Kikkoman Soy Sauce Product Certified as Japanese Space Food
Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui(second from left) at a JAXA event in autumn 2017
In September 2017, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) certified Kikkoman Soy Sauce Shiboritate “Nama” Soy Sauce Less Sodium, a product which is sold in Japan, as Japanese Space Food. It is the first seasoning product manufactured using traditional Japanese brewing techniques to be certified.
In 2006, JAXA announced a new system to certify products that meet specific criteria as Japanese Space Food. The system was developed so that Japanese astronauts might enjoy the taste of Japanese food during long stays on the International Space Station (ISS)—a pleasure that helps not only to alleviate mental stress, but maintain and enhance work performance while on board. Companies wishing to provide astronauts with their products submit them to JAXA, where they undergo strict safety and quality tests. Upon passing these inspections, the product is added to the JAXA list of Japanese Space Foods and supplied to astronauts on the ISS. As the health benefits of Japanese food are globally recognized, these products are expected to be used by astronauts from other international partner countries as well.
In outer space, bone density loss is of great concern; moreover, sodium intake promotes the metabolism of calcium, resulting in further density reduction. Taking these circumstances into account, Kikkoman submitted a soy sauce product containing 25 percent less salt than its regular soy sauce. At an event held by JAXA last autumn, Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui commented, “Standard space food manufactured in the U.S. and Russia tends to be lightly seasoned because the amount of sodium is strictly controlled. Soy sauce can be used to add extra taste, so I think not only Japanese astronauts, but also astronauts from other countries will enjoy it.”
Working and living in space is demanding, but Kikkoman believes its soy sauce will make mealtimes a bit more special by enriching the taste of space food for ISS astronauts. Kikkoman also hopes to enrich food for people all over the world and become a company whose existence is meaningful to the global society.