food tech, flavoring subsititutes, flavoring alternatives

Industry Focus: Flavoring Substitutes

In recent times, endless job opportunities and career paths have emerged in the flavoring substitutes industry. This comes as no surprise since the industry has experienced massive growth. This drastic shift can be attributed to the fact that technology has given us the power to extract or even create flavors in laboratories.

Instead of trying to find some rare plants or fruits, it has become easier and much cheaper for consumers to purchase flavoring substitutes. These flavors can either be artificial or natural.

Natural flavors are derived from nature as in the case of animals or plants. On the other hand, artificial flavors are made from synthetic ingredients. Natural flavors include flavor extracts, powders, and flavoring oils.

Why substitute flavoring for extract?

Artificial flavors are commonly known as flavorings. Although flavorings and extracts mostly have a similar flavor, some consumers prefer one option over the other. It has been established that most consumers generally dislike these artificial flavorings.

This is probably because consumers lean towards natural products in general, due to increased health awareness. This, however, does not mean that flavorings are better than their natural counterparts, the extracts.

According to Scientific American, apart from the origin of their ingredients, there is little difference between the two types of flavors. Both are created in laboratories by flavorists.  The main difference between the two types of flavors is that flavorings are simpler in composition and are therefore potentially safer.

According to Business Insider, another advantage that flavorings have over extracts is their lower price, thanks to the ease of acquiring the raw materials used to create them.

Additionally, these artificial flavorings undergo vigorous regulations, compared to their natural counterparts. Consequently, high standards of product safety are maintained.

food tech, flavoring, food tech jobs, flavorist

What is a suitable vanilla flavoring substitute for vanilla extract?

Vanilla is the most popular flavor in the world and is necessary for a large number of recipes. Unfortunately, pure vanilla extract is usually expensive as compared to its artificial counterparts. According to Serious Eats, this is due to the laborious cultivation process of the vanilla orchid.

Apart from vanilla extract, there are other natural forms of vanilla flavors, such as vanilla powder. The imitation vanilla flavoring is the most common substitute. It is, however, important to note that a taste test by Serious Eats established that in uncooked foods, the extract offers better intensity of flavor when compared to artificial flavoring.

Interestingly, when it comes to cooked or baked goods, there isn’t much difference in the intensity of flavors, regardless of the type of flavor used. It is up to the consumer to decide if the extract is worth the extra buck.

Another worthy substitute for vanilla extract is Castoreum which is a secretion from the anal glands and castor sacs of beavers.

What can you use as a butter flavoring substitute for baking?

Butter flavor is also a popular flavor, especially in baking. Most people prefer using butter flavoring substitutes in their recipes to avoid using too much butter. These substitutes include butter extract, butter powder, and artificial butter flavorings.

While butter extract and powdered butter may be made from natural butter, artificial butter flavorings are manufactured from diacetyl and acetoin.

Market research

A report by Zion Market Research estimates that the global flavor market will be worth approximately $15.60 billion by 2021. This value represents a massive growth from 2015 estimates when the market was worth around $11.50 billion. Thus an impressive CAGR of 7.5%.

This report divides the market according to type and application. The divisions according to type are natural and synthetic. On the other hand, segments according to their application are beverages, dairy, bakery, confectionery, savory & snacks, and others.

Some of the factors said to lead to the growth of this market include growing demand for fast foods, growing demand for flavors for the beverage industry and increased availability of raw materials. However, one of the hindrances to this growth is strict government regulations regarding flavors.

As of 2015, the natural flavors segment dominated the market with 50% of the market share. This segment is expected to continue to dominate due to increase in health awareness.

On the other hand, with regards to application, the beverage segment continues to dominate the market with a market share of 25%, as of 2015. This segment is expected to grow at a CAGR 10% during this forecast period. The growth is due to increased consumption of beverages.

It is important to note that the savory & snacks segments are expected to undergo some growth during this forecast period. In 2015, North America contributed 30% of this market, followed by Europe.

However, the Asia Pacific region is expected to experience growing demand for flavors to be used in sauces and seasonings. This is expected to increase its market share.

food tech, flavoring, food tech jobs, flavorist

Companies in this industry

Due to its exponential growth, many companies have been established in this industry. Here are a few that truly stand out.

  • Givaudan: This Swiss company dominates this industry. It was founded in 1895 and deals primarily in flavors and fragrances. It has subsidiaries all over Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific.
  • Symrise AG: This German company also deals with flavors and fragrances. It was founded in 2003 and has around 9000 employees.
  • Kerry Group plc: This food company is based in Ireland and is listed on the Dublin ISEQ and London stock exchanges. It produces sausages, dairy products, water, food ingredients, and flavors. This is however not all that it produces.
  • Wild Flavors: This Kentucky based company produces flavors, colors, and health conscious In 2014, it was taken over by the Archer Daniels Midland Company.

Job opportunities in the industry

There are several job opportunities in this industry. Here are a few.

Flavorist

Every flavoring substitutes company needs a flavorist. This job usually involves flavor innovation. To be successful in this field, you should have a bachelor’s degree in food science, life sciences, chemistry or chemical engineering.

Associate quality lab analyst

An associate quality lab analyst is an integral part of a company that makes flavoring substitutes. This job requires you to have an education in chemistry or a chemistry related subject.

Responsibilities associated with this position include being in charge of mentoring and training lab personnel.

RD & A senior technologist

A research, development and application senior technologist has many roles to play in a flavoring substitutes company. One of these roles is testing raw materials and flavors.

This position requires you to have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or food science.

University programs

Most people in this industry have some form of education in food science or chemistry based course. People in other professions such as engineering or accounting could be successful in this industry, but experience in the food industry surely provides a competitive advantage.

Here are a few programs you can pursue if you choose to join this industry.

Undergraduate programs

The University of British Columbia (Canada): Food Science, Nutrition & Health (BSc)

University of Surrey (United Kingdom): Nutrition and Food Science BSc (Hons)

University of Nottingham (United Kingdom): BSc (Hons) Food Science

Postgraduate Programs

University of Huddersfield (United Kingdom): MSc in Nutrition and Food Sciences

Doctoral programs

University of Minnesota (United States of America): Ph.D. in Food Science and Nutrition

Conclusion

Continued growth of the flavor substitutes industry due to factors such as increased popularity of beverages, has resulted in countless job opportunities. Additionally, this is an exciting field due to the new technologies and flavor formulas that come up daily.

If you are a dynamic person who loves working in a fast paced and innovative environment, this industry is for you. To find more career opportunities in this field, feel free to visit our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter.

Theresa Kern

Theresa Kern

Business Development at beta|careers
Theresa is a management student and team member of the 2017 class at beta|careers.

Her responsibilities include growing and nurturing our platforms and, occasionally, taking care of bus tickets for the team. In her free time, she can be found on horseback out in the woods.
Theresa Kern

Academia, Ecosystem Basics, Foodtech