“A Multibillion Dollar Industry….Cloaked in Secrecy”


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This past Sunday 60 Minutes aired a segment entitled “The Flavorists”.  The segment focused on what Morley Safer described as, “a multi-billion dollar industry….cloaked in secrecy”.

He’s talking about the food flavoring industry.  An industry responsible for providing food manufacturers with chemical additives to make food taste better.

Safer: “The flavor industry is the enabler of the food processing business.”

Improving on Nature

The segment begins with employees of the company Givaudan strolling through an orchard in search of new flavors they can replicate, and improve, in the lab.  A senior associate describes the goal as finding an addictive flavor consumers want to eat again and again.  Repeat buyers are good for business.

Naturally, the notion of food additives causing an “I must have more” desire in consumers will cause outrage from the anti-Big Food contingent.  It certainly brought out a solid ‘harrumph’ from this blogger.

I’ll admit, though, it’s intriguing to see a lab add an “aged in a oak barrel” flavor to whiskey or create a chicken flavor for vegetarians.

Health Benefits?

We’re fighting an uphill battle against Big Food corporations.  Relentless marketing and persistent junk food availability were bad enough.  Addictive flavoring may be too much to overcome.

But what if the talents of the folks at Givaudan could be used to make healthier food taste better?  For example, a Snackwell cookie that tastes delicious but is actually healthier.  Not just added sugars and fillers.

Are you buying?

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6 responses to ““A Multibillion Dollar Industry….Cloaked in Secrecy”

  1. I also watched this on 60-minutes…. I was thinking the same thing, Dan. Thought provoking. How crazy is the addictive flavoring chemicals and all the different flavors of raspberry?

  2. Except, of course, the flavors made by Givaudan and other companies aren’t “addictive” at all. We Americans need to stop blaming our obesity problem on big, bad corporations, and instead: 1) use some will power; and 2) get off our fat ass and take a walk once in a while.

  3. I think you would enjoy my blog post about this topic – Is the Food Industry Conducting Chemical Warfare on us? You decide. http://foodbabe.com/2011/12/01/chemical-warfare-with-natural-flavor/

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