HOME ＞ The philosophy behind Hakata Salt
In 1971, the Act on Special Measures Concerning Modernization of Salt Production was enacted and production of salt by methods other than the ion exchange membrane method was prohibited in Japan. People could no longer extract salt directly from seawater. The only salt manufacturing method permitted by the Salt Monopoly Corporation under this restriction was a method using raw salt imported by the Corporation from Mexico and Australia. This 'solar salt' is produced by solar evaporation in salt pans. There was also no precedent for permitting the free sale of salt made with the method used at Hakata Salt. Besides using raw salt, we also had to accept restrictions such as using open evaporation vats with poor thermal efficiency, and agreeing not to defame monopoly salt. Permission also had to be sought from the Corporation to change the design and writing on our packaging.
In 1997, the Government Salt Monopoly Law was abolished, allowing salt to be produced directly from seawater, and from April 2002, the liberalization of salt meant that we could select where we bought our raw salt from. Nevertheless, we continued to use solar salt from Mexico and Australia. We do this for the following reasons.
The first step in the salt manufacturing process is the production of concentrated brine, but boiling seawater to produce brine uses a great deal of fuel. However, salt produced by solar evaporation in salt pans uses the natural energy of wind and solar heat, and even when the fuel used for importing it is factored in, it uses much less fuel than producing salt from seawater in Japan. (For details, see the manufacturing process)
Furthermore, the salt is made using seawater from a bay in Guerrero Negro, a salt-producing region of Mexico with water so clean it's registered as a world heritage site, and at Price in Australia, using seawater that flows from the Antarctic Ocean. Another reason why we choose this solar salt is that it's made from very clean seawater.
Importing solar salt from two countries also ensures that we have a stable supply of raw salt.
Hakata Salt emerged from a consumer movement that aimed to provide safe and tasty salt, and so we are committed to using a special method of production.
‘Bittern’ is the name of the ingredient of sea salt that gives it its pleasant bitterness. To ensure the right amount of bittern in the finished salt, we dissolve the imported solar salt in Japanese seawater. Next we remove sand and other matter and then boil down the concentrated brine into crystal salt. The salt then undergoes careful natural drying for several days. No chemicals are used in the process.
To ensure that there is no foreign matter in the salt, it passes through a magnet filter, grader, color screener, and metal detector, as well as a final visual inspection.
Hakata Salt is defined by its mildly salty taste, with a slight hint of sweetness. This characteristic flavor results from traces of bittern, a component of the seawater used in our production process.
Salt which is close to 100% pure sodium chloride and contains very little bittern just tastes harshly salty, while salt containing all the constituents of seawater and too much bittern has a strong bitter taste. The Japanese, who have made salt from seawater from ancient times to the present, have always taken elaborate care to ensure just the right amount of bittern in their salt.
The downward flow evaporation method used to make salt on the Seto Inland Sea coast from 1953 to 1972 is said to have produced ideal salt for food preparation and the method now used at Hakata Salt takes this method as its model.
Today we continue to pursue our goal of making the perfect salt for the table.