You might not have heard of Umami, but in fact you encounter it every day – you just do not know it by that name. Umami is a Japanese word, meaning 'delicious taste': uma (delicious) mi (taste).

Although an unfamiliar term, the Western kitchen is very familiar with the taste sensations of Umami-rich foods. Originally, Umami was used to describe the taste effect of monosodium glutamate (MSG), contained in very common Western foods such as cheddar cheese, Parma ham, onion, chicken, tuna... It is even in mothers' milk.

MSG has been seen negatively in recent times. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of health issues and desire 'natural' products rather than those which contain additives and chemicals. Instinctively, they will often try to avoid food products which contain MSG – although in reality it can add depth of flavour and succulence to foods.

In fact, the removal of the taste enhancers can have a negative effect on the flavour: it can become weaker, making it appear to lack body and depth. So what is the solution when customers want to see 'MSG-free' on their product labels, but do not want to compromise on taste?

At Givaudan, we recognise your consumers' needs and understand their concerns. TasteSolutions™ Umami enables you to build great-tasting products without the negative labelling. Our approach is innovative – using the latest scientific understanding and technologies – but also straightforward: we assess the role and functionality of the taste enhancers in your product, then we recreate the flavour to replace the important taste effects.

We conduct extensive research and look at long-established cooking traditions, discovering what it is that makes food taste great. We also make sure that our consumer panels provide us with valuable feedback to help us get it right. The result of this research and development is the recreation of a delicious new taste profile – without the negative labelling.