The New Science of Taste: 1,000 Banana Flavors
Synergy Flavors, an Illinois company that makes ingredients for ice cream, yogurt and other products, says its flavoring formulas currently number about 80,000, up sharply from around 13,000 in 2002. It has about 1,000 banana flavors alone, ranging from “green banana” to “banana foster.”
Many are noncontroversial like the tropical flavoring mangosteen distillate, but others have prompted a backlash, like the sweetener aspartame, which critics say could be carcinogenic, and castoreum, an anal excretion from beavers that gives foods a musky taste and was traditionally added to vanilla flavoring, repulsing some consumers.
Coupled with lack of regulation for “natural” label on foods, sounds like consumers have reason to be extra cautious when reading labels, especially for exotic-sounding flavored foods. Do they actually contain the ingredient or an engineered essence?