Innovation That Matters

| Photo source The Nordic Umami Company

Extracting umami flavour from plant-based by-products

Food & Drink

A new startup aims to become the leading supplier of vegan umami for the food industry

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Spotted: It is no secret that a vegan diet is better for the planet. In fact, if the world went vegan tomorrow, greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by up to two-thirds. People are often put off by a vegan diet, though, for its lack of umami: one of the core tastes that usually corresponds with meaty flavours. This is why the Finnish food technology startup The Nordic Umami Company has developed sustainable umami flavours from circular ingredients, hoping to speed the transition to a fully sustainable food system.  

To generate momentum towards delicious, upcycled food, the Nordic Umami Company has uncovered a ground-breaking way to extract umami flavour from plant-based products that would otherwise be wasted. The company now hopes to scale its fermentation-based technology into an industrial-sized pilot plant while expanding its impact with new creations.  The company’s umami products include bouillons, sauces, and salts.

The startup’s CIO and co-founder Reetta Kivelä explains that “we found the original idea for natural umami through a real-life problem. We realised that the options for bringing umami to plant foods were limited. All alternatives had health, naturality, or sustainability challenges. However, vegan food must also have the fifth basic flavour, umami.” 

In December 2022, the young company raised €1.8 million in a seed funding round led by the Nordic Food Tech VC.  

Springwise has previously spotted other innovations that aim to widen vegan choices, including a gut-friendly vegan cereal startup and a startup that hopes to put upcycled fish alternatives on the menu by 2023. 

Written By: Georgia King




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