It trickles yellow on Swiss plates
CC BY-SA 3.0
Almost every Swiss kitchen has a yellow shaker with a red lid. The yellow powder it contains is the Aromat sprinkling spice invented by Walter Obrist for Knorr in 1952.
Even before 1952, Knorr had brought a number of products onto the market that were a great help in everyday cooking, such as bagged soup and bouillon cubes. But nothing hit the Swiss taste as much as this spice in the shaker.
Unlike normal spices, sprinkling spices are not added to the food during the cooking process, but rather sprinkled over the finished meal. Thanks to this invention, food suddenly tasted much better and more intense. The yellow powder turned bland food into a full-bodied dish. Within nine months, over 80% of the Swiss population knew Aromat. In 1953, as a marketing strategy, Knorr gave away 30,000 cruets with a can of Aromat to restaurants and canteens. Today the cruet is often supplemented with Maggi liquid seasoning.
But what makes the yellow spice so special that today more than seven million cans of Aromat are still sold in this country every year?
It is said that aromatics are addicting. Once you've started seasoning dishes with it, you can't do without it. Aromat consists mainly of salt, glutamate and the typical spices of a roast. Glutamate is a flavor enhancer that enhances the natural taste of food without having a distinct taste of its own. Glutamate is also colorless, unlike the liquid seasoning invented by Maggi in 1886, which colors dishes like soy sauce brown.