What is Kokumi???

Dr. Steven Witherly
“Food Pleasure”

Special thank you to NCIFT Supplier’s Night committee for a great speaker presentation at supplier’s night last week. Dr. Steven Witherly presented, “Food Pleasure” about what drives our preferences and the physiological functions behind how and what we eat.

While quite entertaining, my favorite part of the presentation was a discussion of the many more than five taste sensations in the human body. We sense more than just sour, sweet, salty, bitter and umami. And we have these receptors in our gut too – 23 in all! So, my question for you is what my question to the industry has been for some time, what is kokumi? As a sales person of sweet, salty and umami ingredients, I just don’t get it. How can something be more umami than umami?

Kokumi is the feeling of completeness when something is in your mouth and going down the esophagus. You feel you have everything you need – for a fleeting moment, until you need another bite. It can be called “heartiness” or “mouthfullness” sort of like the feel good moment when your child gives you a homemade mother’s day card and for that moment you only have total happiness and pride. Well kokumi is that completeness or fullness – where nothing else fits for that moment in time except fulfillment from a food.