Why umami is a vital flavor for food

Image of Zoe's Crush Cookie and Umami callout

Umami is the mysteriously addictive fifth primary taste we all crave unknowingly.  The complex food component has created a hunger in consumers that needs to be satisfied. Luckily, Sweet Street is at the forefront of this emerging trend, that’s about to blow up. Zoe’s Crush is a perfect mix of sweet, savory and umami. This deeply satisfying, gluten free, deliciously packed cookie blends almonds, toffee, toasted sesame, candied ginger, Peruvian chocolate and a delicate hint of miso, that’s where umami plays. What is Umami and why is it vital for food?


Image of burger and fries in Sweet Street Cafe


It seems as though consumers are just recognizing the name of this elusive flavor, but Umami has been well-established in Asian culinary history, first named in 1908 by a Japanese chemist. In Japanese, umami means “pleasant savory taste”, but we know it as “craveability”. The bold taste can be found in Asian cuisine through ingredients like soy sauce, miso paste, gochujang, and common pantry staples like, tomato paste, Parmesan cheese, and mushrooms – the list goes on.


Katie Ayoub, from Flavor and the Menu, points out that there’s a new and interesting trend happening in menu development and Umami is top of the roster. “The collective taste buds of consumers are evolving” she says. Chefs around the world have noticed a shift in the preference of the modern palate, averting overly sweet foods and focusing on the more savory dishes. Umami balances the other four tastes. It’s is more than flavor, it’s a sensation that stays with you and lingers.

Zoe's Crush Cookie on Table with ingredients scatteredThe perplexing taste has earned its place on global menus, but how the flavor actually functions is complicated. Nancy Rawson, associate director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, says that “there is a molecular receptor which responds to umami stimuli from MSG”. This means that humans have developed a mechanism to sense and respond to umami flavor. This priming process may take place as early as before and just after birth, when amniotic fluid and breast milk contain large amount of amino acids that transmit umami taste, setting us up to crave its complexity throughout life. Even as the senses of an aging population decrease, umami can act as an agent to enhance appetite by keeping the dish appealing. Food scientists are still researching to explain it’s molecular mechanism and human’s nutritional drive towards it, but one thing is clear, umami is here to stay. 

 Click here to try new Zoe’s Crush!

Zoe's Crush Cookies StackedSources:




Sweet Street eliminates GMOs from its product portfolio

August 22, 2018    READING, PA—Sweet Street, the nation’s leading manufacturer of gourmet desserts, has announced that virtually all of the company’s offerings are now non-GMO. The few exceptions are products that feature “branded candy” from other manufacturers.

Sweet Street’s commitment to baking cleaner, more wholesome desserts began over 10 years ago, when the company began to notice hidden preservatives and additives in many of the ingredients it sourced. Sweet Street then decided to take back control of ingredient integrity and quality—while matching taste, texture and function on over 300 desserts featuring 500+ ingredients.

2 slices of Blueberry Oat Pullman

Blueberry Oat Pullman

A major milestone for Sweet Street came in 2016 with the introduction of the company’s Manifesto® line of cookies and bars. All Manifesto® products are non-GMO and made without artificial colors and flavors—and each batch starts with all-butter dough, pure cane sugar and only cage-free eggs.

Today, new products continue to expand Sweet Street’s portfolio of cleaner, more wholesome offerings. One example is the Farmer’s Market Blueberry Oat Pullman. Full of fresh Maine blueberries, yogurt, and rolled oats it’s also non-GMO and contains no artificial colors or ingredients.

To learn more about Sweet Street’s commitment to ingredient integrity, contact the company at 800-793-3897 or www.sweetstreet.com.

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Sweet Street was born in 1979, when founder Sandy Solmon began baking oversized chocolate chip cookies in a 2-bay garage in Reading, Pennsylvania. Today, Sweet Street is the leading innovator in the dessert industry, baking for restaurants and cafes in over 60 countries, on every continent. The Company’s commitment to community, passion for artful food and dedication to quality remain the motivation behind every creation. Sweet Street offers over 400 luscious gourmet desserts from big cakes to brulee’d cheesecakes and macarons, dessert bars to loaves, and of course, Sandy’s legendary cookies.  Learn more by visiting www.sweetstreet.com or contacting your broker or distributor.

Our Manifesto®? Clean can still be filthy delicious

Just how much of an impact can clean ingredient labels make on the purchase decision? Consider this stat from foodinsiderjournal.com: according to specialty PR agency Ingredient Communications, 73% of consumers are willing to pay a higher retail price for a food or drink product made with ingredients they recognize and trust.

Of course, it takes more than just a clean label to build a following of dedicated and passionate fans. After all, a product’s quality and flavor are what ultimately keep consumers coming back for it again and again.

