There’s a new Aromat on shelves minus all that tasty MSG – but it's more expensive and contains sugar

Business Insider SA
  • A new version of Aromat is now on shelves in South Africa. It lacks the monosodium glutamate (MSG) Aromat is infamous for.
  • We tasted the new and old products, and couldn't really taste the difference. Some blind-testers rated the new version tastier.
  • The two versions retail retail for the exact same price – but the new version sneakily has 7.14% less seasoning in the container.

Knorr has quietly rolled out a new version of Aromat, branded "Naturally Tasty" with green packaging that emphasises its minor ingredients: onion, bay leaf, tumeric and garlic.

Unlike "Original" Aromat, the "Natural" version contains no monosodium glutamate (MSG) – an ingredient with a persistently bad reputation, although there is little to no reason to believe it is harmful.

Aromat has long defended the reputation of MSG, pointing out that it "permits cooks to reduce the amount of table salt by 40%".

Just like the Original Aromat, the new version is still mostly made up of salt, followed by maize flour and a yeast extract.

In a small blind test of old and new, almost exactly half the tasters in Business Insider South Africa's office could not correctly tell old and new apart. Many insisted that one was more salty than the other – but differed on which was the saltier.

The old and new versions come in canisters of exactly the same shape and size, and sell for the same price: R16.99 at our local Pick 'n Pay. But the new version has five grams less seasoning in that canister, for an effective price increase of 7.14%.

Naturally Tasty Aromat trumpets its lack of MSG, and makes a meal of its ingredients.

The ingredients are indeed different, once you get past the salt and maize flour that makes up most of the seasoning.

Naturally Tasty Aromat has sugar, which the original lacks – which pushes up its kilojoule count by 43%. The new version has tumeric, bay leaves, and celery added.

The new version is only very subtly different from the old; it is a slighly less lurid shade of yellow.

New and old have the same shape and size canisters, and the same apparent heft. But buyers of the Natural product are getting less product for the same price.

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