Kerry launches Explore Umami and Kokumi initiative

Kerry’s Explore Umami and Kokumi campaign is designed to introduce product developers to the depth and deliciousness of clean label umami and kokumi ingredients in savoury products, meat applications and plant-based proteins.

Kerry has embarked on its Explore Umami and Kokumi campaign, an initiative that invites food product developers to access the company’s 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, Kerry has developed a new taste lexicon for umami and kokumi, as well as a 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 perspectives about consumer taste preferences and trends in their culinary space. Four key areas were identified – a move towards 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 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 South 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 customised to suit local markets. This report exploring taste-building in Asian cuisine, along with other Kerry umami and kokumi information resources, is available on Kerry’s website.

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, Kerry 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 a taste company that owns and operates a yeast fermentation facility, Kerry is positioned to understand the challenges 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 Kerry 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. Implementing this standard language across all of its global locations, technologies and business units has enabled Kerry to add value for its customers as they explore their umami and kokumi options.