The Not-so-Natural Truth of “Natural Flavors”

All of these contain "Natural Flavors"
All of these contain “Natural Flavors”

Are you one who reads the back side of food products to see what’s in it — the Ingredients list? How many times have you seen the word Natural Flavor(s) on the list? Try me: look at the next 3 packaged food/drink products you see, I’ll bet you’ll see “Natural Flavor” on the back.

One would assume that because it’s in natural health food store and it says Natural Flavors, that it must be good for you — it’s natural right? Sure, but then again so is a beaver’s ass — which is technically defined as Natural Flavors and it can be found all your favorite vanilla and strawberry products on the shelf.

The Chemical Cocktails in Natural Flavors (Beaver’s Ass)

More than half of all food sold in the America is produced by only 4 companies and these companies aren’t worried about your health, they’re public companies focused on making their investors happy. So why would anyone trust what they consider to be natural or even good for you? These companies spend over a billion dollars on synthetic flavors and fragrances to make you addicted (rather trick you) to their products so you would eat more and more, then buy more and more. Even MSG can now use the Natural Flavor label in disguise — Don’t be fooled by their front labels, always read the back.

Just because it says natural, it’s not what you think.
For example, most strawberry and vanilla “Natural Flavors” don’t come from strawberries or even a vanilla bean, it’s from a gland found in a beaver’s ass — that’s right, barf. But, it can be labeled as Natural Flavors being that a beaver’s ass can be found in nature.

Watch this 60 minutes interview with Givaudan  A Swiss manufacture of synthetic flavorings and fragrances for the food and beverage industries. As old as Morley Safer might look, he’s sharp as a tack and hilarious. If you want to jump right to the Natural Flavors + Strawberry = Beaver’s Ass segment, jump to 5:00 mins in the video below:

Just for fun, watch this video from the Food Babe: Do You Eat Beaver Butt?

Natural Flavors Hijack your Brain
Have you ever wanted a few chips for a snack, only to look at the bottom of the bag and realize there’s none left? Natural Flavors have been engineered to trick your mind into wanting more and more, that is why these companies use it. Even Dr. David Kessler, former head of the FDA, calls Natural Flavors a “Food Carnival” in your mouth. I recommend that when you see ANY product that contains “Natural Flavor” to put it back on the shelf. 

People Want the Truth

Now-a-days in America, the term “All Natural” has completely gone out of control, it’s showing up on everything from ketchup to chips. But America is starting to wake up, the truth is: People don’t want to be lied to and they don’t like this false labeling food companies are doing, they are standing up to food companies.

Recently, Naked Juice (A PespiCo company) paid $9,000,000 to a class action lawsuit back to consumers who alleged the juices and smoothies couldn’t be called natural and GMO-free, forcing Naked Juice to remove “All Natural” from its label and pay up, including you if you have had one of their juices. (More about the settlement and forms here.)

Other major brands like Kashi, Ben & Jerry’s, and Skinny Girl immediately followed and changed their labels as well.

What’s a Man with some Jam to do?

At the end of the day, if you want to share amazing food with amazing people, it has to be somewhat shelf stable. I’m not saying that you have to add a lot of things to your product, more so, that you have to be a little creative. Especially for new food entrepreneurs (like me) who don’t have millions to pay the best natural food sciences in the world. It’s a lot easier to listen to the first food scientist that says to add sodium benzoate and it will last forever — it’s a lot harder to find the natural approach. You have to be creative and explore your options, it takes a ton of research, and a ton of experimenting — that’s all there is to it. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way.

Here’s a list of interesting natural preservatives I’ve discovered:

  • Vinegar — My all-time favorite, it’s cheap, preserves the shelf life of your product, adds a punch to the pallet, and several styles and options: Red wine, apple cider, balsamic, rice, champaign, sherry, etc.
  • Lemon juice — Don’t use the ReaLemon juice (photo) as it actually has nothing real about it — get 100% pure lemon juice, pasteurized preferred for safety.
  • Lime juice
  • Citric acid — A sharp-tasting crystalline acid present in the juice of lemons and other sour fruits. It is made commercially by the fermentation of sugar and can be used for flavoring, emulsion, anti oxidation , and as a preservative.
  • Orange juice
  • Sea salt
  • Real sugar — The best natural sugars are: honey, cane sugar, and maple sugar — the rest are highly processed.
  • Green tea extract — Surprising.
  • Tea tree oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Rosemary oil/extract — Packs a strong flavor profile, but does the job.
  • Oregano oil
  • Mustard seeds
  • Sodium Citrate — Although this isn’t exactly picked from nature, it is a more natural preservative (like a super salt) that is accepted by Whole Foods and Fresh Market stores and doesn’t alter the flavor — although you should reduce the salt (if added) to have a balance. And by putting too much will cause your bottles to explode like a science project gone bad, don’t laugh, it happened to me. Over 300 bottles of salad dressing shot up like champagne.

I believe big companies are going down and the smaller artisan craft companies will rise in the future. The big guys spend billions trying to simulate the artificial taste, where as, the little guys are proud to make something natural and good for your health. I’m a father of two and I want to be proud of what I put on the dinner table for my family, especially if I manufacture it.

2 thoughts on “The Not-so-Natural Truth of “Natural Flavors””

  1. Great info! Stumbled across you while searching for info on xanthan gum!! Will for sure keep an eye on you’re blog! You need a Pinterest link!!!

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