Kokumi compounds could aid fat reduction: Ajinomoto study

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

The addition of kokumi substances to low fat products could help to improve taste, say researchers from Japanese firm Ajinomoto.
The addition of kokumi substances to low fat products could help to improve taste, say researchers from Japanese firm Ajinomoto.

Related tags: Taste

The use of ‘kokumi’ substances could improve the taste of low-fat foods, aiding efforts to reduce levels of fat and calories in foods, say researchers from Japanese firm Ajinomoto.

Continued pressure to slash the levels of sugar, salt, and fat in food products has seen many manufacturers explore new methods to use flavour and texture modifications to enable such reductions in recent years.

From the use of protein technology to produce low-fat ice cream, the use of new flavour technologies, or novel production methods, the focus on producing tastier yet healthier foods has never been higher.

According to new research published in the journal Flavour, one potential solution to creating better tasting low-fat foods could lie in the use of kokumi substances – which are known to enhance basic tastes when combined with other flavours, despite having no taste themselves.

In the study, one kokumi compound - gamma-glutamyl-valyl-glycine (γ-Glu-Val-Gly ) which is found in garlic, onions and scallops – was found to significantly enhance ‘thick flavour’, aftertaste, and oiliness in reduced-fat peanut butter.

“These results demonstrated that addition of γ-Glu-Val-Gly increased some sensations that were lacking in the reduced-fat peanut butter, suggesting that addition of the peptide could improve the flavour of reduced-fat peanut butter,”​ wrote the authors - led by Naohiro Miyamura from Ajinomoto’s Institute of Food Research and Technologies.

Study details

The Japanese researchers aimed to clarify whether addition of γ-Glu-Val-Gly changed the flavour and palatability of reduced-fat foods using a reduced-fat peanut butter model.

A total of 29 people were asked to rate a reduced fat peanut butter (containing 30% fat) and full-fat peanut butter (containing 50% fat) in a taste test, before being asked to sample two reduced-fat products - one of which also contained 40 ppm of γ-Glu-Val-Gly.

“Prior to the evaluation of the effect of γ-Glu-Val-Gly, a comparison test was conducted between full-fat model peanut butter and reduced-fat peanut butter. The sensory attributes in which the score of the full-fat model was significantly higher than that of the reduced-fat sample were used for the evaluation of the effect of γ-Glu-Val-Gly,”​ the team explained.

After the initial comparison, the team analysed the effect of γ-Glu-Val-Gly on the sensory character of reduced-fat peanut butter for the attributes, peanut flavour, thick flavour, aftertaste, continuity of taste, and oiliness.

The team found that the addition of the kokumi substance significantly enhanced thick flavour, aftertaste, and oiliness in the reduced-fat peanut butter.

“These results demonstrated that the addition of γ-Glu-Val-Gly increased some sensations that were lacking in the reduced-fat peanut butter, suggesting that addition of the peptide can be used for flavour improvement in reduced-fat peanut butter,”​ they wrote.

Source: Flavour
Published online, open access, doi: 10.1186/2044-7248-4-16
Flavour improvement of reduced-fat peanut butter by addition of a kokumi peptide, γ-glutamyl-valyl-glycine”
Authors: Naohiro Miyamura, Shuichi Jo, Motonaka Kuroda, Tohru Kouda

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