Using Organic and Natural Flavors to Enhance
By Grace Venus
Think about the average day of an organic onsumer: Get up early, feed the kids a good healthy fresh breakfast, pack a
lunch of leftovers, pick up local vegetables at
the farmers market and cook a healthy family
meal. Sure…sounds great.
But what about those times when you rush
to work and grab a protein bar from the cupboard, have five minutes to quickly eat a
frozen burrito for lunch? In your best effort
to get a tasty, healthy and affordable dinner to
your family, you whip up some jarred pasta
sauce, serve it over dried pasta and throw together a salad with a dressing pulled from the
People eat processed foods—even the
most dedicated organic consumers. It is
nearly impossible with the speed at which the
world moves to avoid eating processed foods.
The modern healthy person demands
processed products she can feel good about
eating and drinking.
While many organic companies are leery
of using the word “processed,” many products
on the shelves of natural food stores can be
considered processed. Often this means the
product has been pasteurized, frozen or
cooked in an industrial oven.
Product developers in the natural food industry are thus faced with a difficult task: develop consistent food with extended shelf life,
lasting flavor and an appetizing appearance
every time it is produced and consumed without using artificial preservatives, colorants,
high sugar or high sodium used in conventional processed products.
One of the best solutions is the use of or-
ganic and natural flavors, which enhance
taste, provide consistency and reduce the cost
of products. This article will attempt to define
natural and organic flavors, explore different
reasons for using flavors, discuss which flavors
are available and offer insight into working
with flavors to produce the best product
Organic and Natural Flavors 101
A typical natural or organic flavor consists
of an essential oil, a naturally derived aromatic molecule, a juice concentrate, an acidifier and a solvent that is a carrier for all of the
above. The most typical carrier is alcohol.
The flavor-making process and the regulations surrounding it own enough verbiage for
several articles; however, the most important
concept to understand is that the National
Organic Program (NOP) Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR) 205.605A does not allow
for the use of synthetic substances in flavors.
Non-synthetic flavors authorized under the
NOP, Section 205.605 (a)( 9) must be from non-synthetic sources only and must not be produced using synthetic solvents, carrier systems
or any artificial preservatives.
In addition, Sections 205.105 (e)(f)(g)
respectively prohibit so-called “excluded” methods (GMOs), ionizing radiation or sewage
sludge, defined in 205.2, from being applied to
any ingredients or products under the NOP.
As an example, an organic or natural flavor would usually consist of:
• 70 percent alcohol
• 15 percent water
• 10 percent juice concentrate
• 1 percent citric acid (organic allowable)
• 1 percent essential oil of the named flavor
With certified organic flavors, the flavor
product must consist of 95 percent organic in-