Raise your hand if you've noticed these phrases on food at the grocery store:
"Naturally flavored with other natural flavors"
And initially you're probably thinking... score! This product is natural and not artificial. But dig in just a bit, and you may be surprised to learn that natural flavors are not that different from artificial flavors at all. Here's how government regulations define natural flavors:
"[Food labeled with natural flavor]... contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional."
In other words, the original source of natural flavoring must be a plant or animal. So what's the catch? The regulations do not restrict countless preservatives and solvents that can also go into natural flavoring. The flavor manufacturers also do not have to disclose what's actually in the flavoring, meaning they are oftentimes very complex mixtures of synthetic solvents, preservatives, emulsifiers, carriers and other additives.
In the end, the goal of both artificial and natural flavors is the same: to create an addiction to the created flavor. With each passing decade, the intensity of "flavor" in packaged food is on the rise. Flavors seek to entertain and keep us coming back for more. Over time as our bodies grow used to artificial and natural flavors, our palettes are hijacked and altered. What (true) nature provides becomes unexciting and lacking to our taste buds. And this is just one of seemingly endless (and probably yet to be discovered) ways that natural flavors affect our bodies.
We are committed to never using natural flavors in our products. We think it is better to let nature shine and do its thing. As we've grown and expanded our product line, this commitment, while unwavering, presents a sizable challenge: how do we provide consumers with the taste they are looking for while avoiding at-all-costs these harmful, mystery ingredients?
The answer is relentless trial and error. Some may see it as as the hard road. We see it as the only road.