Often buyers really concern about the additives composition of their surimi even more than the casing result. Especially the additives that are NOT on the declaration paper by the manufacturers, or ones that can cause allergic reaction for consumers. In fact they should, because even the test conducted by themselves can be a misreading of the true nature of the surimi they bought, due to the highly effective food additives which can alter the quality reading while hiding itself from detection.
It is an entire science to learn about food additives. It is vast as much as deep, and our opinion is, there is nothing wrong in enhancing the product quality if doing so responsibly and having the buyers’ consent.
Having said that, Aoki is aware of the potential of unfair values and advantages gained by surimi manufacturers by not declaring the use of supporting additives for surimi enhancement in some parameters. The most trouble for surimi buyers will come from the protein extracts from allergens such as soy, peanuts, seaweed, milk, wheat, buckwheat, shrimp and crab. Additive manufacturers usually use those in conjunction with transglutaminases for easily 40% upgrade in elasticity and firmness, or maltodextrin to create stronger binding and gelling property, fiber with water retention property to increase stability and quantity; many of which are cheap, diverse in forms and features, tasteless and colorless, no easy way to detect.
The use of these enhancements on surimi has been a legitimate concern for brokers and users of surimi, which throughout the years had diminished the image of Vietnam surimi in the eyes of international customers. Undeclared substance can cause damage to surimi buyers in various degree, from lower quality, financial loss, to claim and legal action from their customers, loss of brand value and market share, and in case of allergic lawsuit in a market like Japan, that could mean the death of a brand.
Aoki’s esteemed customers, some have their own laboratory for testing “not-declared” substances in their materials, even so they are still worried because they cannot test all products they bought, and usually they need to know (or guess) what they are looking for in testing.
That is why, Aoki only work with people we can trust, and we are most happy when customer trust Aoki. Even when selling our surimi through brokers, Aoki want to know about the destination’s manufacturers, how they use our surimi, in what product, what parameters they are looking for. Because better understanding, both in business and in person, will lead to a long-lasting relationship of trust, and it goes both way, Aoki always invite customers to visit factory even if you do not buy directly from Aoki. Building and cultivating relationships is the way Aoki want to build a sustainable business.