Case ExampleTaste Watch June 2011

Taste Watch is a condensed one page length report with colorful graphs and charts focusing on various food/beverage categories. The report provides alternate view regarding taste and examples of how to use analyzed taste data.

Instant Noodle

Ever since the invention of instant noodle, making a meal has never been easier. Now people all over the world simply fills it up with hot water for a quick meal. Variety of flavor has also increased to meet local preference. Shrimp flavor has been one of the most popular flavors and now arranged shrimp flavors are available in the U.S. market.

Introduction

There are several originally arranged flavored instant noodle in the U.S. market. The flavor in the spotlight in this report is shrimp based flavor that has more spicy flavoring than regular instant noodle. Cup Noodle from Nissin Foods has "Shrimp Picante Style." Another one is Instant Lunch from Maruchan (Toyo Suisan) has "Lime Chili flavor with Shrimp." Cup Noodle by Nissin Foods in original flavor from Japan, which is shrimp flavor, is used as a standard reference.

Shrimp Picante and LIme Chilli

Figures below are taste radar charts for each product, which includes 5 taste types: saltiness, bitterness/food (fore/aftertaste) and umami (fore/aftertaste) as taste axes. According to the figures, each flavor shows its distinct character in foretaste than aftertaste. Tastes with most difference in foretastes are saltiness, bitterness/food, and umami. Aftertaste is almost the same strength for all three products. While regular shrimp flavor has strong umami and saltiness, as seen in the circled area in red, the U.S. style has more strength in bitterness/food, as seen within the green circles. The bitterness/food is felt from various additional spices (excluding hotness) used for extra flavoring.

Cup Noodle in original flavor puts emphasis on umami (foretaste) and saltiness for straightforward taste. It has low bitterness/food (foretaste), which creates gentle taste. With the exception of saltiness, the original flavor has balanced taste strength overall for well rounded noodle.

Cup Noodle in "Shrimp Picante Style" has less saltiness and slightly lower umami compared to the original flavor. Although it has strong bitterness/food, right amount of umami softens spiciness and adds richness to the noodle.

Instant Lunch in "Lime Chili flavoring with Shrimp," on the other hand, has very low strength in foretaste in both saltiness and umami. Bitterness/food (foretaste), however, is strongest out of the three products, making strong impact in its taste. Although not shown on the chart, this product additionally has strong sourness to recreate the zest by lime, as the name of the flavoring indicates. This puts strong taste character to the products as sour and spicy noodle compared to regular noodle.

Today, various flavors of instant noodle are available worldwide. Since these flavor is influenced by local preference, it is one of the food categories to keep an eye on.