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Uniko is an Excel spreadsheet calculator that estimates the umami intensity found in dishes, giving you the power to approximate how savory a recipe or formulation is going to be before you even cook it.


For a stylized Figma mock-up of the app, click here.


Umami is the category of taste that corresponds to savoriness. In Japanese, the term translates to the characteristic meatiness or brothiness found in many foods, such as certain meats, fish, seafood, mushrooms, herbs, and cooked vegetables.

I always wanted to know the precise amount of 'umami' or savoriness found in my food. My curious journey began in graduate school when I began reading research papers on the quantitative nature of umami. Japanese researchers had mapped out many of the numerical values and relationships associated with umami, and I was surprised to see so much data produced from this one particular taste.

I had all of these equations collected over the years, which I used to do some rudimentary calculations for fun. I had been meaning to put together some kind of calculator to speed up the process and not have to manually calculate each time. After putting off the side project for the past three years, I finally sat down one weekend and finished off a draft spreadsheet that does the calculations for you.

I call the calculator "Uniko" = umami (savory taste) + niku (meat) + niko (benevolence).


  1. Under the "Dashboard" tab, click the input box underneath "Ingredients".

  2. Type in your ingredient. Choose over 250 different options found under the "Inputs" tab. Hint: If you can't find the ingredient, type "Other".

  3. Click the dropdown button to the right of the input box. Select the ingredient.

  4. Click the input box underneath "Units", next to "Weight" or "Volume.

  5. Type the units of weight or volume of the ingredient. Hint: Options for units are found in the "Inputs" tab.

  6. Click the dropdown button to the right of the input box. Select the unit of weight or volume.

  7. Click the input box underneath "Weight" or "Volume". Type the amount.

  8. Repeat for all other ingredients.

  9. The calculator will give you the "Total Umami Intensity" in the cell on the bottom right, as well as the individual "Umami Contributions" from each ingredient.

Note: Umami is not strictly additive. The concentration of different umami potentiators affects one another non-linearly, so synergies can occur where two ingredients combined contribute much more umami intensity than a single ingredient alone.

See the "References" tab for more details.

Current Approximations:

  • All water content in the food ingredients contributes to solubilizing umami solutes.

  • Other taste potentiators, including salts and sugars, have no impact on umami solute perception.

  • Concentration remains constant during cooking.

  • Cooking does not modify umami solutes through Maillard reactions.

  • Umami intensity remains constant regardless of temperature.

Revisions Log:

v.1.0.3. (1/17/2024) - Modified UI design for Inputs and Reference tabs. Hide Raw Data tab. Added tomato varietals, flesh, and pulp as ingredients.

v.1.0.2. (1/16/2024) - Added spirulina as ingredient.

v.1.0.1. (1/15/024) - Removed excess tabs. Organized Inputs tab by ingredient category.

Get in Touch

11713 169th St Ct E

Puyallup, Washington, 98374

United States of America

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