Given the popularity of the healthy snack trend, researchers are investigating whether ingredients that are good for you are necessarily good for the planet. Manufacturers of snacks are focusing on producing clean label products. While what constitutes clean label might vary by company, it seems a primary focus for manufacturers is the use of natural or organic ingredients in their snacks. High demand for certain ingredients, such as vanilla bean, is tough to satisfy. This is due to the low availability as vanilla is particularly susceptible to environmental disasters and takes up to 9 months to cultivate.

In this article by, Dominique Delfaud, marketing, sensory and consumer research head at French flavors house Mane, she states “By 2050 the world population is expected to reach 9 to 10 billion people. An ever-growing demand for natural vanilla or natural strawberry flavors will be difficult to sustain.”

In the last five years, the price of vanilla has multiplied 20 times. The tension caused by the demand of the crop can= destabilize the economy of the countries that produce it and effect sustainable supply chains.

The solution to this is to look toward science to produce a natural vanilla extract enhancer. This enhancer would contain real vanilla and would offer an authentic taste, consistently and without an unstable supply.

The problem is how customers will accept it. Consumers are shying away from any seemingly artificial chemicals in their snacks and might not be aware enough to care about the sustainability of vanilla beans. In the future, we must learn to strike a balance between consuming certain natural ingredients and maintaining their availability in the world.

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