Buying MSG in the UK – Complete Guide

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Key Takeaways

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MSG’s Role: Enhances umami flavor in food; safe in moderation.

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Buying Locations in the UK: Available at ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, local Asian stores, and Amazon UK.

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Usage Benefits: Small amounts boost flavor, offering a healthier alternative to high salt.

Whether you’re in the learning process or a seasoned chef – puns intended – you’ll know that cooking is all about picking the right ingredients. Picking inauthentic or subpar ingredients can take any dish from being mouth-watering to entirely forgettable.

Depending on the cuisine you’re making, you’ll want to have a professional palate to make the right ingredient choices each time. If you’re fond of continental cuisine, then you’ll know that there’s nothing that compares to the flavour bomb you get from these dishes.

Whether you’re making thick, flavourful gravies or umami-rich noodles, rice or soup, each dish can knock your socks off. However, to get the most from your dishes, there are certain ingredients you can’t do without.

Soy sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce are some of the common ingredients in continental cuisine. However, the star of the show is often a more overlooked ingredient – MSG.

MSG is a salt? Which can elevate your food’s flavour profile unlike anything else. However, there are certain misconceptions surrounding this ingredient.

Additionally, you may think that MSG is an ingredient only worth investing in if you like continental cuisine. However, MSG is a versatile ingredient that works excellently in a range of cuisines.

If you’re interested in learning more about what MSG is and how you can incorporate it into your diet, join the Cooked Best team as we dive in below. You can also find out where to buy msg, and what the most accessible options are.

What is MSG?

msg in the uk

MSG is a flavour enhancer that is naturally found in many foods such as tomatoes and cheese. The scientific name for the compound is monosodium glutamate, and it is also commonly sold as Ajinomoto.

You can commonly find MSG in a lot of processed foods, such as canned soups and gravies, flavour sachets, instant noodles and more.

MSG is essential in elevating flavour and is usually an odourless, white, crystalline powder. It dissolves easily in water, separating into its two components, sodium and glutamate.

A small amount of MSG can help you elevate your dishes and bring a delicious, rich flavour to anything.

MSG is made from fermented carbs such as beets, sugar and molasses. You can buy msg from a range of stores easily.

Why Use MSG?

When we think of flavour profiles, we normally think of four basic tastes – sweet, sour, salty and bitter. However, there is a fifth dimension of flavour known as umami.

If you’ve ever eaten something which makes your mouth water and comes with a rich, meaty taste, that’s umami. It can be an incredible flavour profile to add to any dish and isn’t limited to continental foods alone.

Adding MSG to food can give your dishes more depth, and also increases taste perception. So, apart from adding a touch of umami to your dishes, it can also increase the intensity of any other flavours you add.

You don’t need to add a ton of MSG to your foods to elevate the taste. A small amount goes a long way, making it an easy, healthy addition to any dish.

Where to buy MSG in the UK?

These are a few of the most popular supermarkets where you can buy MSG. Apart from these stores, you can always find MSG in your local Asian supermarkets too.

ASDA Groceries

ASDA Groceries is a popular option where you can easily find MSG. You can also find other, complex flavour enhancers with added ingredients too when you buy msg at Asda.


Tesco is yet another excellent pick to stock up on your seasonings cabinet, and you can find MSG or Ajinomoto here easily.


You might be wondering where to buy msg Sainsbury’s. Sainsbury’s is an easily accessible option where you can find MSG.

You can find it under various brands and in different price ranges.


Is MSG healthy?

In recent years there has been some uncertainty surrounding MSG, with many believing that it can be unhealthy. Although MSG is an artificially manufactured additive, it is consumed in very low amounts. 

A little bit goes a long way, and due to this, MSG is perfectly safe to add to food. Moreover, recent research has shown that there are no side effects associated with MSG use. 

Previously, there was a misconception that MSG use could lead to elevated heart rate, flushing, and kidney problems but all these claims have been proven false. 

Is MSG worse than salt?

If you follow a healthy diet, you’ll know that there are several drawbacks to using too much salt. Salt can increase your body’s water retention, and can also lead to other conditions such as increased blood pressure. 

It can also lead to heart disease. However, when you add MSG to your food, you’ll use it in a very small quantity. 

This helps you get a deep, rich flavour without any of the drawbacks associated with using traditional salt. Therefore, MSG is not worse than salt. 

Can I use MSG instead of salt?

For new cooks, it can be easy to get confused between umami and savoury flavouring. However, these two flavour profiles are vastly different, and you can’t use one for the other. 

Whereas salt has a sharp, single-profile taste, MSG makes your food seem meatier and richer and enhances the flavour profile of the other ingredients too. 

So, MSG is a flavour enhancer instead of having one distinct taste. 

Can you get addicted to MSG?

The main compound in MSG is glutamate, and it activates pleasure centres in the brain when it enhances the flavour of other ingredients in your food. The activation of your pleasure centres can make MSG very addictive and can make you feel like you need to add more. 

Links to Recipes that benefit from MSG

Here are a few recipes that taste even better with MSG.

