As the demand for natural products grows in a world where chemically-filled food is readily available at the grocery store, is there enough natural product to go around? And what about flavors like vanilla, which mostly come from a compound extracted from the vanilla bean instead of true natural flavor? An article in Forbes says: “And just as demand for “real” vanilla is increasing, production is falling. With demand on the upswing, trade in the world’s most popular flavor is way out of balance, and getting worse.”
The writer suggests biomanufacturing may be a solution. By using fermentation techniques, biomanufacturing company Conagen has cultivated a microbe that takes glucose and turns it into vanillin. “Fermented vanillin is the exact same molecule you would get from a vanilla bean. Fermentation has the added advantage of producing pure, reliable ingredients. And because the fermented product is equivalent to what you get from nature, it can be labeled natural flavoring,” according to the article.
Read more (Forbes)