Savor the Flavor: Umami is the key to consumers embracing Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

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Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyles are nothing new – in fact it is the only accepted practice in many significant cultures and religious practices. However particularly in Europe and the Americas, those living vegetarian or vegan lifestyles still only comprise a small percentage of the population. In the US, for example, recent surveys have revealed that only around 5% of the population identifies as vegetarian or vegan.

And though the population they serve does remain fairly small, the industry of brands and products that serve the vegetarian/vegan niche has been consistently diversifying and maturing – and constantly seeking to improve its offerings.

Rapidly Growing Market

The news is good. The global plant-based meat alternatives market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 14.5% from 2020 to 2024 – potentially reaching $24.1 billion in sales. Mattson recently released insights indicating that health considerations are certainly a factor in the market’s growth – 53% of survey respondents indicated a focus on increasing their vegetable intake, and an eye-popping 37% of respondents indicated that they plan to expand their horizons and eat more plant-based meat alternative products. And though healthier eating is certainly a motivation – it is not the sole factor in a consumer’s purchases. 55% of consumers list taste as the most important factor when choosing plant-based products. At face-value, we may be tempted to interpret that statistic to merely indicate that we should be seeking to ensure that our product has a better taste than other plant-based options. But we encourage brands to think bigger. Recent developments in flavor-enhancing enzymes have created a monumental opportunity — products can seek to not only be the best-tasting plant-based alternative, but to taste so good that they’re a preferable alternative to meat itself.

Plant-Based Alternative Products: Not Just for Vegetarians Anymore

Recent developments in the marketplace such as the breakthroughs of the Beyond Meat brand being featured at juggernauts like Burger King or Dunkin Donuts show that there are great potential rewards in store for the plant-based alternative brands that are willing to think bigger – and think tastier.

Though undeniably the beneficiary of powerful marketing initiatives, the remarkable surge of success enjoyed by the Beyond Meat brand should be an eye-opening phenomenon for all plant-based meat alternative brands. The message should be loud and clear: your products can appeal to a wider market — if they taste great. Whether driven by health consciousness, simple curiosity, or other factors, a greater volume of consumers than ever have demonstrated loud and clear: “we’ll give it a try.” Meat alternative products have an unprecedented opportunity to seize greater market share and go beyond the niche vegetarian and vegan population.

The opportunity is clear… as is the challenge. The same consumer population who has shown their willingness to try plant-based products has also made it clear that since moral, religious, or health considerations may not be motivators for them, the reality is simple. They have to like it, or they will leave it.

The bottom line? Your plant-based meat alternative product can be wildly successful – if it tastes great.

Not just good. Tasting good or fine won’t be enough. “Good enough” won’t be enough to overcome habits & deeply ingrained societal messaging (is there anything more American than a juicy burger or plump hot dog?). A food that tastes “fine” won’t be enough to change long-standing brand loyalties or biases against something new or different.

It’s gotta taste great. Great enough for picky eaters to admit it and open up their hearts to the new game in town. Great enough for the most devoted meat lovers to decide, “we should have this again.” If your product has a taste that can get a stout meat lover to salivate, you can salivate at the growth potential for your brand.

Umamizyme: Amano’s Enzyme to deliver Savory Flavor

To help plant-based products pass the taste test, Amano Enzyme developed Umamizyme™ Pulse, a non-GMO enzyme designed to produce a pleasant, savory (umami) flavor in proteins, as well as a sensation of richness and complexity (kokumi). The flavor it adds is a superior replacement for traditional savory/richness ingredients such as monosodium glutamate (MSG). It is formulated to work with the flavor of plant-based proteins such as pea, soy, almond, rice, or hemp – and is a non-animal product.

Umamizyme is easy to integrate into a wide variety of formulations. It is a perfect ingredient for achieving great taste in any meat alternative products (such as sausage, ground meat, burger patties, or minced meat). The inclusion of Umamizyme increases glutamate to deliver savory flavor, and when cooked at high temperature, it also increases cysteine for a “meaty” flavor and even a better charred/seared appearance.

Let’s Cook Up a Better Plant-Based Product

The team at Amano Enzyme approaches every product opportunity with a consultative approach in which we listen to our customer’s needs and requirements, and work collaboratively to identify the enzymes that will provide the most beneficial solution. We focus on sustainable production and employ a stringent quality assurance regimen that ensures product safety at all times. Our facilities and methods are even kosher and halal-certified. You can be confident that our team’s dedication to producing an excellent product equals your own, and that we will be equally committed to the success of your product.

Would you like to grill one of our representatives (with questions)?


Our dedicated professional team is here to answer your questions and provide support. We also offer samples of enzyme products. Feel free to contact us.