Bell Flavors & Fragrances claims it has uncovered the secret of umami and developed a new range of natural umami flavours, especially designed for the use in clean label food products.
It has been over a century since umami was discovered in Japan, but it is now more than ever attracting global attention, primarily driven by food manufacturers with a strong interest in full and intense tastes, notes Bell Flavors & Fragrances EMEA. The company claims it has uncovered the secret of umami and developed a new range of natural umami flavours, especially designed for the use in clean label food products to work as a natural alternative to MSG or other taste enhancers.Umami derives from the Japanese words UMAI (delicious) and MI (taste). As one of the five primary tastes next to sweet, sour, salty and bitter, it can be described as brothy, savoury and meaty, with long-lasting mouthfeel and body. In scientific terms, umami is defined as the taste of salts combining glutamate (basically found in foods like tomatoes, onions, seaweed, soy sauce or shrimp), inosinate (mainly found in meat products) or guanylate (which occurs in foods like truffle or dried oyster mushroom). By knowing how to construct rich umami through ingredient selection, it is possible to prepare delicious meals without the need to add huge amounts of salt or even sugar.Experiments on the tongue’s areas of taste receptivity have shown that umami is perceived all across the tongue. Due to its persistence, umami is found to linger for several minutes, suggesting that it has a major impact on the aftertaste of foods. Umami also promotes salivation – an important determinant to sense taste. With regard to the perception of taste, umami can be considered a secret ingredient that partners, layers, balances and acts as a flavour catalyst to synergistically make a dish or a product more interesting and desirable. Umami-rich ingredients contribute to a savoury taste for increased flavour impact, acceptance and preference and therefore may help provide the “missing links” in recipes by rounding out and heightening the flavour of foods and closing gaps in taste by balancing the overall taste impression.Consumers are focusing on weight management, eating better, and making health-conscious choices that rival convenience in determining food purchases. The flavour-enhancing capabilities of umami can help drive selection of such nutritional foods by balancing the taste and imparting fuller flavour with less total sodium and calories.Umami has become an increasingly important tool for balancing food products and foodservice dishes. With the consumersꞌ aspiration to remain healthy and active, the market is growing with new opportunities in product development – making it increasingly important to create natural, clean label and healthy products without compromising on taste.“By unifying our creative expertise in savoury solutions with the scientific understanding of umami, we were able to develop a range of umami flavours that will help new product developments face the challenges of today´s food business by providing a natural alternative to MSG and other flavour enhancers,” said Agneta Hoffmann, Marketing Specialist at Bell´s Savory Division.