This comes on the back of the eighth National Nutrition survey conducted by the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology - Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) which reported that calcium was one of the essential nutrients lacking in the Filipino diet.
It recorded high inadequacies of calcium intake across all age groups.
According to Deborah A. Sales, from the public relations department, at Ajinomoto Philippines: “There is only a very small proportion of the Filipino households who were able to meet the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for calcium.”
Ma. Idelia G. Glorioso from FNRI said: “Most of us, if not all, know that calcium is important because it keeps the body alive by performing numerous functions including building and maintaining healthy bones and strong teeth.”
She added calcium also helps in regulating blood clotting, transmitting nerve impulses, muscle flexing and heartbeat regulation.
Ajinomoto launched Aji Savor as a tasty and affordable way to add calcium to diets.
The product was inspired by Japan’s furikake, which is a dry seasoning sprinkled on top of cooked rice, vegetables, and fish.
Daryl, G. Magno, category manager at Ajinomoto Philippines said the rice topping eating habit was already practiced in other Asian countries, and “we see interest among households for this concept (in the Philippines).”
Because rice is a staple food in the Philippines, it is hoped that Aji Savor can be a means to add more calcium into the diet of Filipinos.
According to the firm, they customised the concept of furikake to appeal to the Filipino palate.
Aji Savor contains a blend of ready-to-eat dried umami food ingredients, like malunggay leaves, toasted sesame seeds and meaty beef or chicken flavoured granules.
It contains 385mg of calcium, which is considered a high source of calcium based on the standards of the Philippines Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). It is comparable to the amount of calcium in a glass of milk. The malunggay leaves (moringa leaves) and sesame seeds are also known to contain considerable amount of calcium.
Aside from those, it also contains Vitamin D which helps the body to effectively absorb calcium.
According to Magno, the product is available nationwide in supermarkets, market stalls and general stores (sari sari).
It retails for P5 (US$0.1) per pack. In supermarkets, a pack of six cost P30 (US$0.6).