Links to Recipes that benefit from MSG

Here are a few recipes that taste even better with MSG.

Holiday Roast Beef

When you think of recipes with MSG, roast beef may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, this is a classic recipe that you can elevate immensely with MSG.

The MSG can help you enhance the caramelized, savoury flavour of the roast beef, and can also enhance the notes of garlic and herbs. All you need to do is rub MSG on either side of your beef rounds before you cook them, and you’re all set to have the best meal of your life!

You can easily buy msg Tesco for this dish.

Sweet and Spicy Turkey Meatballs

If you cook for tailgates and potlucks often, you’ll know that meatballs can easily be one of the most popular options at any get-together. If you’re looking to take your meatballs to the next level, all you need to do is add a spoonful of MSG.

These meatballs are incredibly flavourful, and the sweet and spicy flavour profile makes them unforgettable. Adding MSG helps you elevate both these tastes and helps you get a perfect balance.

There are several ways you can serve these meatballs, be it on their own, with rice, or even added to wraps. We guarantee that whichever way you go; you’ll have a hit dish on your hands.

Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken Chow Mein is one of the most beloved, classic dishes you can cook with MSG. The thick, chewy udon noodles coated with a flavourful gravy make for a comfort meal unlike any other.

Adding MSG to your Chow Mein is a sure-fire way of taking it to the next level. Not only will MSG enhance the flavour of the soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce, but it will also make your chicken melt-in-your-mouth tender.

With a few easy-to-access ingredients and a pinch of MSG, you can put together a dish that’ll make everyone reach for seconds and thirds.

The best on Amazon UK


If you cook often, this packaging is the perfect pick for you.



This is a long-lasting option where you get one pound of MSG. Since most recipes require only a small amount of this complex salt, this packet is sure to last you a long time.

99% pure

This product offers you pure, unadulterated MSG with 99% purity. The high purity means you won’t have to use too much and don’t have to worry about any additional additives.

Value for money

Getting a larger pack in one allows you to get more value for your money and save in the long run.

Old India MSG Fine 500g

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If you’re looking for a high-quality product, you can’t get better than this brand.

Long-lasting freshness

This Old India MSG comes packed in a heat-sealed bag to retain optimal freshness. This technology means that you don’t have to worry about your MSG getting stale.

Moreover, the heat-sealed bag guarantees you a shelf life of at least 2 years on this product.

Safely Sourced

Old India products are taken directly from the source and are packed in a vegetarian atmosphere to guarantee you a safe, hygienic product.


GMOs or genetically modified organisms occur through cross-breeding and create altered versions of flavourings and other ingredients. GMOs can be incredibly harmful to our health and can lead to various diseases down the line.

However, Old India MSG is 100% GMO-free and guarantees you a safe meal.

Lotus Flavour Enhancer 

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If you’re just starting off experimenting with MSG, this packaging is a great place to start.

Pure product

The Lotus flavour enhancer is a 100% pure MSG product without any extra additives. Even a pinch of Lotus enhancer can help you take your savoury dishes to the next level.

Great to test out the product

The Lotus Flavour Enhancer comes in a smaller size, which makes it perfect if you’re looking to test out MSG for the first time. Instead of getting a whole pound in one go, you can start with 100 grams.


This is an incredibly affordable product, and despite the low price, you can still get many uses out of the bag. Storing it in a cool, dry place can help you get the maximum amount of use at a low cost.

Monosodium Glutamate, MSGT

An excellent product to elevate your dishes.

Great flavour

A pinch or a teaspoon of this excellent product is enough to enhance any dish. You don’t need to add it exclusively to Asian dishes.

Instead, it can work excellently in BBQ, sweet and sour flavour profiles, and even Italian or European dishes.


As with all other MSG products, this one too is easy on the pocket. Even a smaller packaging like this one can last you a long time, and enhance several dishes.


This MSG product is incredibly long-lasting, and you can easily expect it to last for a few years – that is, if you don’t run out by then. Safely and hygienically packaged, all you need to do is store this away in a heat-resistant container after opening.

Puregro Flavour Enhancer

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If you’re looking for an easily available option, Puregro is a brand you can trust.

Easily available

Puregro is a brand you can find easily in most stores, making it a very accessible option. If you’re not looking forward to waiting for your shipment to arrive so you can start cooking, you can easily head out and grab yourself a packet!

Excellent taste

Puregro offers you an excellent product that can make any dish taste amazing. Puregro MSG has a deep, savoury umami taste that can pair well with various cuisines.

Convenient packaging

This is yet another excellent option if you’re not looking to start with a bigger package. 100 grams can help you explore various dishes with the product and see if you’re ready to use it on a larger scale.


If you enjoy cooking, you’ll always be on the lookout for the next best ingredient to elevate your food. MSG can be a powerful tool in your cooking arsenal and can help you take even everyday dishes to the next level.

MSG is an entirely safe, cost-effective ingredient you can add to virtually any dish to give a richness and depth which is unparalleled. Picking any of the recipes and brands on this list can help you get started on cooking with MSG and improving your cooking skills.

Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!