The Flavor Lab: How to Make a Strawberry


Wonder how your gum gets that strawberry flavor?

The taste of a natural strawberry is made of more than 450 individual molecules. Flavorists need to condense that number because it is their job to reproduce the taste of a natural food but still make it a commercially viable solution.

“Over 15,000 molecules have been identified in foods and around 4,000 are used in food flavors,” says Marie Wright, chief global flavorist for Wild Flavors.

Wright gave a lecture yesterday at the French Institute Alliance Française, where she walked attendees through the process of flavor creation.

Here are the components of a basic strawberry and their respective smells: furaneol (cotton candy), y-Decalactone (creamy peach), methyl cinnamate (fruity guava), and ethyl butyrate (fruity).

“Each molecule has its own aroma,” Wright says.

The combination of these four different molecules creates the basic strawberry flavor. Scientists will then add secondary molecules to customize the strawberry based on clientele requests. The possibilities are endless, and according to Wright, flavor creation is an art.

“It is our job to identify the components of flavor and create a skeleton using these chemicals,” she says.