In the past, the flavor industry attempted to imitate nature through creative chemistry. Today, it attempts to imitate chemistry’s achievements through nature.
The current U.S. lifestyle emphasizing health has had a strong influence on sales of natural flavors. In the beginning of the 1980s, the growth of natural flavors might have been considered a passing phenomenon, but the current sustained sales increase certainly indicates that the trend toward natural flavors is now well established. As yet, it shows no signs of weakening. Whether the status of natural flavors will remain as important in the twenty-first century as it is today, however, remains to be seen; but in the meantime, the results of continuing research are radically altering the flavor industry.
The 1986 worldwide consumption of compounded flavors is estimated at $1.65 billion. Europe and North America combined account for 60.6% of this amount, with consumption estimated at $550 and $450 million, respectively. At 15.2% Japan accounts for $250 million, and at 24.2% the rest of the worId, $400 million (figure 1).