At Sweet Street, we’ve spent no less than a decade charting our course into the clean landscape. It all began when we first started noticing hidden preservatives and additives in our food supply chain. We made a decision to collectively take back control, using our industry leadership to convince some of the largest ingredient suppliers to change their ways. The challenge was to match flavor and function of ingredients in our 300+ dessert portfolio, all while delivery that signature quality and flavor our customers demand.

The result of our efforts is the Manifesto® line of treats, made with ingredients that are clean and GMO free. Every batch of our Manifesto® bake-off cookies starts with all-butter dough, pure cane sugar and only cage-free eggs. Additionally, all Manifesto® chocolates are sustainably grown by farmers dedicated to protecting their land for future generations.

All of that luscious goodness has not gone unnoticed—by consumers or by the industry. We were thrilled to see our Manifesto® IW Cookies and Bars and Manifesto® Bake-Off Cookies both win 2017 Food and Beverage (FABI) Awards, which recognize innovative food and beverage products that make a significant impact in the restaurant industry.

But the real reward is seeing the look on a dessert lover’s face after that first bite into a Manifesto® cookie or bar. That’s when everyone fully appreciates the fact that wholesome and clean can still be filthy delicious.

Visit the Manifesto® product page to explore all of the decadent possibilities.

Just Beet It…

Our sugar silos are only filled with PURE CANE SUGAR…which is inherently non-gmo. But did you know that beet sugar is the most commonly used sugar commercially AND tops the list of most common genetically modified crops?

All sugar beets and sugar beet products are now genetically modified in the United States. Sugar beet farmers voted to adopt GMO beets as a unanimous decision, leaving no non-GMO beet options in the United States.  Most beets are grown in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  This decision impacts sugar, as well, since almost 50% of sugar in the United States comes from sugar beets.  We will all have to pay attention to labels and buy certified organic sugar and stay away from beets!

Source: (http://www.foodmatters.com/article/10-most-common-gmo-foods)

Pure Cane Sugar

One of Sweet Street’s R&D Chefs slowly pours Pure Cane Sugar into a batch of Manifesto Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Sugar beet is a plant whose root contains a high concentration of sucrose and which is grown commercially for sugar production.

In 2013, Russia, France, the United States, Germany, and Turkey were the world’s five largest sugar beet producers.[3] In 2010–2011, North America, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe did not produce enough sugar from sugar beets to meet overall demand for sugar and were all net importers of sugar.[4] The US harvested 1,004,600 acres (406,547 ha) of sugar beets in 2008.[5] In 2009, sugar beets accounted for 20% of the world’s sugar production.[6]

Source: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_beet)

Pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla

Madagascare Bourbon Vanilla LOGO

A proprietary formula was created for us in 2009 and is the most used flavoring in our bakery. Vanilla crops are endangered today due to pollination issues and our
flavoring partner supports our farmers with sustainability programs.

While “Bourbon” is most widely associated with the whiskey, this vanilla is alcohol-free. Grown on Madagascar, Réunion this vanilla is commonly known as “Bourbon vanilla” after the former name of Reunion, IIe Bourbon.

Bourbon vanilla beans from Madagascar are superior, with flavor and aromatic qualities that make Madagascar vanilla beans the most popular and sought after vanilla variety. We use a proprietary formula, developed by our team of R&D Chefs, of pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla throughout all of our bakery products, Photo showing Sweet Street Desserts and FABI 2017 Award LOGOincluding our award-winning Manifesto Cookies and Bars.

“ According to popular belief, the Totonac people, who inhabit the east coast of Mexico in the present-day state of Veracruz, were the first to cultivate vanilla. According to Totonac mythology, the tropical orchid was born when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. Where their blood touched the ground, the vine of the tropical orchid grew. In the 15th century, Aztecs invading from the central highlands of Mexico conquered the Totonacs, and soon developed a taste for the vanilla pods. They named the fruit tlilxochitl, or “black flower”, after the matured fruit, which shrivels and turns black shortly after it is picked. Subjugated by the Aztecs, the Totonacs paid tribute by sending vanilla fruit to the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan.

Photo pictures handwriting, drawing of the vanilla plant and description of its use.

Until the mid-19th century, Mexico was the chief producer of vanilla. In 1819, French entrepreneurs shipped vanilla fruits to the islands of Réunion and Mauritius in hopes of producing vanilla there. After Edmond Albius discovered how to pollinate the flowers quickly by hand, the pods began to thrive. Soon, the tropical orchids were sent from Réunion to the Comoros Islands, Seychelles, and Madagascar, along with instructions for pollinating them. By 1898, Madagascar, Réunion, and the Comoros Islands produced 200 metric tons of vanilla beans, about 80% of world production. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Indonesia is currently responsible for the vast majority of the world’s Bourbon vanilla production and 58% of the world total vanilla fruit production.”[1]



[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanilla

*main image of vanilla bean bunch is courtesy of vanillaqueen.com