10 Facts About Aromat: A Typically Swiss Condiment

A powdered seasoning with a light yellow color, Aromat is an iconic Swiss product. Have you tried it before? Here are 10 facts about one of Switzerland’s most popular condiments:

1. Most Aromat contains monosodium glutamate (MSG).

What other ingredients will you find in the “Original” version of Aromat?

Ingredients: iodized salt, flavor enhancer (monosodium glutamate), lactose, wheat starch, yeast extract, spices (onions, garlic, turmeric, celery seeds, cloves, bay leaves), vegetable oils (palm, sunflower), mushroom extract. May contain traces of: egg, mustard.

2. Aromat comes in four different flavors, including one made without MSG.

The four flavors are: Original, Aromat pour viande (for meat), Aromat aux herbes (with parsley, coriander, lovage, basil and bay leaves), Aromat sans naturellement (without MSG), and Aromare (made with herbs and sea salt).

Please note: In Spring 2018, Coop began offering an organic (bio) version of Aromat.

3. A man named Walter Obrist, who worked for Knorr, first developed Aromat in 1952.

The Knorr company started in Germany, but moved to Switzerland in 1907.

4. Swiss Aromat is produced at the Knorr factory in Thayngen, in the canton of Schaffhausen. 

Today, the Knorr brand is owned by Uniliver, a Dutch-British transnational company.

5. Aromat was originally called “Pflanzenextract.”

“Pflanzenextract” means “plant extract” in German. Knorr changed the name in 1953, one year after this product was initially introduced. At this time, the company also altered its form, changing it from cubes to a powdered seasoning.

6. Swiss people commonly use Aromat on their eggs, but that’s not all…

I asked via Instagram about which foods people like to eat with Aromat. The most popular response was eggs, especially hard-boiled eggs, but here’s a summary of the other responses I received:

  • A slice of buttered bread
  • Cucumbers and other vegetables, like steamed green beans or raw tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Salads
  • Sauces

7. The little man on the package is known as “Knorrli.”

He was developed in 1948 and is the mascot for the Knorr brand.

8. Aromat appears in the directory of Swiss food products from Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse.

You will find Aromat throughout Switzerland, but according to this directory, it’s somewhat less popular in Ticino, the nation’s Italian-speaking canton.

9. A 90-gram container of Aromat costs CHF 2.90 (2017).

You can purchase Aromat at two of Switzerland’s major supermarkets – Coop and Migros.

10. Aromat is a condiment, but – like salt and pepper – you can also use it when you’re cooking. 

The Knorr website has a few recipes for cooking with Aromat, if you are interested.

Sources:

Updated: June 12, 2018


Do you have a container of Aromat at home? How often do you use it? Please share your responses by leaving a comment below or by sending me an email. Thanks!

11 replies »

  1. I’ve been told at multiple occasions that I’m not a “real” Swiss because I don’t like Aromat… the food culture is strong with this one…

    A few years ago, in a lot of restaurants, you could find a “ménager” on the tables. That was a little metal basket, where you could find salt, peper, Aromat (in powder and liquid form) and toothpicks. It still exists in really old fashioned small familial restaurants.
    If you see one: take a picture… it’s an oddity today 😉

    • I still think you’re a “real” Swiss. 😉 I have seen those little baskets you mention, but yes, not very often. Will definitely snap a photo next time! Thanks, as always, for your helpful feedback.

    • Yes, in some ways the ingredients are similar to bouillon. I think that a veggie bouillon has a higher percentage of vegetables as ingredients, and Aromat contains more salt and MSG, but I couldn’t say for sure and it depends on the type of bouillon. I have never heard of anyone using Aromat like a bouillon powder, although I have heard of it being used to season soup — I think it is used sparingly because of the high salt content!?

  2. I’ve been using Aromat for decades. Delicious. Turns a cook into a chef. Regarding it’s healthiness, it’s better than salt I’m sure, although I find it a bit pricey.

  3. I sometimes had it as a child (mostly on hard boiled eggs and boiled green beans) but then, like a lot of people I know, I started avoiding it because of the MSG. A few months ago, I thought I would have it again with the organic version. However, it was such a disappointment when I found out it contained palm oil… haven’t had it in years then!

    • Laure, I remember hearing about the new bio aromat when it first came out, but haven’t had the chance to try it yet. Too bad about the palm oil. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. Swiss single male reporting in. Use every week a 90 g Aromat container. Usually, get the big refill container (1 kg?) from Denner. Put it on bread (on the butter), on my Korean ramen. Aromat goes everywhere. Use it since I was a toddler (was “force fed” Aromat by my mom). It’s a shame that nowadays Swiss restaurants do not have Aromat anymore. Instead, they prefer the “healthy” hipster stuff. Probably machine olive oil and so on (we know the stories).

    • Hello! Thanks for sharing this. You are a true Aromat fan! Such a popular Swiss condiment. These days I’m only using it on fried eggs, but I know it has many other uses, and I really should branch out. 🙂 Many thanks for the reminder.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.