Borregaard plays up lignin-vanillin CO2 developments

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

A supplier of lignin-derived vanillin claims that its processes for sourcing and producing the ingredient can dramatically reduced the carbon footprint compared to sourcing from some mineral oils, according to recent testing.

Pointing to an independently verified study of its operations, Borregaard said that its EuroVanillin Supreme product had been found to reduce carbon dioxide​(CO2) emissions by about 90 per cent compared to products derived from the phenol guaiacol.

Vanillin is used throughout the food, beverage and cosmetics industries to produce flavour and fragrance as a substitute for vanilla.


Thomas Marwedel, a business director of Aroma Chemicals at Borregaard, told that the findings, which were based on information supplied by the company, suggested lignin could potentially provide a sustainable substitute to more natural products.

The company estimates that in order accommodate natural vanillin production, vanilla bean fields that roughly amounted to the entire surface of Belgium would be required.

Marwedel said that lower CO2 emissions were one means that ingredients groups could take in a bid to ensure longevity in the supply chain for certain products.

This is also important with respect to the discussion around ‘natural’ raw materials,”​ he stated. “Since nature will not be able to supply the markets with for example enough vanilla, we need alternatives that might even be better in terms of sustainability.”

Borregaard, which has been producing vanillin since the 1960s, said that the testing was part of wider research into the CO2 emissions of all its ingredients produced at its bio refinery. The analysis was conducted by the Norway-based Ostfold Research foundation.

The company said that it then compared data from its factory in Sarpsbourg, Norway, where it had been also producing vanillin from guaiacol until 2003 as a reference point for other production techniques.

Guaiacol is used to produce ​vanillin ex-guaiacol, while the other phenol guethol can supply ethylvanillin, added the company.

Borregaard claims to offer a complete range of vanillin products that can be used for various applications. These products are sourced from ethyl vanillin, vanillin from guaiacol, natural vanillin from fermentation, blends and also GMP vanillin.


Marwedel claimed that the differences found between the footprint of different vanillin sources related to Borregaard’s integrated process methods used at the bio refinery. These include its method for making full use of raw materials like spruce trees in the product.

The company is not alone though in trying to play up greater sustainability for production of ingredients such as vanillin.

Last year, Symrise’s innovation chief said sustainability should be a primary consideration for any new ingredient development.

Addressing attendees at Food & Drink – The Innovation Summit​ in Prague last September, Dr Claus Oliver Schmidt, senior VP of global innovation for flavour and nutrition, outlined some new, sustainability-driven developments his company were rolling out to prove the point.

He told at the time that sustainability has become an increasingly important topic over the last two years, and a much broader slice of the population see it as important.

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