Mediterranean Umami is a savory, plant-based mixture prepared from natural sources rich in umami compounds such as tomato, mushroom and seaweed extracts, combining them with sea-salt, allowing food manufacturers to reduce their salt intake by up to 45% while retaining a savory profile.
Salt of the Earth completed multiple trials of macaroni and cheese formulations with and without Mediterranean Umami at its applications lab, with two chefs working jointly to maintain identical taste between the products. The flavor enhancement qualities of Mediterranean Umami were able to increase the cheesy flavor, resulting in less cheese needed in the treated product without the use of MSG or yeast extracts.
Mediterranean Umami can also be used to reduce the amounts of certain expensive ingredients, such as flavorings and spice blends, mushrooms, or parmesan and other cheeses, contributing to "significant cost savings," according to the company.
“After feedback from customers, who were reporting significantly stronger flavors, we started exploring the capacity of Mediterranean Umami to reduce ingredients and contribute to cost savings,” said David Hart, business unit director for Salt of the Earth. “Surprisingly, we not only succeeded in maintaining full flavor with Mediterranean Umami, we actually crafted a mac ‘n’ cheese that was even more craveable. This adds a new twist to that famous American dish.”
- Visit Salt of the Earth at IFT Expo in New Orleans, June 3-5, 2019, at A&B Ingredients, booth #2112, where chefs will be preparing foods highlighting Mediterranean Umami.
Salt reduction consumer trends
The global reduced salt packaged food market is expected to reach $125bn by 2022 with the Americas holding the highest market share of reduced salt packaged food products at 40% in 2017, according to Technavio market research.
Salt and its various forms have been a functional food ingredient used from everything to preserving food and enhancing flavor to retaining moisture. However, consumers are looking to reduce their salt intake, a dietary concern that increases as a consumer ages. According to a 2017 report by the Hartman Group, 47% of millennials, 57% of Gen X, and 66% of baby boomers are trying to decrease the amount of salt in their diets.
Hartman Group also found in its research that sodium is heavily avoided due to its connection to heart health, and consumers also perceiving it as an indicator of "more processed foods".