Umami - Kikkoman's Spin for MSG

I love it. Kikkoman Soy Sauce is trying to spin the bad PR Monosodium Glutamate has gotten over the decades by trying to veil it by simply using the Japanese word for it (and it’s cousins): Umami.

Personally, I love MSG, but for some reason people have claimed that it gives them all sorts of ailments. Whatever… just bring MSG back. It’s awesome stuff.

And nice try Kikkoman…

Umami isn’t exactly the word for MSG - its the word for the “fifth flavor” which is um, kind of meaty and results from Glutamates (not only monosodium) that naturally occur in food. Like other “primal flavors” sweet salty sour bitter, we have taste receptors specifically for “umami.”

Right, but in this case, it’s probably MSG. They’re tagging it as the “secret ingredient”. Uh-huh.

They aren’t advertising “umami” as a product, more as a concept – and Kikkoman soy sauce does not contain MSG.

Soy sauce, however, is high in naturally occurring glutamates.

Don’t all you gaijin forget that umami is unique to the Japanese race. (according to Kiyomi Mikuni and popular opinion)

Well, they’re advertising it as an ingredient, which it is by natural process of the making of their soy sauce. It may not be MSG, but as I said in the OP, definitely one of its cousins (of the glutamate family). If they were to come right out and say that, it wouldn’t be such a positive thing to advertise to many Americans. Because… MSG = Evil.

Japanese is a race?

I am pretty sure that they are talking about a property of the soy sauce rather than an ingredient–It is currently recognized that a fifth flavor can be described that are fundamental flavors aside from the currently recognized big 4: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Umami is an earthy, meaty, fermented flavor that can be detected. There is no MSG, as such in Kikkoman soy sauce.

In other news, vinegar has recently been determined to contain ACID–as a matter of fact we should not eat anything–It all contains gasp CHEMICALS!!

According to popular belief in Japan, yes.

They are not marketing umami as an ingredient. When did the ad identify umami with one of the ingredients?

The statement “umami is in every drop” involves umami as an abstract concept, on the analogy of, for example, “quality is in every drop.” That does not make “quality” an ingredient.

I certainly don’t agree with all the supposed harmful effects of MSG as claimed by various new-agey health websites; however, people can have reactions to the stuff ranging from vomiting and migraine headaches to anaphylactic shock. My mother started reacting to MSG when I was a small child; she didn’t even know what the stuff was until a doctor suggested that she eliminate MSG from her diet (through the use of food journals, this doctor suspected that Mom’s repeated episodes of headaches and vomiting were related to something she was eating).

Kikkoman does make a very tasty soy sauce though.

I could have sworn the version I saw on television said something to the effect of “the secret ingredient”… which is what inspired me to post this.

I understand what Umami is, and its usage is closely tied to MSG and its ilk. I just thought it funny how MSG has come around full circle. Why it got it’s bad name to begin with is beyond me, and now it’s being marketed as something asian cuisine has taken for granted for so long. It feels gimmicky and insulting to our intelligence. Who didn’t know that soy sauces are loaded with glutamates, and that’s why it tastes so good on savory foods? It’s like marketing hot sauce with the spanish word for spicy, and implying that it’s this exotic new “ingredient” or “concept” is now called caliente! Then they beat you over the head with it 10 times in 30 seconds. :rolleyes:

Obligatory Cecil’s article on Umami.

It also does not contain MSG.

Even though it’s not listed as an added ingredient, you can bet your ass there’s some sort of glutamic acid in it.

Yep, along with all meat, fish, poultry,eggs and dairy products.

Right, and?

Soy sauce is basically liquid MSG.* It’s its only reason for existing, being a processed food condiment.

*I’m using MSG as a convenient catch all for all “Glutamate Flavor Enhancers™”

I think maybe you do not understand chemistry. MSG and glutamic acid are not the same thing, not by a long shot.

Well, then, did you watch the French version? It says, toward the end, “Umami, c’est l’ingrédient secret,” as the actress places her finger over her lips.

But, in context, I still think it is figurative. As in, “Love is the secret ingredient in our cakes.”

Oy vey. You must be a blast at parties.

Whether or not these family of compounds are all identical, they have the same effect on the tongue. The reason anyone puts soy sauce on their food is to douse it with some sort of glutamate, mono-sodium or otherwise. Since MSG and its flavor enhancing friends all have a bad rap in the States… Kikkoman came up with the umami spin.

I didn’t start this to get argumentative or pedantic with people. I was just pointing and laughing at the painfully transparent and manipulative marketing of Kikkoman’s ad agency.
puts down bottle of soy sauce and slowly backs away

Or, “MSG is the secret ingredient in our liquid.”"

:wink: