Flavours are often added to processed foods to restore or upgrade the taste lost during processing or simply to improve the taste.

To explain these terms you can vanilla, the most widely used flavour in our foods.

Natural flavour – If we add a particular substance which is taken from a natural product then it is called the natural flavouring. When vanillin is taken from the vanilla bean, then it is a natural flavouring substance. This must be obtained from a plant food or animal materials.

Nature identical flavour – Today our food chemists are in a position to analyse the substances which give the natural flavour of any food. This substance could be then made with different chemicals; so to say it is copied exactly. The product result is called nature identical flavour. You may enjoy your strawberry ice cream, but the taste may be only from chemicals. If the vanillin is made from chemicals it is not artificial, but is only a nature identical flavour.

Artificial flavour – The chemical structure of the natural flavour is found out and then modified according to the necessity the taste and flavour and this is called the artificial flavour. From vanillin they made ethylvanillin which is three to four times stronger than the normal vanillin. If you eat these strong flavours regularly you may not like the natural one.

It is clearly written on the label. We have to read it properly and buy only the products containing natural flavours if possible. In many developing and emerging countries nothing is written on the label and this is a big problem.