Food Research

Taste Research for a Better-tasting, Healthier Daily Diet

Nissui conducts research into taste components that can be detected as full-bodied umami to boost salty and umami flavors and mask bitter or sour tastes.
Recent trends toward healthy eating have boosted demand for reduced-sodium products. To cut sodium intake, less salt must be used when manufacturing or seasoning processed foods. But simply reducing the amount of salt negatively affects the taste of the finished product. A salt substitute like potassium chloride can be used to reduce sodium content, but while it tastes salty, it also has an acrid taste. Until recently, it had not been possible to use potassium chloride in quantities large enough to make the salty taste detectable at the usual level.

To accurately evaluate the bitterness of potassium chloride, Nissui began by developing a sensory evaluation system and selected and trained evaluators. Nissui also began investigating substances to desensitize the taste buds to potassium chloride's bitterness, finally hitting upon a parsley extract with the strong ability to control bitter and acidic tastes selected from among various vegetable extracts used to heighten food flavors and enhance taste. It isolated and purified a substance with a strong bitterness-suppressant effect, which it identified as apiin, and developed a parsley extract containing highly-concentrated apiin. This allowed Nissui to develop its sodium-reduction technology using potassium chloride in sufficient amounts with robust saltiness but no detectable bitterness (Figure 1, patent no. 5952832). This technology is used in Nissui products like "Gen-en 50% Sake Arahogushi" (50% sodium-reduced salmon flakes), which comes in glass jars, and filets of various types of fish and other processed fish products sold under the "Oishiowaza" brand name.

Figure 1. Nissui's Own Sodium-reduction Technology

Figure 2. Gen-en 50% Sake Arahogushi

Rich-tasting Champon Noodles

Rich flavor is a vital taste attribute that cannot be created simply by adding umami taste enhancer, salt or sugar. To give "Wagaya no Men Jiman: Champon" noodles, one of our leading home use frozen food products, rich flavor, we carefully researched preparation methods and the ingredients used for making the soup and the toppings. We eventually discovered that heating certain types of vegetables and meat extracts under specific conditions can boost rich flavor. We can use this flavor element to enhance the flavor of all kinds of frozen foods in addition to champon noodles, and we have applied for a patent for this flavor-enhancing technology. (Patent pending)

Figure 3. "Wagaya no Men Jiman: Champon" Noodles