Eating with Electricity!

Have you ever dreamed of a city that reads your mind? Traffic lights that adjust for you, or trash cans that tell you when they're full? Robots that make perfect companions not to mention the warm water toilet seat bidets. Ah! This is a reality in Japan, which is a leader in using IoT(Internet of Things)  technology to create smart cities, smart manufacturing, and innovative consumer products., However, even a tech titan like Japan has hurdles to overcome.

One such problem is its excessive salt intake which has become a significant health concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the recommended daily salt intake for adults is 5 grams. 

However, in Japan, the average daily salt intake is 10.1 grams for individuals aged 20 and over, which is more than double the recommended amount. This poses severe health risks, such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases

Most of us are a fan of salty and savory food but Japan is obsessed with salt. But giving up their traditional and cultural cuisine or adding less salt to food didn’t go well with Japanese people. They wanted their cuisine to stay untouched but also wanted to keep a check on their salt intake.

Picture this with just a few piches of salt your food feels as savory and delicious as before. It's not magic, with their thinking hats always on, Kirin Holdings Company, Limited (Kirin), Japan has introduced an innovative product.

On September 7, 2022 – Kirin Holdings Company, Limited (Kirin) in collaboration with the Meiji University Dr. Homei Miyashita Laboratory of the Department of Frontier Media Science, School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences (Miyashita Laboratory), announced the development of an innovative electric stimulation technology that enhances the salty taste of low-sodium foods by approximately 1.5 times. This breakthrough has been incorporated into new spoon- and bowl-shaped devices known as "Electric-Salt" devices.

Source: Kirin Holdings

                      Source: Kirin Holdings

How Electric Salt Technology Works?

Do not mistake them for regular-looking cutlery or tableware. The Electric Salt technology utilizes a unique mild form of electric stimulation to enhance the perception of saltiness in food. It generates a specific wavelength of electricity from the surface of the utensil to the food, the ions such as sodium chloride(common name for table salt), which triggers our sense of saltiness, are influenced in a way that makes them bunch together when they touch the tongue. This electrical stimulation enhances the concentration of sodium ions, intensifying the salty taste experienced.

Customizable Intensity Levels

The Electric Salt devices feature adjustable intensity levels. There are four different settings, allowing you to customize the level of saltiness enhancement based on personal preference and the type of food. This makes the device versatile and adaptable to various culinary contexts.

Integrated Power Supply

The devices are powered by a small, built-in 3V lithium battery, eliminating the need for external power sources. This design ensures ease of use and convenience, integrating seamlessly into regular dining practices. So next time when you feel the food doesn’t taste salty enough do not jump back to your high-salt diet, just remember it needs to be charged!

Source: Kirin Holdings

Addressing Initial Challenges with Chopsticks

The company didn’t come right away with this product but the technology was initially tested with chopsticks before on April 11, 2022.  These chopsticks used the same principle of electrical stimulation to enhance the salty taste of food.

Source: Kirin Holdings

However, the slender form of the chopsticks presented significant challenges making it difficult to incorporate power supply within the chopsticks, requiring users to wear a cumbersome external power source strapped to their wrists. Moreover, these chopsticks were less suitable for liquid-based foods, limiting their practicality.

Recognizing these limitations, Kirin and the Miyashita Laboratory shifted their focus to spoons and bowls, which provided ample space for integrating the power supply and were more suitable for a wider range of foods. The new designs also offered a greater enhancement of salty taste, making foods taste 1.5 times saltier, compared to the 30% increase provided by the chopstick prototypes.

Safety Considerations

Like another advanced gadget or new technology, this too comes with safety precautions. While the Electric Salt tableware is generally safe for use, there are some precautions to be aware of. For instance, it is not recommended for use by minors or individuals fitted with pacemakers or other medical electrical devices, due to the electric current it emits.

After reading this, I can guess that you’re curious to know about the cost of this innovative product. Worry not I got you covered! Japan has already made 200 of these innovative spoons currently available for sale, with plans to release additional units in June, and a single spoon is priced at 19,800 yen, equivalent to $172.98. Although Kirin and the Miyashita Laboratory have also developed an electric bowl and a set of chopsticks based on the same concept, the spoon is their first product to reach the global market.

Final Words

Japan's Electric Salt technology, for instance, perfectly signifies the boundless spirit of human innovation. By tricking our taste buds with mild electrical currents, they've created a solution to reduce sodium intake without sacrificing flavor! With this never-ending quest for improvement, what incredible advancements await us in the years to come? Perhaps the answer lies within YOU – what problem can your unique perspective solve? Did this innovation fascinate you? Do let us know in the comments below!

Do you have burning thoughts or opinions? Feel free to reach out to us at larra@globalindiannetwork.com.

Komala Rudra

Komala Rudra is a devoted mother and author who explores children's behavior and nutrition, offering valuable insights and practical guidance for parents and caregivers. Her writings aim to nurture healthy habits and stronger connections between parents and their little ones.

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