Umami, Kokumi & Savory Solutions

Liz Kreger, PH.D., Flavor Innovation and Analytical Manager, Sensient Flavors & Extracts

As published in an issue of Perfumer & Flavorist

P&F+: What are some of the applications that are at the forefront of innovation for umami, kokumi and savory solutions?

Liz Kreger [LK]: The amazing thing about the kokumi taste phenomenon is that the applications are limitless. I would say innovation focuses less on specific applications and more on the generalization of making food products taste better. Kokumi has no taste of its own but transforms the flavor and taste profile of whatever it is put into. Taking a pasta sauce cooked via high-temperature, short-time pasteurization and making it taste like it was sitting on your grandmother’s stove, simmering away all day. It takes a French onion dip and makes it taste like the onions were slow and low caramelized in a gourmet kitchen and made with the freshest creams. And it isn’t just limited to savory; kokumi is in everything! Excited new science and analytical methodologies are being developed to help us identify the molecules that cause kokumi; in turn, we can create new flavor technologies to deliver.

P&F+: How are vegan/plant-based applications driving innovation in savory flavors?

LK: These applications help drive the development of new and better vegan meat and dairy flavors. These flavor profiles are traditionally made from non-vegan named sources. Typically, a roasted chicken flavor starts with chicken meat, pushing innovation to new ways of developing these flavors without relying on actual meat and dairy, taking inspiration from other natural processes, like fermentation/enzymatic reactions, to transform plant-based sources to taste like meat.