is added. And it sells very well. People like it. That means, people like the taste of MSG.”
Today, Ajinomoto is responsible for the production of one-third of the 1.5 million tons of MSG consumed around the world every year.
Indians are developing a new taste by adding MSG in their meal. (ANI)