Market pressure by consumers for healthy, natural, ‘kitchen-cupboard’ ingredients requires aggressive advancements in technology from ingredient manufacturers.
Sodium reduction presents challenges for both food safety and taste. We have responded to the issues of natural flavor enhancement and salt reduction with the application of a spray-dried extract derived from vegetables that is not based on potassium chloride (KCl). In our solution, Camlow™ P, the presence of naturally occurring “umami/kokumi” compounds stimulate the fifth taste and lead to a perception of increased flavor, saltiness (which allows for sodium reduction) and meatiness. The product is classified as “natural flavor” on the ingredient label.
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Our understanding of the mechanism of perceived saltiness and umami has advanced significantly since the work of Ikeda and we now know that the presence of two key elements is necessary to maximize umami. The first of these molecules is monosodium glutamate (MSG). The presence of MSG on the tongue stimulates receptors on the surface of specific taste buds which then signals the human brain to increase saliva production. Common theory is that this mechanism is a way to prepare humans for protein digestion as meat is high in naturally occurring MSG. The second element that is key to maximizing umami is the presence of nucleotides – specifically inosinate and guanylate. Commonly referred to as I+G, the combination of MSG and I+G in foods causes a marked synergistic effect on the perception of umami, saltiness, and flavor.
The evolutionary significance for our desire of umami type flavours can be exploited to meet modern consumer demands for sodium reduction and clean-label formulation.