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2. Umami taste in protein rich food

Yeast extract provides a unique, savoury, that is ‘umami’, taste. It is loved by cooks all over the world for its ability to improve the taste of a dish with completely natural components. For these reasons yeast extract is a popular ingredient for sauces, soups, dishes and snacks – for conventional cuisine as well as for plant based dishes. In the UK and in Australia, yeast extract is also the main component of extremely popular sandwich spreads.

The umami taste is due to the amino acid glutamic acid that naturally occurs in all protein-rich food. Yeast extract works here like every other seasoning: Thanks to the savoury taste the products are refined and the overall taste is balanced. However, the average yeast extract content of the end products is low.

A cooked meat broth has an amino acid profile that is very similar to the one of yeast extract. It also has a very similar bouillon taste. For this reason, yeast extract is often used for plant based food, for example vegetarian spreads, to give them the typical hearty umami taste. Yeast extract is also often used for products with low salt content, because adding yeast extract contributes to providing depth to the taste of low-salt products that are hence better accepted by the consumer.

The following illustrations show the effects of yeast extract. The example of a vegetable bouillon and a meat bouillon – with and without yeast extract – illustrates how the natural ingredient balances the different tastes and adds savoury taste direction to the profile..