Kikkoman has been granted a patent for a method of producing a salt-free or low-salt soy sauce-like liquid seasoning. The method involves inoculating raw material grains with a koji mold, adding salt-free or low-salt water, pasteurizing the mixture, fermenting it with yeast, and pressing it after fermentation. The resulting seasoning contains specific concentrations of isoamyl alcohol, 2-phenylethanol, isobutyl alcohol, and 4-hydroxy-2(or 5)-ethyl-5(or 2)-methyl-3(2H)-furanone. GlobalData’s report on Kikkoman gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Kikkoman, Nanoemulsion cosmetics was a key innovation area identified from patents. Kikkoman's grant share as of September 2023 was 26%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11766061B2) describes a method for producing a low salt soy sauce liquid seasoning. The method involves several ordered steps. First, raw material grains of primarily soybean or wheat are inoculated with a koji mold to prepare a solid koji. Water or saline is then added to the solid koji to prepare a moromi, which is subjected to thermal hydrolysis. The moromi has a salt concentration of less than 4% (w/v).

Next, the moromi obtained in the previous step is pasteurized at a temperature ranging from 90 to 130°C. After pasteurization, the moromi is inoculated with yeast and fermented in a container that blocks the inside from ambient air. Once fermentation is complete, the moromi is pressed to produce the low salt soy sauce liquid seasoning.

The low salt soy sauce liquid seasoning produced through this method has specific composition requirements. It must contain 20 ppm (w/v) or more of isoamyl alcohol, 6 ppm (w/v) or more of 2-phenylethanol, 9 ppm (w/v) or more of isobutyl alcohol, and 10 ppm (w/v) or more of 4-hydroxy-2(or 5)-ethyl-5(or 2)-methyl-3(2H)-furanone (HEMF) with respect to a total nitrogen concentration of 1.0% (w/v).

Additionally, the patent claims that the low salt soy sauce liquid seasoning should contain 50 ppm (w/v) or less of sodium ions.

This patent provides a method for producing a low salt soy sauce liquid seasoning with specific composition requirements. By using a koji mold, thermal hydrolysis, yeast fermentation, and pressing, the method allows for the production of a low salt soy sauce liquid seasoning with reduced sodium content. The specific composition requirements ensure the presence of certain compounds, such as isoamyl alcohol, 2-phenylethanol, isobutyl alcohol, and HEMF, which contribute to the flavor and aroma of the seasoning. This method could be of interest to food manufacturers and consumers looking for low salt alternatives without compromising on taste.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.