Smell flavorants, or simply, flavorants, are engineered and composed in similar ways as with industrial fragrances and fine perfumes. To produce natural flavors, the flavorant must first be extracted from the source substance. The methods of extraction can involve solvent extraction, distillation, or using force to squeeze it out. The extracts are then usually further purified and subsequently added to food products to flavor them. To begin producing artificial flavors, flavor manufacturers must either find out the individual naturally occurring aroma chemicals and mix them appropriately to produce a desired flavor or create a novel non-toxic artificial compound that gives a specific flavor.
Most artificial flavors are specific and often complex mixtures of singular naturally occurring flavor compounds combined together to either imitate or enhance a natural flavor. These mixtures are formulated by flavorist to give a food product a unique flavor and to maintain flavor consistency between different product batches or after recipe changes. The list of known flavoring agents includes thousands of molecular compounds, and the flavor chemist (flavorist) can often mix these together to produce many of the common flavors. Many flavorants are esters.
|Ethyl- (E, Z)-2,4-decadienoate||Pear|
|Ethyl maltol||Sugar, Cotton candy|
The compounds used to produce artificial flavors are almost identical to those that occur naturally, and a natural origin for a substance does not necessarily imply that it is safe to consume. In fact, artificial flavors are considered somewhat safer to consume than natural flavors due to the standards of purity and mixture consistency that are enforced either by the company or by law. Natural flavors in contrast may contain toxins from their sources while artificial flavors are typically more pure and are required to undergo more testing before being sold for consumption.
Flavors from food products are usually the result of a combination of natural flavors, which set up the basic smell profile of a food product while artificial flavors modify the smell to accent it.