Kokumi was named in Mintel’s 2018 U.S. Flavor Trends as a primary “on the fringe” up-and-coming flavor and #6 on Edelman Global Marketing Agency’s 2019 Global Food and Beverage trends. But, what is kokumi and how did this sensation come to be in the first place?
The Discovery of Kokumi
In the 1980s, Ajinomoto Co. scientists in Japan investigated these characteristics which led to the discovery of kokumi substances. Ajinomoto Co. scientists discovered kokumi substances from their investigation of foods eliciting a unique taste sensation of roundness and complexity, such as garlic. They identified the effective compounds for delivering these sensations as alliin and glutathione and called them kokumi substances. Glutathione is a compound naturally occurring in the body, but also highly present in spinach, avocados, asparagus, and garlic.
Harnessing the power and knowledge of these substances, Ajinomoto Co. developed the Savorboost™ line of yeasts and yeast extracts. The line of highly functional, technologically advanced yeast-based flavor enhancement systems adds targeted flavor impact across a variety of applications. Being the discoverers of umami and kokumi, Ajinomoto’s Savorboost™ line can be used to deliver the most delicious and complex taste to an application.
Choosing the Correct Savorboost to Fit Your Needs
Savorboost™ K delivers kokumi and other delicious flavor characteristics such as background richness and roundness. Savorboost™ BK enhances kokumi characteristics and increases beefy, roasted notes. Both enhance savory products such as snacks, sauces, soups, and gravies. This highly functional, technologically advanced yeast extract delivers complex flavor impact, continuity and roundness with no distinct yeast flavor. With less than 1% salt, this can be used to deliver taste enhancement in low sodium applications.
When considering kokumi, it is also beneficial to think about umami as well. Savorboost U (umami) enhances up-front umami flavor characteristics while Savorboost UM (umami) enhances overall umami flavor characteristics and increases overall impact and complexity. Savorboost F (full) delivers a combination of umami and kokumi to enhance overall impact and complexity. Learn more about Savorboost here.
Ajinomoto is fully equipped to support companies looking to innovate with this breakthrough concept. Key kokumi categories to consider:
- Ready meals
- Side dishes
- Plant-based/meat alternatives
- Baked goods
- Plus many more!
Kokumi in Plant-based
Delivering the unique characteristics and impact of kokumi can be tricky in applications such as plant-based products if you don’t have the right technologies to do so. Knowing this particular challenge, Ajinomoto’s R&D team developed the Savorboost™ line of yeasts and yeast extracts. This product line was designed specifically for creating the taste of umami and the sensation of kokumi while adding targeted flavor impact across many delicious applications.
Collaborate with the Kokumi Experts
As the discoverers of kokumi, Ajinomoto’s R&D team is ready to collaborate to achieve great kokumi balance in a wide variety of applications. Reach out to discover your possibilities with the kokumi and umami experts.