Kerry embarks on its Explore Umami and Kokumi campaign, an initiative that invites food product developers to access the company’s extensive resources on these two intriguing tastes. The components of the campaign include a research report that explores umami trends in Asia, as well as articles that explain how umami and kokumi work synergistically to deliver authentic, complex, multidimensional, preference-driving taste in the most memorable way possible. In addition, the company announced that it has developed a new, industry-first taste lexicon for umami and kokumi, as well as a leading portfolio of clean label solutions in this space.
Redefining Umami: An exploration of umami and flavour-building is a research report that talks to chefs across Asia to gain their leading-edge perspectives about consumer taste preference and hot trends in their culinary space. Four key areas were identified: a move toward taste complexity; consumer acceptance of sour, bitter and umami tastes; increasing call for holistic taste experiences; and reduced public acceptance of processed, industrialised food production. These and other themes are examined in this exploratory report as it discusses building taste using traditional Asian ingredients. Topics discussed include dashi from Japan, tempeh from Indonesia and kimchi, jang and sikcho from Korea.
Umami — also known as the fifth taste — elevates, enriches and improves succulence, while kokumi brings depth, fullness of the mouth and richness. Used together, they ensure depth, roundness and deliciousness for savoury products in a variety of applications, including prepared meals, soups, sauces, snacks, meat and meat-alternatives tailored to suit local markets.
Kay Marshallsay, global product director, fermentation, Kerry, said, “There’s an enormous emerging opportunity in savoury taste for chefs and product developers around the world to create new and exciting food innovations based on umami and kokumi. To assist in the process, Kerry first spoke to chefs across Asia about how they create umami and kokumi tastes, and then worked to develop ways to make these scalable and accessible to the food industry at large. This new research report provides an on-the-ground perspective that details the emerging global taste trends emanating from Asian cuisine.”
In addition, as part of its research into umami and kokumi, the company created a taste lexicon for the savoury category by developing a glossary of terms that includes a list of descriptors, definitions and references to describe the full palette of these tastes. As the only global taste company that owns and operates a yeast fermentation facility, the company is uniquely positioned to understand the nuances of fermentation and flavour chemistry, and to explain and apply the complex and exciting interplay between umami and kokumi.
This lexicon allows for a unified, agreed-upon language for the company and its customers to use when describing savoury notes in umami and kokumi. The importance of these universal parameters is that intended properties can be built into products in consistent, scalable ways. Implementing this standard language across all of its global locations, technologies and business units has enabled the company to add value for customers as they explore their umami and kokumi options.
Striking the umami and kokumi balance
The memorable sensory qualities of umami and kokumi used in perfect synergy can bring depth and taste to savoury foods. While food scientists continue to actively study these tastes, chefs have long used them to create delicious and memorable dishes. Integrating umami and kokumi effectively into savoury products requires an experienced understanding of how they interact with each other and with other ingredients. Since this often calls for small, nuanced adjustments, the company’s experienced flavourists and sensory experts regularly provide ideas and solutions that help to achieve desired results without compromising overall balance.
The company’s industry-leading, clean label portfolio of umami and kokumi solutions has resulted from innovative research that developed over time using the company’s rich heritage in fermentation and its long-established culinary-focussed culture. Product developers can now build delicious, rich and full savoury profiles into their products using these proven clean label ingredients and natural flavours, assisted by the company’s leading in-house experts.