Flavors: natural, artificial, nature-identical or pure?

Not for long, then come the first domestic strawberries on the market. Even the thought of its juicy-sweet taste makes our mouth water. Strawberry is also the preferred flavor of fruit yoghurts. Only the full aroma of the fruit is not much left. What gives a food its aroma? Which flavorings are used in industrial production? And how can the consumer recognize this?

What are flavors?

For the chemist, aromas are volatile chemical compounds that usually occur in tiny amounts and still give a food its unmistakable character. If certain industrial products lack flavorings and flavors, we would find the food dull.

In nature, about 5, 000 flavors have been identified to date. Many foods naturally contain several hundred different aromatic substances. In coffee, for example, there are about 700.

Flavorings in food

The fact that isolated flavorings are added to many processed foods may be due to a number of reasons:

  • Flavors lost in food processing are to be replaced.
  • It should be offered many different flavors, especially in finished products, snacks, sugar confectionery, ice cream and sodas.
  • Dietetic foods such as calorie-reduced products are said to taste as good as their "normal" counterparts.
  • The (branded) product should always have the same quality and the same taste, regardless of the batch.

Flavors enhance the taste experience

As a rule, flavors are dosed in foods in a ratio of 1: 1000. In many finished products and due to the nature of the production, their use is often unavoidable, because with the ingredients alone, the desired taste experience can not be achieved.

For example, fruit yoghurt: as aromatic fresh strawberries also taste - even a share of 15 percent in yoghurt does not taste very intense, because the taste suffers from pasteurization and storage. Here, natural flavors are used to achieve a better flavor. For other products, the flavors replace the ingredient completely.

How much nature is in it?

The flavor regulation distinguishes different types of flavorings. The most important are natural, nature identical and artificial flavors:

  1. For natural flavors, the starting material must be of plant or animal origin. With physical or biological processes, for example, the vanilla flavor is extracted from the vanilla bean.
  2. Nature-identical flavors are produced synthetically and are identical in their chemical structure with the natural flavor. An example is vanillin. Nature-identical aromas are often composed of several individual substances and are particularly intense in flavor.
  3. Artificial flavorings are odors or flavorings that are obtained by chemical synthesis but are not found in nature, such as ethyl vanillin. In Germany, only 18 artificial flavors are permitted, for example for roasters, puddings, baked goods and sugar confectionery.

If aroma is on it

The indication "Aroma" in the list of ingredients indicates nature-identical or artificial aromas. When labeling "natural flavor", the flavor must be exclusively natural. A natural flavor that tastes of raspberries, for example, is made from cedar in most cases. Only a more specific description such as "strawberry flavor", the aroma must come from strawberries.

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