Opportunities in Umami ;Exploring the potential of the fifth taste

Opportunities in Umami ;Exploring the potential of the fifth taste


Umami is the recently accepted fifth basic taste, and describes the strong savory flavor that works as an important building block for many food items. There is a growing opportunity for the umami concept within the food and drink industry.

Key Findings

• Umami can be a game-changer in the development of formulations for sodium reduction. A large range of umami flavors can be used to successfully reduce salt or sodium in a food or drink product. For example, according to the Glutamate Association, MSG can reduce the amount of sodium in a recipe by up to 40%, while still maintaining the desired flavor.

• Umami-generating or -enhancing ingredients, such as yeast extracts, hydrolyzed proteins, and soy sauce, can be used in food and drink manufacturing to create vegetarian or vegan products or meals that have enough savory flavor to perform as suitable meat substitutes.

• Umami may have a role to play in improving the health of consumers above and beyond its potential role in sodium reduction. Umami's effects on appetite development, digestion, and satiety are being investigated, and may be important in future food design.


The report presents new and innovative ways of using the umami concept for salt reduction, vegetarian/vegan products, and clean label/natural food items. The report concludes with the potential for umami to create healthy foods, innovations in taste research and sensory evaluation, and what might be the future impact of related concepts such as kokumi on the food and drink industry.

Reasons To Buy

• Understand what umami is and what potential it has to add value to new food and drink products.

• Discover which ingredients can deliver the umami sensation and how these are being used in new products in a range of sectors.

• Learn how umami can help to create tasty and satisfying reduced sodium, natural, and/or vegetarian or vegan foods.

• Learn about consumer reaction to MSG and umami, and how this varies by demographic.

• Discover future opportunities linked to the umami concept; such as kokumi.

About the author
Executive summary
Trends in umami ingredients
Innovating with the umami concept
Differentiating and creating added value
Future opportunities
Chapter 1 Introduction
What is umami?
Umami is trending
Consumer and media perceptions of umami and MSG
About this report
Chapter 2 Trends in umami ingredients
MSG and related flavor enhancers
MSG - a core umami ingredient
Perception of MSG
Other umami-generating ingredients
Yeast extracts and hydrolyzed proteins: proprietary and natural blends
Yeast extracts
Hydrolyzed proteins
Plants, foods, and natural process sources of umami
Foods high in umami compounds
Soy sauce
Umami taste using local ingredients
Newer sources and processes
Chapter 3 Innovating with the umami concept
Innovating and marketing with umami
A market gap to be filled
Iconic and unique
Umami is linked with health and novelty
Savory as a unique proposition
Hot and savory drinks
Sweet and savory
Unexpected savoriness
Reformulation/repositioning with umami
Seaweed - an umami ingredient
Chapter 4 Differentiating and creating added value
Salt reduction
Umami for successful salt reduction
Salt replacement with seaweed
Sodium reduction in seasonings
Strong and satisfying flavors
Clean label/natural
Natural umami ingredients
Chapter 5 Future opportunities
Umami and health
Innovations from flavor and taste research
Beyond umami
List of Tables
Table 1: New food and drink products with basic taste flavors, 2012-14
Table 2: Umami ingredients in reduced salt/sodium* food and drinks, 2013-14
Table 3: Top 10 claims/tags in new food and drinks, 2012-14
List of Figures
Figure 1: Umami search topic: relative level of interest worldwide, January 2005 to January 2015
Figure 2: An Umami Burger
Figure 3: Recently published cookery/beverage books with an umami theme
Figure 4: Consumer perception (global) of MSG on health, 2015
Figure 5: Sentiments in tweets containing #umami or #monosodiumglutamate
Figure 6: #umami tweets and trendy new ingredients/recipes
Figure 7: A selection of new products from around the world containing MSG
Figure 8: The effect of age and gender on negative perception of MSG on health, 2015
Figure 9: How country of residence affects negative perceptions of MSG on health, 2015
Figure 10: Consumer consumption intention for MSG (global average), 2013
Figure 11: New products containing yeast extract and tagged as no MSG"
Figure 12: New US products featuring soy sauce
Figure 13: Mara Seaweed dulse
Figure 14: Umami cooking pastes and marinades available in the UK
Figure 15: Taste #5 Umami Collection
Figure 16: The Mushroom Garden umami seasoning
Figure 17: Salt of The Earth umami salt products
Figure 18: Mixing sweet and savory in popcorn
Figure 19: Savory yogurt and cottage cheese products
Figure 20: Seaweed snacks recently launched in the US
Figure 21: Global: consumer perception of salt/sodium on health, 2015
Figure 22: New reduced salt/sodium seasonings containing umami ingredients
Figure 23: Global variation in daily diet, 2014
Figure 24: Vegan meat substitutes with umami-enhancing ingredients
Figure 25: New foods containing parmesan cheese and featuring a natural claim/tag
Figure 26: Doenjang (Korean soybean paste)

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