Consumers are compelled to read labels and are stumped when they see descriptions that say, “Made from natural flavors.”

That term is so vague to consumers. What exactly is a real, natural flavor and what makes a flavor artificial? That’s a bit tricky!

According to David Andrews, Senior Scientist at the Environmental Working Group, “natural flavor” is listed on labels in more than a fifth of the 80,000 foods the organization rates. The food’s source, he notes, is key to understanding the correct classification.

Natural flavors must originate from a plant or animal, while artificial flavors are manufactured in labs. The FDA defines artificial flavor or artificial flavoring as any substance, the function of which is to imitate flavor that is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermented products. Most importantly, the use of artificial flavors is solely for flavoring and not for nutrition.

Why do some juices or healthier foods need extra flavor? There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the way these foods are made. The process by which some products are pasteurized or processed sometimes adversely impacts the fresh taste and scent. This is why you’ll see labeling on some juices stating that additional flavor has been added. Manufacturers want the product to have a distinctive yet pleasing flavor and the perfect scent, so that the food item will capture consumers’ flavor preferences and entice them to purchase it again. Think about when you buy a pack of fruit gum: The flavor is so concentrated but so short lived, so you need another piece that keeps you wanting more.

Consumers are looking for products that are healthy, natural, organic and all-around healthier. It’s clear that the best products need the best flavors and consumers need to feel confident about buying a product that is good for their family, too.

Artiste offers a variety of ingredients and flavors, many of which are natural and organic, for developers to work with in their newest food and beverage creations. Reach out to Artiste and explore what we have to offer, plus the many diversified and efficient services we provide. E-mail Artiste at  info@artiste.us.com.

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