Japan Launches Electric Spoon To Make Food Taste Umami
Image Credit: kirinholdings.com

While refraining from consuming sugar may be easier to practice, the same can’t be said about salt. No one likes a bland dish. However, it’s also a known fact that too much salt is not good for your health. Patients suffering from high blood pressure, kidney disorders and various other ailments are advised to reduce their salt consumption. Today, with the levels of stress and anxiety going up, almost everyone seeks a healthy lifestyle. From using Fitbits to track our steps to installing apps that allow us to keep track of our calorie intake, technology has become an integral part of fitness. 

Taking this thought forward, a Reuters report suggests that earlier this week, Japanese drinks giant Kirin Holdings developed and launched an electric spoon, which makes the tongue feel as though it is tasting salt while actually there is hardly any salt in the food. 

How Does The Electric Spoon Work?

Video Credit: Inside Edition

This spoon will allow people to eat a dish with a salty flavour while actually consuming less salt and as a result, they won’t have to worry about the health repercussions. What the spoon does is trick the mind into tasting the salty flavour. The tastebuds in our tongues are complex. Weak electrical currents can affect our sense of taste. In layman's terms, the plastic and metal spoon gently sends a mild electric current through the tongue, aiming to attract the sodium ions that are usually scattered and wasted.

It enhances the natural saltiness, preventing it from being lost in the usual way. The electric field created by the spoon helps to focus sodium molecules onto the tongue. There needs to be at least some amount of salt already present in the food for this to work.  According to the Krin Holdings official website, one can use 1.5 times less salt than the usual amount you’d add to food and still taste adequate saltiness. 

The spoon weighs 60 g and the makers claim that it is simple to use and needs to be switched on by simply pressing a button. One can choose from the different electrical intensities available. While the electric spoon has been designed to blend in easily with regular tableware and can be used to eat all kinds of meals, Kirin Holdings’ official website mentions that the device may not be suitable for minors and persons fitted with a pacemaker or other medical electrical device.

The spoon uses 3V lithium batteries. As per Kirin Holdings' official website, the technology for the electric salt spoon won the 2023 Ig Nobel Prize (a parody of the Nobel Prize) for unusual research. It was developed with the help of Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita, who had earlier developed a prototype of electric chopsticks with taste-enhancing abilities. 

The electric spoon is priced at 19,800 yen, which converts to about INR 10,536. Kirin Holdings has manufactured 200 units for this month's sale and will have a limited run at Japanese retail stores in June. As per the report, they hope to have 1 million users worldwide within five years and will start selling the electric spoon internationally next year.