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In the past, it was thought that there were four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Sugar is a food ingredient with a sweet taste. Acids such as vinegar are food ingredient with sour taste. Salt is food ingredient with salty taste and hops impart a bitter taste to beer or caffeine in coffee. However, in 1908, Dr. Kikunae Ikeda, a Chemistry professor at the Tokyo Imperial University identified glutamate as the key substance in traditional Japanese Soup stock ‘dashi’ made with dried seaweed ‘Kombu’. Ikeda was convinced that the taste of glutamate was a discrete basic taste separate from sweet, salty, sour and bitter.

At that time there was no word to describe this unique taste that was more than simply savoury so he choose the combination of the Japanese words ‘Uma’-delicious- and ‘mi’-taste- to create the word “UMAMI”. Umami is the fifth basic taste and since the discovery of glutamate in 1908 as the source of Umami taste; AJI-NO-MOTO® monosodium glutamate has been the key to delicious taste that abounds in cuisines all over the world. It has been used to make good food taste better.

Glutamate (Umami substance) is present in most natural foods such as meat, seafood, vegetables, cheese, tomatoes and milk and also, in our local food seasoning products like Ogiri, Daddawa and Iru.

Glutamate is also abundant in mothers breast milk (our first encounter with Umami).

AJI-NO-MOTO®: has a unique taste called “Umami’’ which is fundamental to the taste of foods, blending in well with other savoury flavours- ginger, garlic etc, enhancing the taste and giving them a fullness and continuity that makes us enjoy every meal. It is used all over the world.

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