New Product Launch

Rapid urbanization, changing lifestyles, changing dietary patterns has increased the consumption of RTE or processed food products. Due to the above reasons the market of processed foods is growing day by day. These processed foods might satisfy the cravings for flavourful food, but looking on the downside they also they are high in saturated fats, trans fat, salt content and sugars. There has been a reduction in the `consumption of fibre rich product i.e. fruits and vegetables which can contribute to reduced blood pressure. 

According to WHO, it is advised that an individual should consume less that 2g sodium per day which equals to nearly 5g salt per day. The main source of sodium in our diet is through sodium glutamate. The individuals who consume this much salt reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney disease and coronary artery disease. Though individual do not consume salt voluntarily, but the industrially prepared foods like bacon, ham, salami, cheese, bread products and instant foods have a high salt content. 

While many food processing companies are focusing on reducing the salt content in the food products, Meiji University in Tokyo in collaboration with a company Kirin Holdings, a Japanese food and Beverage company developed a pair of electric chopsticks. They claim to the world that this wearable device connected to the chopsticks artificially amplifies the taste of salt in the food. In a survey, it was seen that the adults consume double the amount of salt as recommended by WHO. Scientisits aim to savour the umami of a bowl of ramen or miso soup for the consumers without getting concerned about the calorie intake with the help of this innovation. 

Image : Courtesy of Meiji University

The prototype developed by the university consist of a black wristband with a mini computer planted on the top. 

The working of this “world’s first” device is relatively simple. The chopsticks release electric stimulation, which is harmless to individual wearing the device, using an orange wire connected to the system. It activates the sodium chloride and sodium glutamate ions in the food. 

Image : Courtesy of Meiji University

To test this device, the researchers of Meiji University conducted a survey of 36 individuals who were practicing a low-sodium diet. In order to test the effectiveness and efficiency of the product, two samples of the miso soup with different salt content were given, 0.80% and 0.56% respectively. The participants tried the sample with both normal as well as taste changer chopsticks. After tasting with the electric chopsticks, the participants could tell that the taste was enhanced by a factor of 1.5. The could while eating with the new chopsticks there was an enhancement in the overall taste of the soup. 

      Taste-Adjusting Chopsticks is a wearable wristband that can be attached to chopsticks

Although the prototype is currently being developed, the company aims to launch this device for public by the end of the year. They are also planning of installing this technology in other utensils like forks and spoons. 

The purpose of this product is to cut the sodium intake in the diet without having to unwillingly consume bland diet and without avoiding favourite meals. Also, the reduction in the sodium content of the diet will eventually reduce the risk of major heart diseases. 

Developing technologies like this is a passion of the Japanese scientists. Homei Miyashita, a professor at the university developed a screen which reproduces flavours of the food and can be licked !


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