JUL 01, 2018 10:38 PM PDT

What is The Difference Between Natural and Artificial Flavorings?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

What is the difference between natural and artificial flavors? The source!

Naturally or artificially flavored foods are almost always chemically identical, however, they only differ from the source.

In the US, artificial and natural flavors are defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the term “flavors” is defined by the ingredients in the foods regardless of nutritional value. So, the FDA considers a food flavoring to be “natural” if it comes from a plant or an animal and if not then it is “artificially” flavored.

For example, the main component of vanilla ice cream is vanilla and the sweet taste to vanilla is due to a chemical compound that is known as vanillin. Vanillin can be naturally extracted from the vanilla bean plant making the vanilla ice cream “naturally flavored”. On the other hand, vanillin can be chemically derived from the lab using synthetic methods and thus making the vanilla ice cream “artificially flavored”.

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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