Marie Uchiyama

Kyushu Branch, Food Products Division

Please tell us about your current work.

I am mainly in charge of local government coordination for Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Saga prefectures, and assisting in sales activities. Some specific projects I have been working on lately include planning and conducting workshops on salt intake reduction for branch office sales representatives and developing low-sodium recipes with local universities.

Why did you decide to become a dietician?

I first became interested in dietary habits and salt intake reduction because someone close to me had fallen ill. I started to realize the impact and importance of daily meals for people to remain healthy both physically and mentally. This led to my decision to become a registered dietician.

What are the challenges people face in eating a healthier diet?

When I worked as a registered dietician at a hospital, I sometimes witnessed eating behaviors of patients that only worsened their conditions. Furthermore, despite being a dietician myself, I was not an exception and I often neglected to eat properly when I was busy. This made me reflect on my own behavior and reminded me how easy it is to forget the obvious importance of health and the difficulty in making health a personal matter.

What do you see as the solution to reducing salt intake?

I want to create an environment where people are able to lead a healthier life by reducing salt intake unconsciously and naturally, simply by preferring to use Ajinomoto Group products. It would be wonderful if we could easily maintain our health through the food we eat, without having to make an extra effort to be health-conscious. My wish is to create a food environment in which people naturally become healthy.

What makes your job worthwhile and interesting to you?

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a government-organized study session on salt intake reduction where one of the participants asked me about using AJI-NO-MOTO® to reduce salt intake. That was a moment when I felt that our efforts were taking root. It is a gratifying experience to realize that our efforts in spreading the knowledge on umami and promoting health in collaboration with governments and supermarkets are benefitting the lifestyles of consumers in various places. The reward of my work comes from knowing that I am supporting the health of those who choose Ajinomoto Group products.

How else are you working to achieve your goals?

I am always thinking about ways to create opportunities to increase contact points with consumers and to make people more aware of the importance of low sodium intake, for instance, by holding workshops for dietitians who will then promote health to those who visit their drugstores.