I am Strawberry

strawberry clip art

By labeling a person in a single category you leave nothing more for them to be. In order to streamline processes, though, managers label and categorize flavor chemists. Depending on the situation, I've been labeled: natural color expert, savory flavor chemist, sweet flavor chemist, natural flavorist, beverage flavorist, mint flavorist, safety expert and food applications chemist. These are  the positive labels that I've been given; the negative labels were considered, but eventually blocked out. The most lasting label I've had is "strawberry". Strawberry is one of the top ten flavors for yogurt. It is the second favorite flavor for yogurt after vanilla. (Euromonitor 2007, top 10 flavored yogurts). Strawberry flavor is also popular … [Read more...]

Methyl salicylate, Artificial Wintergreen oil (FEMA 2745)

methyl salicylate

A standard lab experiment in organic chemistry is to convert aspirin(acetylsalicylic acid) to Methyl salicylate. Methyl salicylate is an ester which smells sweet, is strong, is approved for use in food and is the characterizing flavor of wintergreen. Wintergreen flavor is very popular in the United States. Countries like Japan and Italy think it's most suitable for cleaning bathrooms, but not for eating. Personally, Wintergreen is one of my favorite flavors. It not only adds cool minty flavor, it adds sweetness. You can taste wintergreen in toothpastes, candies, gums, rootbeer, and bubble gum. Yes, that's right, root beer.  Try a swig of rootbeer;  doesn't it taste a little like wintergreen?  Rootbeer also has vanilla, ginger, … [Read more...]

Orange Essential Oil

orange tree

The most popular beverage flavor in the United States is orange. Although consumption of orange juice has declined in recent years, Americans are reported to have consumed 715,775 metric tons of orange juice in 2011.(http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=us&commodity=orange-juice&graph=domestic-consumption)  That's a lot of juice!  Oranges are primarily grown in Florida, California and Brazil and they are processed for their juice. So what happens to the peels? Peels are further processed to isolate orange essential oil. Basically, the oil is squeezed out of the peel. Orange oil consists of limonene (~90%), geraniol (~5%), decanal (~3%), ocatanal (~3%) and myrcene (~2%). Other components included alpha and beta … [Read more...]

Flavors, oh how I love thee….

Essential oil with orange peel

Much like stashing a box of love letters from an old boyfriend, I have kept a box of essential oils and aroma chemical bottles. These small bottles contain the aromas that I need to create perfumes for foods. Like any true love affair, I'm filled with mixed emotions as I contemplate whether I open the box again or throw it out. For many years, formulating flavors was a dream job. Once one acquires the basic knowledge of materials and the confidence of a creative, one can blend the scent of about every flavor imaginable. Never was there a dull moment in such a job where trends ruled the industry. One day Peach Mango was popular and the next Asian Pear Green Tea Mint was at the top of the list. It is not an easy job to re-create entire … [Read more...]

My Agricultural Roots

My childhood; family's barn & holsteins

Farmers paid my way through college. I majored in Food Science at UC Davis and finished with no student loans. Food Science is an agricultural study. Associations like Tri-Valley growers, Women in Agriculture and National Food Processors gave me scholarships to pay for school. Food is grown, gathered or raised. I have struggled with my background. It was embarrassing in junior high to have chores like cleaning the chicken cage and composting the garden while other kids went to the mall and on vacations. Nine years of 4-H taught me that it is much easier to buy jam than make it. Three years working at an orchard for "farm wages" motivated me to find easier work for higher wages. Orchard work is uncomfortable, hot and requires long hours … [Read more...]

Changes

Posioned

My husband would not watch Steel Magnolias or the Notebook with me. He tried his best to watch a few scenes, but eventually retreated to the computer room and came out for a snack towards the end of these movies. When he saw me bawling my eyes out, he asked "is the movie good?", to which I quietly replied "yes". His response was head shake and a nod in disbelief. The book Poisoned had a similar effect on me as the movies. I found myself crying as I read  it. Again, my husband queried, "do you like that book?". My answer was yes. When I shared some of the details about the children in hospitals dying from food poisoning, he replied "doesn't sound good". Poisoned, by Jeff Benedict," The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That … [Read more...]

Erin’s Jalapeño White Cheddar Popcorn, flavor review

erins jalapeno popcorn

Jalapeño brings in 2013 with a bang!  Erin's all natural Jalapeño White Cheddar Popcorn is amazing. Once I got over my fear that this popcorn would set my mouth ablaze, I ate over half the bag. Did I already kill my new year's resolution to eat healthier? Not so much: Erin's is high in fiber and "about half the bag" is merely 300 cal. Whew! Erin's also advertises on the back panel that their popcorn is a great choice for healthy snacking. Erin's is manufactured by the same company that makes Tim's potato chips. Tim's offers a jalapeño flavor as well, but I've never been brave enough to try it. I'm a whimp when it comes to hot food. Jalapeño and white cheddar are the perfect combination. The flavor reminds me of really good nachos. … [Read more...]

Reflections on 2012 and looking forward to 2013

refreshersingredients

As we approach the end of 2012, it is time to reflect on the past year of flavorscientist.  The searched terms that brought readers to www.flavorscientist.com include the following: Chobani nutritional value (over 8,000 searches) Starbucks Refreshers ingredients (over 2,400 searches) are Belvita biscuits good for you (over 1400 searches) is Sobe Coconut water good for you (over 450 searches) how much caffeine in Starbucks Refreshers (over 300 searches) We want to know what is in the food we buy and how it affects our body. The term used in the food industry is transparency. How our food is grown, produced, developed and marketed is not information that the food industry is always willing to share. The industry is … [Read more...]

Neuro®Sun Non Carbonated Nutritional Supplement

neurosun front

What's your first thought when you see the Neuro bottle? Mine is shampoo. The price is similar to shampoo as well: $2.39/bottle. For the price tag, you'll get a pinacolada flavored beverage, a fun bottle with a "shot glass" topper and 1000IU of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it is produced by the body in response to sunlight. Lack of Vitamin D causes rickets (results in skeletal deformities) and has been implemented in multiple sclerosis, hypertension, depression, and diabetes. Legally,a food or  beverage item sold in the United States needs FDA approval for generalized health claims. The FDA, however, allows nutritional supplements to have generalized health benefit claims. … [Read more...]

Safety, Hunger and Our Children

Hungry Children

Last week, I anxiously checked my email waiting the response of my professor on my Food Safety Toxicology final paper. It was a paper discussing toxicology issues related to 4-Methylimidazole (found in caramel color) and  I worked very hard on this paper. Toxicology is a difficult class, but the amount of knowledge I gained was more than worth it. I opened an email from my professor to learn I received a perfect score and an A in the class, only to see another email from the school district my children attend. The email from the school district mentioned a school shooting. I logged into nbcnews.com to learn more about the shooting. When I read the details of the shooting ;"a kindergarten teacher and 18 children dead", I broke … [Read more...]