The History of Food Flavours

29 August 2021 Market trends

Since the dawn of time, man has been striving to improve the taste and smell of food. The history of flavouring food products goes back to prehistoric times, in ancient Egypt, a popular way to 'modify' the flavour was to use fresh or dried plant parts. For many centuries it was the only known method of flavouring food.  During the Middle Ages, in Europe and the Middle East, the extraction technology was discovered, followed by the process of distilling volatile substances. In monasteries, monks prepared essences and plant extracts, which were treated mainly as medicine.  Only in the nineteenth century, they began to be used to flavour food products to achieve the desired effect. Around 1800, mainly German and Swiss companies started producing flavourings, initially only natural.  The development of science and the dynamically growing market of food producers were the driving force for the production of food flavours.  In the second half of the nineteenth century, synthetic flavors were introduced to the market. It was then that the food flavors industry was established

The Polish market of producers of flavouring additives developed in the middle of the 20th century. In the 1950s, the aromas were produced mainly by state-owned enterprises and cooperatives. In the eighties, this group was joined by craft workshops.
Today, the food flavour industry is a powerful branch of the economy, consisting of hundreds of companies from around the world, and several thousand raw materials are used to produce flavourings.

Categorization and classification

Three main groups of flavouring products are used to enhance the value of food products.

Natural flavorsof plant origin (obtained in the process of extracting essential oils), animal origin (such as milk flavor) or microbiological origin obtained with the participation of microorganisms, i.a. yeast and enzymes.  They must not contain any nature-identical substances or artificial flavourings. This group also includes natural plant extracts.

Nature-identical flavours- are produced by chemical processes. They have the same composition, structure and properties as natural flavours of plant or animal origin. The process of producing nature-identical flavours is based on the exact reconstruction of the chemical structure of the natural flavor.

Synthetic foodflavours are created in specialised laboratories as a result of chemical reactions. Although they do not occur naturally in nature and differ in composition and structure from natural plant and animal flavours, they are the same as natural in terms of their sensory characteristics.

Due to the role they play, they can be divided into flavourings, the main task of which is to give the desired flavour and aroma. Flavouring and colouring products, which in addition to flavour, also increase the visual value of the product, making it more attractive to the consumer. Premixes - mixtures with a high content of minerals and vitamins, used as food additives and dietary supplements.  Functional mixtures with specific technological functions, e.g. preserving, lowering the salt or sugar content and produced from natural raw materials - such as herbs or spices, seasoning compositions used in cuisines from all over the world.   By contrast, due to the type of flavour carrier used, there are flavours based on alcohol, fat or glycol on the market.


Food flavours are currently used on a large scale in almost all industries, both to intensify the taste and smell and to impart sensory properties to food products that do not have it.
Food flavours are added to processed products such as ready-made frozen meals, vegetable and fruit marinades, canned food, meat products, dairy products and ice cream, sweets, sweet and dry pastries and bread, soft drinks and alcohol, instant products, ketchup, mayonnaise, sauces and dressings as well as coffee and tea.

Consumer trends and preferences

For over a dozen years, the demand for food flavours has been gradually increasing. This trend is the result of changes in eating habits and the result of more and more aware and demanding consumers seeking organic, vegetarian and vegan products or new, sophisticated taste sensations. To fully meet these expectations, Flavours Factory laboratories create food flavors inspired by the culinary traditions of Asia, America and Africa.
When reaching for the culinary heritage, it is impossible to ignore flavours and plant extracts containing substances with antioxidant, antiseptic and health-promoting properties that have been used in almost every cuisine of the world for a century. The wide range of products is complemented by functional flavours, including combinations of natural extracts to recreate the taste of salt or sugar, and maskers to improve the taste and visual qualities of dietary foods and foods with reduced salt or sugar content. The umami taste of vegan and vegetarian dishes is given by meat flavours (boiled, baked, grilled, smoked) produced in compliance with strict standards confirmed by the Vege certificate.
The flavours produced in the Flavours Factory provide consumers not only with the desired taste and aroma, but also meet the highest production and quality standards. In order to meet the expectations of customers, the company's offer includes products whose compliance with cultural standards is confirmed by kosher and halal certificates for the production, packaging and storage process.