You won’t find monosodium glutamate (MSG) in all grocery stores, but it’s much more common than it has been at some points in the past.
Now that we know that MSG is safe in most situations (source), people are starting to cook with it more often.
If you haven’t bought it before, it might be hard to spot, so I’ll walk you through which stores and aisles to look through.
MSG Is an Ingredient, Not a Product Name
Most of the trouble people have with finding MSG is that they are looking for a spice or salt-like container that’s called “MSG”.
While there are a few brands that do that, MSG is typically sold under the names:
- Ajinomoto (at Asian grocery stores)
It’s usually labeled as a “flavor enhancer” or something similar.
While there are a few variations, here’s what a container of MSG typically looks like:
It will say “MSG” or “Monosodium glutamate” somewhere on the packaging, but it may be easy to miss if you’re looking for a specific label.
Which Aisle is MSG Located In?
You can find MSG at pretty much any Asian grocery store near the salt products.
If you’re at a typical Western grocery store, it will typically be located in the spice aisle, which may or may not have salt as well.
Finally, you can also find MSG at many bulk food stores, and it will likely actually be called monosodium glutamate in that case.
You Can Buy MSG Online
One final option that you have if you really can’t find MSG at the stores near you is to just buy it online.
Stores like Amazon and Walmart both carry multiple varieties of MSG, including McCormick Flavor Enhancer MSG, which might be a brand that you’re more familiar with.
Is any one brand better than another?
There’s no real difference between Accent, Ajinomoto, or McCormick’s MSG.
As you’ll see on the packaging, there’s only one ingredient in all of them: monosodium glutamate. The texture or taste doesn’t vary significantly across brands in my opinion, although some people swear by certain brands.
One thing you may need to consider is that some brands like McCormick are certified kosher, whereas others are not.