We have repeatedly witnessed the impact craveability can have on the success of food and beverage solutions. At Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations, our primary approach to achieving the innovation goal of “craveable” products involves experimenting with the BASICS. That means elements of balance, acidity, sweetness, intended flavor, color and saltiness.

While past discussions about craveability generally revolved around the fundamental influences of great taste, umami has rapidly established itself as an impactful way to create delicious, savory innovations.

It is ultimately consumers who inform how craveability is perceived so we work hard to assess their needs and expectations. Additionally there is greater awareness and demand for “cleaner” ingredients, which has put natural sources of umami into the spotlight.

Consumers increasingly want food made of simple, recognizable, natural ingredients, and expect manufacturers to be transparent about what is in their food—not just what isn’t.  We believe the “Holy Grail” for chefs and formulators is to achieve umami craveability in the simplest and healthiest way possible.   

There are various inventive ways of delivering umami flavors--through fermentation, or alternative ingredient sources such as seaweed, for example. But I prefer to work with simple, natural food ingredients that consumers recognize. 

The humble tomato, for example, is rich in naturally occurring taste compounds which enhance umami characteristics while remaining taste-neutral. Recently, I’ve been working with Lycored, the experts in deconstructing the tomato to create healthy craveability while cleaning up labels.

Lycored’s tomato-derived taste enhancer, SANTE, provides a high concentration of the compounds that produce umami and kokumi. It accentuates existing flavor characteristics while remaining taste-neutral. It also helps reduce sodium from salt by as much as 65% in some applications and is the perfect way to avoid artificial flavors.

At the IFT expo earlier this year, our team developed new recipe concepts that demonstrated how SANTE can be used to create healthier versions of savory dishes. For example, our Carrot and Apple soup recipe showed how salt and cream can be reduced. We also created a Tom Yum soup that was lower in sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk and soy sauce, and a roasted red pepper sauce lower in tomato paste and heavy cream.

Healthy craveability is clearly in demand, and the growing popularity of umami creates exciting opportunities for food manufacturers. Using Lycored’s SANTE in recipes meets the demand for great taste while offering shorter, cleaner labels. 

Charlie Baggs is president and executive chef for Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations.

Learn more about Lycored and its SANTE offerings.