SAN FRANCISCO -- Sometimes, you’ve just got to have that salty flavor to satisfy your consumer. But how can you provide it without salt itself? Consider the fifth taste, umami, and the role it can play in flavor perception. Present on the human tongue, umami taste receptors signal increased saltiness along with pleasant savory effect.

“Umami flavor enhancers, more than ever before, have a place in reduced sodium applications in the baking and snack market,” said Joseph Leslie, national industrial sales manager, Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc., San Francisco.

The company’s Tamari gluten-free soy sauces in liquid and granulated form bring the umami effect to baked snacks.

“These ingredients boost the underlying flavor and deliciousness of snacks without adding flavor of their own,” Mr. Leslie said.

They not only boost salty perception but also mask off-flavors of sodium replacers.

A different choice is choline chloride. Balchem’s C-Salt choline chloride salt enhancer replaces up to 50% of salt, with some formulations reaching 75% replacement.

“It has added benefits for brain development in infants and children and improves mental acuity,” said Kate Bohnert, marketing specialist, Balchem, SensoryEffects Division.