Japanese food processing and seasoning company Ajinomoto is looking to expand its market share of MSG (Monosodium glutamate) in India, a company official has said.Ajinomoto India, an entity owned by the Japanese parent company, has also plans to expand its market presence in the northern and western regions in India by expanding sales network.Presently, Ajinomoto products are sold for food service, mainly in the southern states such as Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and in the north-eastern regions, where average consumption of noodles is high.
“We will expand our market presence in parts of North and West India,” Ajinomoto India Manager – Marketing Govinda Biswas said.Moreover, the company also expects India’s global ranking in Ajinomoto’s overall business will improve in the coming years.Biswas said that presently it is very low. The top markets in Asia are China, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.However, it has not shared any financial details regarding its operations in India.Ajinomoto, which entered India in 2003, operates from Tamil Nadu, where it has set up unit at Kancheepuram district.According to Biswas, the Indian MSG market is estimated to be around 10,000 tonnes annually and is almost flat from last five years as it is facing regulatory hurdles.
Around 90 per cent of this market is dominated by the unorganised players, mainly from China and rest 10 per cent is with established branded products.”One of the reasons for stagnancy in the MSG market is the regulatory hurdles, which has created misconceptions about the product,” Biswas said.Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) rules mandates that all advertisements on food packages containing added MSG must declare it.
The food regulator has also fixed the maximum permissible limits of MSG’s usage.According to Biswas, MSG is used as a flavour enhancer with umami taste – the so-called “fifth taste” — which is responsible for meaty and savory flavour of food and it is popular in Korean, Japanese and Chinese dishes.He further said the firm is in discussions with FSSAI over it and consumption of MSG is safe as it is sourced naturally.”The problem in Indian market is that more than 90 per cent of MSG found here is fake. However, Ajinomoto’s MSG is produced from natural resources like Sugarcane or Tapioca through natural fermentation, which is approved by the FSSAI In India,” Biswas said, adding that the group has requested the government and FSSAI to take action.Presently, Ajinomoto India imports MSG for the domestic market from Thailand, which is its one if the largest production hub with three plants.
Besides MSG, the company also sell AJITIDE I+G, which is for its institutional clients.Apart from that, Ajinomoto India has also presence in some other category such as — 3 in 1 premix-Coffee and Masala chai, which is sold under brand name Blendy.The company also produces menu specific seasonings in India under Hapima brand.Also, Ajinomoto India have launched Japanese style instant noodles under the brand name A&M noodles. Its a joint venture between Ajinomoto India and Maruchan company.Founded in 1909, Ajinomoto is global manufacturer of seasoning, processed foods, beverages, amino acids, pharmaceuticals and special chemicals. It operates in 27 countries.