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Artificial flavours

Some natural flavours are simply not available in quantities large enough to fulfil world demand, so science has overcome the problem as far as possible by using copy-cat techniques.

While it is commendable to seek out natural products if you can afford them, there will never be enough of some things for everyone.

To illustrate the point, if the whole annual United States strawberry crop were to be turned into natural flavouring for all the strawberry desserts, sweets and drinks consumed, there would be enough to satisfy the needs of a city of about one million people!

Flavour technicians have, fortunately, been able to reproduce strawberry flavouring with such chemicals as ethyl methylphenyl glycidate, benzyl valerate, ethyl malonate and benzyl acetate.

Natural grape flavour has been isolated to nineteen natural chemicals, but a synthetic grape flavour acceptable to children at least is made up from just five of them.

Favourite chemical flavourings:

Benzaldehyde in almond, cherry, coconut and peach flavours.

Caproic acid in cheese flavouring

Decyl aldehyde in orange flavouring

Ethyl acetate in artificial apple, banana, mint, pineapple and strawberry flavours.

Ethyl butyrate in blueberry and pineapple flavours.

Isomyl acetate in caramel, raspberry and strawberry flavours.

Methyl salicylate in grape, mint and walnut flavours

If all this put you off food a little, it"s worth studying labels carefully and buy carefully to avoid chemicals.

Iceland Supermarket have pledged not to include any artificial colours or flavourings as well as no GM sourced materials in any of their own-label products.

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