What is the Ingredient “Flavour”?

What is Flavour Ingredient

Recently we were looking more closely at the food labels in our pantry, and at what ingredients are there. For health reasons we have been attempting to eat more naturally, and have a better idea of what is in our foods. While looking at many of our canned goods and sauces we came across the rather bland ingredient of “flavour”.

That was rather non-descript, so I decided to contact the company that makes one of the canned items in question, and this is the response that I got:

The flavour used is of synthetic origin.  The actual profile of the flavour cannot be disclosed as it is proprietary information.

I was shocked to be honest!

It was always my understanding¬†that we were supposed to be told about what was in our foods, I did not know that companies were allowed to put “secret” natural or artificial ingredients in food that we eat!

Amazingly it seems that the rights of companies to maintain their “proprietary information” is greater than our rights as consumers to know what we are putting into our bodies. We aren’t even allowed to know if the “flavour” or “flavouring” is natural or artificial in origin. Apparently there are over 2000 secret man-made flavour additives that don’t need to be identified by name or number. So while I have been trying to avoid numbered ingredients, the innocuous label of “flavour” has slipped by me.

The Food Intolerance Network has a great article about Flavours and Flavour Enhancers that goes into a lot more detail.

In the future our family will be avoiding the ingredient “flavour” or “flavouring”.

Photo credit: Margarine via photopin (license)