Whether you live in Japan or in any country where Kewpie Mayo is brought in and sold, the product is a staple to have in every home.
The popular condiment is the perfect ingredient you need for a healthy veggie toast or fluffy pancakes, because it has strong flavor boosting potentials that are second to none.
But what is it, exactly, that sets Kewpie Mayo apart from its competitors, and why has it garnered such a loyal fan base across the nation of Japan and beyond?
In this article, we will explore the unique formula of Kewpie and discover what makes it so good and special.
What Is Special About Kewpie Mayo?
Kewpie Mayo is known for its unique flavor, smooth texture and extreme versatility in various applications.
A few of these applications include: using Kewpie Mayo as a substitute for heavy cream in Alfredo Sauce or a direct replacement for eggs in Cookies.
There are several key ingredients that actually contribute to making Kewpie Mayonnaise stand out from the crowd.
- Use of only egg yolks
- Use of a different type of vinegar
- Addition of MSG
- Use of special emulsification techniques
- Use of High Quality Ingredients
Let’s go through each one of them carefully to understand how they play a role in creating the perfect Mayonnaise.
Use of only egg yolks
Using only the yolks you have more fat content to work with which provides a rich taste and creamy mouthfeel to Kewpie Mayo.
This is in contrast to the lighter and fluffier texture of mayonnaise made with whole eggs, where the high water content of the whites dilute the overall richness.
The natural color of yolk also lends Kewpie Mayo a pale yellow hue, making it visually distinct from other types of mayo that tend to be whiter in color due to the inclusion of egg whites.
Because egg yolks are the flavor packing “constituents” in eggs, they have a more robust and distinct flavor compared to egg whites, which are mostly neutral in taste. Using only yolks easily adds depth to the flavor profile which helps create a more satisfying experience.
Using only yolks also helps to make the emulsion process easy as yolks naturally contain the emulsifiers lecithin, which leads to better stability for the oil and water emulsion in the mayonnaise.
Use Of A Different Type Of Vinegar
The use of rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar or a combination of both (and even more types of vinegars such as balsamic and distilled white vinegar) significantly impacts the taste of Kewpie Mayo compared to other mayonnaises.
First, each vinegar has its own distinct flavor profiles. Rice vinegar is milder, with a subtle sweetness and a less pronounced acidity, whereas apple cider vinegar has a fruity and tangy taste, with some slight sweetness.
Combining these vinegars (along with other types of vinegar too), creates a really complex flavor that cannot be reaped in traditional mayonnaise which only relies on distilled white vinegar and may be sometimes wine vinegar.
Then there’s acidity of the vinegar that cuts through the richness of the egg yolks and prevents the Kewpie Mayo from being overly heavy or cloying and the subtle sweetness which further adds depth to the overall taste, without overpowering other flavors in the mayonnaise.
Addition of MSG
The addition of monosodium glutamate (MSG) to Kewpie Mayo enhances its taste by providing an umami flavor and stimulating appetite, making foods more appealing and enjoyable to eat.
Umami is often referred to as the “fifth taste” alongside sweet, salty, sour and bitter. It is a taste sensation that is perceived as savory and deeply satisfying.
MSG is an effective flavor enhancer when it comes to umami, and it helps contribute this to the Mayo for a unique twist.
MSG can be found naturally in foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms and aged cheeses.
Use of Special Production techniques
Kewpie Mayo employs special emulsification techniques as well as a carefully controlled production process to create its signature smooth texture and stable consistency which contributes to its superiority over other mayonnaise brands.
Mayonnaise is essentially an emulsion of oil and water, with egg yolks acting as the emulsifying agent to keep the mixture stable.
Kewpie Mayo employs perfect blending speed and temperature control which allows for a finer and more stable emulsion that has a silky-smooth texture and is highly unlikely to separate.
The technique also ensures that ingredients are uniformly dispersed throughout the mixture to give a consistent flavor and texture, thereby enhancing the overall quality and taste.
Speaking of quality, Kewpie Mayo uses a vacuum mixer during production to prevent oxygen from getting into the Mayo mixture and causing it to go bad easily once packaged.
While this may not do much for taste and flavor, it does help preserve the Mayo (together with some of these techniques employed by kewpie) so it can be enjoyed at optimal quality for longer.
Use Of High Quality Ingredients
While the techniques above play a role in achieving great taste and flavors for Kewpie Mayo, they, on their own, are still not enough, and it is the use of high-quality ingredients that actually cements everything in place.
According to the Kewpie’s Website, they employ a rigorous testing process for all their ingredients to ensure they meet set standards and safety requirements.
With their eggs for instants, Kewpie Mayo ensures that they run a quality check to assess the healthiness of the contents as well as trace back the source of the eggs, the nutrition of the hens and the cleanliness of the environment where they are kept, among other things.
All this is to ensure that the eggs would deliver the required flavor, freshness, consistency as well as synergy with other ingredients.
Why Is Kewpie Mayo So Expensive?
With all the things that we have discussed above, one should not be surprised as to why Kewpie mayo is slightly more expensive than the average Mayo you’ll find in the market.
For clarity’s sake, let us go through each one of the factors to better understand the higher price of Kewpie Mayo in comparison to regular mayonnaise.
As Kewpie Mayo is primarily a product of Japan, it has to be shipped into the United States whenever supply is short and demand is high, even though construction is underway for a second plant in Clarksville, Tennessee and is expected to be operational by May 2025.
It is from this shipping that import costs are acquired and it can easily affect the final price of the product.
Import costs can take the form of shipping, customs duties and taxes.
Sometimes, scarcity of products can also make stores drive up the prices of products too, so it’s not always the time that import costs are the factors responsible for a more expensive product.
The fact that Kewpie takes extra steps to ensure only high-quality (and sometimes special) forms of ingredients are used in their mayonnaise means that extra costs would be incurred during production which must be translated into the final product for things to balance out for the company.
The manufacturing process of Kewpie mayonnaise is quite unique as it employs a special emulsification process for a creamier and smoother texture as well as a vacuum free mixer to prevent the interference of oxygen all of which can be time-consuming and costly to operate.
Brand reputation and packaging
Kewpie has developed a strong reputation for its high-quality mayonnaise, which allows them to easily command a premium price and get away with it.