Where do Flavors Come From?

Flavors come from all around us.  They come from fruits and vegetables, from spices, leaves, and trees.  Over many years, scientists have been able to identify flavoring substances from nature and from their own creations, and they’ve figured out which of these work together to create a familiar and great flavor sensation.

For example, did you know there are hundreds of natural substances in a strawberry that work together to create what we recognize as strawberry flavor?

Flavorists isolate these compounds to develop a strawberry flavor added to a breakfast Danish, a jar of jam, or your favorite strawberry ice cream. Or maybe they combine some of those substances in a powder form so consumers can add it to a glass of milk at home.  Some of the flavor substances in strawberries are also naturally found in other unexpected places, like trees and other plants.

The Role of the Flavorist

Flavorists are talented men and women who design new and exciting flavor combinations that you find in foods and beverages on store shelves and in your favorite restaurants.  They are part-chemist and part-artist, since they have a strong scientific background and a creative flair that allows them to imagine new ways we can experience flavors in both expected and unexpected ways.

When a food company decides it wants to introduce a new product to consumers—maybe a new low calorie snack, a new fruit drink, or a new tomato sauce—they often contact flavorists at companies that specialize in creating flavors, and they ask them to create a flavor that meets their requirements and will be appealing to the consumer.  The flavorist then designs a flavor experience that tries to meet the customer’s expectations.  Those expectations may require the flavor to only use vegetarian or vegan ingredients, for instance.  Maybe the flavor will be used in a product that adheres to religious restrictions and must be certified Kosher or Halal.  Flavorists have many years of experience and can create a virtually unlimited number of flavors that meet the requirements of their customers.

What creative ways can you imagine combining flavors and new products?

Avocado jalapeño candy?
How about bacon-flavored potato chips?