What are artificial flavourings?
Artiﬁcial ﬂavourings are used to improve the taste of food or to chemically re-create a ﬂavour that cannot be achieved through conventional production. Artiﬁcial ﬂavours can be produced cheaper than their natural counterparts and they can also be so concentrated that much less of them is required to generate the same taste, making them very cost-effective.
To chemically re-create the taste of a naturally occurring ﬂavour, specialist ﬂavour chefs ﬁrst obtain the essential chemicals from the foodstuff they’re trying to emulate. These chemicals are leeched out of the food through either boiling, roasting or some other reﬁning process. This leaves a concentrate (the natural ﬂavouring), which can be further vaporised or liqueﬁed to obtain an even more concentrated version.
By looking at the substance through a chromatograph (an instrument that enables the separation of complex mixtures) ﬂavour scientists can establish how the molecules in the concentrate are arranged, and then replicate the chemicals to create a man-made equivalent of the original ﬂavour. Differing combinations of the same molecules can lead to a whole host of different ﬂavours.