“Natural, allergen-free flavor enhancers are in great demand”Published: 22-06-2016, | Member: Yama Products
Ancient knowledge of Japanese cuisine is where Yama finds inspiration for new innovations, and that’s the origin of the new seaweed stock powder the company introduced to the market this spring. “We are responding to the demand for natural, allergen-free flavor enhancers,” says director Chi-Sung Ma.
Yama’s story begins in 1966 with the marketing, sales and distribution of Kikkoman soy sauce, marinades, dressings and various other oriental seasonings for the retail channel; initially in the Netherlands and later in the rest of Europe. Things are going well and, early in 1970, the company opens its own store in Amsterdam selling Japanese delicacies. The range is growing rapidly, and Yama becomes a trusted and well-known supplier for retailers, restaurants and the food industry.
“The rise of Japanese cuisine in Europe and the increasing need by the industry for custom-made products, convinced us, in 2000, to focus strongly on products in growing markets,” said Ma. “We have concentrated all our efforts into umami ingredients, like seaweed and yeast extracts, and herbal extracts with practical applications, such as the natural antioxidants rosemary, turmeric and tocopherol. ”
That same year Yama brought the product development and production of their E-number-free soy sauce, wok sauces and bouillon powder in-house. A logical step, says the director. “Our customers in the retail and food sectors often find their inspiration while visiting a restaurant. They eat something special and want to translate this experience into a product on the shelf”, says Ma. “Yama’s Eastern culinary tradition means we are accustomed to thinking about taste and presentation; coupled with our extensive knowledge of retail, this enables us to respond rapidly to customers’ needs. ”
Let’s take a closer look at the Natural Seasoning Sauce powder (NSSP-SD) that Yama introduced in April this year. “In traditional Japanese cuisine, seaweed is added to water and then boiled. This creates a pure vegetable broth with an intense flavor”, says Ma. “We have translated this ancient culinary tradition into a stock powder that adds superb taste and is easy to use and store.”
NSSP-SD is made from washed and dried Kombu, a tasty seaweed that is a popular vegetable in Japan and China.
Yama’s seaweed powder – a global first – is a response to the industry’s demand for natural and allergen-free seasonings. “NSSP-SD is suitable for so many different foods, from sausages and burgers to chips and shrimp croquettes,” says Ma.
Part of Yama’s product development focuses on increasing the number and variety of ways the product can be used. “The trick is to come up with the precise amount that provides the best taste, the least product and the lowest amount of sodium”, says the director.
If it was up to Ma, the years ahead would see far more innovations similar to the Kombu powder. “Currently Yama exports its products to more than 15 countries, and works for different multinationals and retailers; a broad portfolio of umami products fits well into this.”