Ajinomoto announces campaign to tide over baseless anti-MSG stigma

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The new emblem “Know MSG” and campaign urge people get to know MSG and reconsider it

Ajinomoto Co., a leading producer of MSG committed to championing science and setting the record straight on the ingredient, recently announced a new campaign to address the heart of MSG’s perception problem in the US: xenophobia-born misinformation. With the reveal of a new “Know MSG” symbol designed by Chinese-born graphic artist Zipeng Zhu, the campaign calls into question the problematic and pervasive “No MSG” signs that have reinforced baseless anti-MSG stigma for decades.

In response to recent research that shows most MSG avoiders lack real knowledge of the ingredient, and in a moment when Americans are demanding facts over fear and questioning myriad misinformed historical symbols, the new emblem and campaign urge people get to know MSG and reconsider it.

Additional aspects of the movement include:

  • An MSG-boasting product collaboration between long-time MSG advocate, cooking enthusiast and mother to Chrissy Teigen, Pepper Teigen, popularly known as “Pepper Thai”, and innovative Asian food brand Omsom, available spring 2021. 
  • The launch of KnowMSG.com, an educational hub for accurate information on MSG where visitors can download “Know MSG” graphics, request “Know MSG” stickers, and sign up to be alerted when the Pepper Teigen x Omsom product drops.

“Many people don’t know that MSG is plant-derived, made through fermentation, and inherently present in lots of vegetables, meats and cheeses,” said Tia M. Rains, PhD, Vice President of Customer Engagement & Strategic Development at Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition, North America. “In fact, recent research shows that MSG may be used to improve the flavor of food while lowering sodium. We can’t appreciate MSG for its many benefits until we get past the stigma.”

Despite MSG’s 110-year history of safety validated by health organisations across the globe, lingering skepticism fueled by personal anecdotes and poorly conducted research in the 1970s has unfairly stigmatized the ingredient. For decades, the “No MSG” symbol that pervades restaurant windows, grocery shelves and food products has perpetuated the false perception of MSG as dangerous, and driven Americans away from enjoying an ingredient that adds savory umami taste to food.

“The ’No MSG’ symbol is rooted in xenophobia, so it’s time for a change,” said Zhu. “No one had a problem with MSG until it was associated with the unsubstantiated idea of ’Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’ in the 1960s. Tell me – why would a person get a headache from eating MSG in Chinese food, but not from eating American chips or soups or pasta Alfredo? We eat lots of delicious foods every day that have MSG.”


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