An emerging Japanese taste concept is kokumi, which, like umami, adds a premium mouthfeel in snacks and sauces. Kokumi is said to replicate the sensation of slow-cooked cuisines with a taste and texture likened to that of Gouda cheese.
Scientists have linked the kokumi flavor to a group of molecules called gamma-glutamyl peptides. The addition of kokumi to foods may help reduce fat intake by imparting rich and lingering flavors. Japanese snack maker Calbee delivers kokumi flavor profiles in a line of potato chips, including a steak flavor variety that replicates the taste of a juicy steak with a combination of wasabi and soy sauce flavors.
“The addition of kokumi enhancer can help the broth of instant noodles taste richer and thicker, delivering the taste of a real homemade broth,” said Gwen Crothers, a global food science analyst for Mintel.
Busier lifestyles lead consumers to choose more convenient solutions for meal preparation, such as ready-to-use sauces. The use of kokumi enhancers in sauces may simulate a traditional, home-cooked meal, Ms. Crothers said.