Spoon Uses Electric Charge To Make Food Taste Saltier

Japan's Kirin Holdings launches Electric Salt Spoon which uses an electrical charge to emphasize salty and umami flavors in low-sodium foods


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Photo shows the new Electric Salt Spoon next to a bowl of miso and a bread-based side on a white patterned table Kirin's new Electric Salt Spoon could help people cut down on excessive sodium consumption - Media Credit: Kirin Holdings Company Ltd

Japanese company Kirin Holdings is selling an Electric Salt Spoon that is said to make food taste saltier without adding extra sodium.

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The spoon is made from a blend of plastic and metal parts and passes a weak electric field to the tongue while eating. This concentrates the sodium ion molecules on the tongue, enhancing low-sodium foods’ perceived “salty and umami” taste.

The electric spoon was co-developed by Meiji University’s Professor Homei Miyashita, the Laboratory of the Department of Frontier Media Science, and the School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences, per Kirin’s press release.

Professor Miyashita previously demonstrated the technology using prototype chopsticks, and in 2023 the technology won the Ig Nobel Prize – a semi-satirical award that celebrates unusual or imaginative achievements in science and technology.

Best known for its beer and beverages, Kirin is the first to commercialize Miyashita’s Electric Salt Spoon. The company will initially sell just 200 spoons online for 19,800 yen (around USD $127) each, followed by a “limited number” at Japanese retailer Hands Inc.

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Kirin’s Electric Salt Spoon enhances salty and umami flavors

Photo shows a salt shaker next to a loose pile of salt on a pale blue background
Adobe Stock Eating too much sodium can have negative health impacts, but the Electric Salt Spoon could help people cut down

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, the daily intake of salt for Japanese adults can surpass 10g, more than twice what the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests. Eating too much salt can have serious negative health impacts, including high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and even cancer.

While many people consume too much salt via pre-packaged foods – including Brits and Americans – the Electric Salt Spoon has been specifically designed with the Japanese market in mind and was tested on popular national dishes such as miso soup.

“Japan has a food culture that tends to favor salty flavors,” Kirin researcher Ai Sato told Reuters. “Japanese people as a whole need to reduce the amount of salt intake but it can be difficult to move away from what we’re used to eating. That’s what led us to develop this electric spoon.”

Kirin reports that the “electric taste sensation” stimulated by the electric spoon can enhance the salty taste of low-sodium foods by approximately 1.5 times. Despite its modest initial launch of 200 spoons, Kirin will introduce overseas sales in 2025 and aims for one million users worldwide before the end of the decade.

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