Less salt with umami-based vegetable extracts and powders

Published: 12-11-2015, | Member: Scelta Mushrooms

Food companies all over the world have salt reduction at the top of their agendas. Salt substitutes based on umami can be a tremendous asset in the fight to reduce salt consumption. New vegetable extracts containing umami and can be used for salt reduction without losing the flavor and function of salt, achieving salt reductions of up to fifty percent.

The Japanese have known it for a long time and now the Western world is realizing it too: alongside sweet, sour, salty and bitter, people can recognize a fifth taste: umami.  Umami is a savory flavor with a pleasant and long aftertaste.  A possible explanation for why people find umami so attractive is the fact that a significant amount is present in breast milk. Umami is also found in products such as parmesan cheese, olives, tomatoes and mushrooms and combines well with other flavors.

Flavor enhancer
The effect of umami is caused by the presence of the amino acid glutamate and ribonucleotides such as guanylate and inosinate. Research has shown that these substances open-up taste receptors. As a result, umami has a taste-enhancing effect. Therefore it can be used to maintain desired levels of salty taste in salt-reduced foods.

The Dutch company Scelta Mushrooms, together with the Canadian company Cambrian, has developed a line of umami-based vegetable extracts, that can be used as natural flavor enhancers. Scelta is a renowned specialist in mushrooms with expertise covering every kind of mushroom product from frozen and preserved to coated and extracted.

In over fifty countries worldwide, Scelta supplies billions of mushrooms every year to the leading brands in the food industry, food service and retail. The company is constantly developing new initiatives and collaborations with business partners all over the world.

Less salt
The new line of umami extracts are clean label, contain no added potassium and can replace traditional flavor enhancers such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), I+G (disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate) and AYE (autolyzed yeast extract). Adding umami extracts delivers reduced salt intake without any flavor loss.

The new extracts from Scelta and Cambrian are a great accompaniment to savory dishes (such as broths, soups and gravy) and (processed) meats. In addition, these companies have also developed a powder which effectively reduces the salt content of bread (but also has other applications, e.g. potato chips) without negatively affecting taste and baking properties. It also has a beneficial effect on the yeasty taste of bread. Already, the use of small concentrations has achieved salt reductions of up to fifty percent. Flavor enhancers based on umami can, therefore, be a tremendous asset in the fight to reduce salt consumption.

Scelta Mushrooms