To answer the question posed in this blog title: I have no idea.
Leah and I saw liquid aminos—or “Liquid Aminos,” as it seems this is a brand name—about a year ago. It was Whole Foods, when we stopped in to buy some nutritional yeast (which by the way is good stuff; read about putting it on your popcorn here). Since then I’ve tried Liquid Aminos, and it—or “they”—taste exactly like soy sauce, which makes sense. The product has the exact same consistency as soy sauce, the exact same color, and its ingredient list says, in its entirety, “Vegetable protein from soybeans & purified water.” So that seems simple enough, except that the packaging claims that Liquid Aminos is/are “A nature soy sauce alternative.”
Can you just claim that something is an alternative, even if it is almost surely exactly like the thing it is an alternative to? I mean, I guess that I am making an alternative choice to buy this bottle of not-soy sauce, instead of some Kikkoman. What also confuses me is that the bottle says this “all-purpose seasoning” comes “from soy protein.” Is the difference something with the fermentation process, or lack thereof, which makes this not-soy sauce? But anyway, the takeaway: though if blindfolded I cannot tell the taste difference between Liquid Aminos and any type of soy sauce at all, Liquid Aminos come in a squirt bottle. It is AMAZINGLY convenient, and all soy sauce should come this way. I love it.
–Jeff and Leah