Sodium reduction in food products is a major issue on the global health agenda, so manufacturers are continually looking at methods of producing low-sodium products without compromising on the taste or consumer appeal. Since its discovery over 100 years ago, monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been used effectively to enhance the umami (savory) taste in food. It is also an effective means of reducing the levels of table salt used in food preparation. Studies have demonstrated that by replacing a fraction the level of glutamate and reducing the amount of added salt, sodium levels can be lowered by up to 40% without loss of palatability.
Attempts to find ways of reducing salt in processed foods have led the launch of new seasoning products, many based on ‘natural’ sources of umami substances, particularly glutamate. In some cases, these new discoveries are heralded as ‘alternatives’ to MSG or MSG substitutes. This is missing the point: glutamate is glutamate whether it comes from seasoning (in the form of MSG, ‘salt from seaweed’ or hydrolysates) or foods such as cheese, tomatoes or mushrooms.
Purest Taste of Umami
What should be clear to food product developers is that whether it is seaweed, mushroom extract or MSG, the glutamate is the same. What is more, the human body treats glutamate in exactly the same way whatever its source. MSG is a safe and effective food ingredient which plays a beneficial role in diet and nutrition. Consumers all over the world enjoy the taste of umami, and glutamate is the purest taste of umami.