Oh Me Oh My What’s In a Name

Your tongue can taste four different flavors – sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.
In 1908, Japanese professor Kikunae Ikeda, scientifically identified a fifth flavor he called umami.
I say “scientifically identified” because people have been cooking with and enjoying umami since the beginning of time. People love umami flavor. They just didn’t know how much until professor Ikeda gave it a name.
Armed with a word to describe the delicious flavor, the globe erupted with new craving.

We couldn’t get enough.
To keep up with demand Ikeda developed a process for mass-producing umami and in 1909 started the Ajinomoto Company.
As of 2020, Ajinomoto Co. operates in 36 countries and employs an estimated 34,504 people.
Their most popular product?
Packaged amino acid you sprinkle on food to enhance it with delectable umami flavor. Specifically, an amino acid called glutamate. If that’s not ringing a bell, you’ll probably recognize its three-letter abbreviation MSG – monosodium glutamate.
The third most popular seasoning in the world.
History says Kikunae Ikeda was a biochemist, but I disagree. I believe he was a marketer at heart.
A marketer who knew the power of naming things.

 – Zac Smith, VC