The Natural Order


Biobased Flavors & Fragrances

“Biobased”, “plant-based”, “eco-friendly”, “natural”—these terms are flooding the marketplace as the consumer mindset is becoming more focused on environmental sustainability. In parallel, environmental enthusiasts are moving away from the use of synthetic, petroleum-derived ingredients, resulting in increased attention to both the terms and ingredients that are listed on product labels.1

For over a decade, consumers have familiarized themselves with the use of biobased ingredients within a wide range of products, such as personal care items and packaging materials. More recently, the use of the term biobased is making an appearance in the flavor and fragrance industries.2

Understanding Biobased

Throughout time, the definition of “natural” has remained inconsistent, creating a challenge for manufacturers, distributors and consumers to fully understand the term and its meaning when used on product labels.3 Because of this lack of clear definition, industry stakeholders are opting to use terms such as “biobased” on labels in order to visibly demonstrate the use of plant-based sources.
Biobased is defined as materials that are derived in whole or in part from biomass resources.4 To further clarify, biomass resources are organic materials that are available on a renewable or recurring basis, such as wood residues, agricultural crop residues, grasses and aquatic plants. Therefore, 100% biobased ingredients are materials that are 100% sourced from plants, animals or microbiological by-products.5


1. Maunze, M. AI, VR, gender-neutrality & clean labels: How are trends influencing the F&F industry? Sigma Aldrich. [Internet]. (date unknown)
2. Grand View Research. Biotech Ingredients Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Flavor (By Source, By Type, By Application), By Fragrance (Fine Fragrance, Toiletries), By Active Cosmetic Ingredient, And Segment Forecasts, 2019 - 2025. [Internet]. (2018 December)
3. Sabisch, M., Smith, D. The Complex Regulatory Landscape for Natural Flavor Ingredients. Sigma Aldrich. [Internet]. (date unknown)
4. European Committee for Standardization. Bio-based products. [Internet]. (2020)
5. U.S. Energy Information Administration. Biomass Explained. [Internet]. (2018 June)

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