‘Sustainable vanilla is a hot topic’: Bell innovation meets vanilla challenge

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Bell innovates with vanilla natural vanilla flavouring ©iStock/ValentynVolkov
Bell innovates with vanilla natural vanilla flavouring ©iStock/ValentynVolkov
Sourcing vanilla is a significant challenge for food makers. FoodNavigator speaks to flavours group Bell Flavors and Fragrances about the problems in the market and the launch of its new line of "authentic vanilla solutions".

The vanilla market continues to be overshadowed by price volatility and supply constraints. Sourcing vanilla as a raw material has become increasingly problematic due to the effects of poor weather conditions which hit the 2017 harvest and an imbalance of supply and demand.

This situation is likely to persist, according to Pui-Yin Tao, marketing specialist sweet and dairy at Bell Flavors and Fragrances.

“Finding a sustainable source for vanilla is definitely a hot topic - not just in the future, but already now,”​ Tao explained. “Vanilla as a raw material has become very volatile. Looking at the future, the industry will continue to have difficulties in sourcing Bourbon Vanilla, as the quantities produced in Madagascar are limited. The global demand exceeds the amount that is produced, which leads to a need for sustainable, natural alternatives.”

Bell launches ‘authentic’ vanilla solution

In an attempt to meet the market demand for vanilla, Bell is introducing what it describes as an “authentic​” vanilla solution.

Bell’s range of natural vanilla flavouring profiles allow for adjustments in product formulations without compromising on taste, the botanical extract specialist said.

The ingredient represents sustainable and cost-effective alternatives to all who are struggling to compensate the current price for Bourbon Vanilla or face challenges in souring high-quality raw material. Significantly, the company stressed, it is also a “reliable​” source of vanilla flavour.

The launch is targeting Europe, where the company believes manufacturers are facing a particularly difficult vanilla supply situation. “Our focus markets for this kind of range are the ones in Western Europe, as manufacturers here are facing challenging situations when it comes to availability, price and quality of vanilla, while maintaining the natural declaration and status, as well as the taste characteristic is of great importance for them.”

Natural and clean label proposition

Bell’s new range of vanilla flavourings and extracts are natural, the company noted.

Under European legislation, 'natural flavouring' is a regulatory term defined in the Flavouring Regulation (EC) No 1334/200. Natural flavouring substances are naturally present and have been identified in nature. They are obtained by appropriate physical or enzymatic processes from material of natural (vegetable, animal or microbiological) origin.

“During the creation process of our vanilla flavourings, our flavourists have combined these substances with their expertise and creativity in order to present a functional solution to the market. Our vanilla profiles therefore do not only enhance and mimic the vanilla taste, but are especially designed to substitute Bourbon Vanilla Extract within product formulations, as they also have a positive impact on the mouthfeel. The taste profile therefore delivers the authentic characteristics of Bourbon Vanilla in terms of characteristic, sweet, and rich notes,”​ Tao revealed. 

Tao also said that they can be included into "any" ​clean label product. "The raw materials used in our developments are all from natural origin and therefore fully in line with today’s consumer expectations for clean label products.”

Depending on the specific ingredient selected, declarations on pack include: natural vanilla flavouring, natural vanilla flavouring with other natural flavourings; natural flavourings and bourbon vanilla extract or natural flavouring.

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