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Not to be confused with vanilla extract/essence, which is a naturalproduct. This is a synthetic vanillin (4-hydroxy-3 methoxybenzaldehyde)which is derived from phenol - a white crystalline compound. This isextracted from conifer trees, and is 20 times cheaper than naturalvanilla.
Although lacking the character of the natural product, it's very necessary. The total world production of natural vanilla would be insufficient to even satisfy the U.S.A. ice cream market.