Where Does Vanilla Flavoring Come From | Why It Went Viral?

by Tanmay Joshi
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A few months back, the internet was taken up as a storm with one viral tik tok video. As soon as the video went viral, a common question starts flooding on google. “Where does vanilla flavouring come from“. In addition to this few more questions were also searched on google like “what is a vanilla flavouring made from” or “where does real vanilla flavoring come from”.

vanilla flavoring
#source: google images

The prime reason is the National Geographic article which they published in October 2013. In that article, they have discovered that it could come from the beaver’s anal excretions.

Still, today if you type “Where does”, google will do the rest by auto-completing the query as to where does vanilla flavouring come from. And, the same national geographic article will pop up as the first result.

Where does real vanilla flavoring come from

Feeling Yuck after reading the above revelations. Right! The vanilla flavouring has been made from various additives, and as per the National geographic report, vanilla flavouring does contain a component named castoreum. Moreover, Beavers often use this compound to mark their territory.

However, United States Food and Drug Administration, a.k.a FDA, lists the castoreum as a safe additive. The manufacturers have used them for over 80 years for use in food and perfumes.

People challenge their friends and colleagues to search “where does vanilla flavouring come from” on google. As soon as they have read the national geographic article, many of them swear not to eat vanilla for the rest of their lives.

However, the vanilla flavour which we found in food and drinks is synthetic. We will also give you details on what is artificial vanilla flavouring made from?

What is artificial vanilla flavoring made from

So far, you have read one of the most searched terms on the internet, “What is a vanilla flavour made from”. Now, learn about artificial vanilla flavour.

Nowadays, food items and drinks use artificial vanilla flavouring instead of natural vanilla extract. The artificial vanilla flavouring is made from a synthetic version of vanillin.

The artificial vanillin has been prepared using two substances- either lignin or guaiacol.

Also, read our article on Corn On The Cob Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

What is imitation vanilla made from

The imitation vanilla is made from synthetic vanillin, which has been extracted from the bark or wood pulp.

Most bakery food items use imitation vanilla these days.

Uses of Vanilla flavoring

Vanilla needs no introduction as it is one of the most popular flavours among kids and adults. You can also find the taste of vanilla in sweets, beverages, smoothies, desserts, cakes, and pastries. Some of the names are:

  • Yogurt
  • Ice-Cream
  • Bakery Items
  • Smoothies


Though the US Food and Drug Administration declares that the castoreum is safe to use as an additive, the artificial vanilla flavour is used in food and beverages.

However, these ḍays castoreum is used for scent purposes in the manufacturing of perfumes and candles. We can assume that vanilla flavors do not use castoreum. So, you can have vanilla in your food items safely without any overthinking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1. Where does artificial vanilla flavouring come from?

Ans. The artificial vanilla flavouring comes from vanillin. This compound is present in vanilla beans. Nowadays, vanilla flavours are prepared synthetically in laboratories.

Q.2. How is a natural vanilla flavour made?

Ans. The natural vanilla flavour is made from the tropical orchid as vanilla grows on a vine. It takes a lot of time to grow naturally, and intense labour techniques are used for preparing natural vanilla flavours.

These tropical orchids are native to Mexico; however, they are cultivated in equatorial regions that include Africa, the South Pacific, and Central America. Madagascar produces a total of more than 80% of the world’s vanilla alone.

Q.3 Why there is alcohol in vanilla extract?

Ans. Vanilla extracts are prepared by combining pure vanilla beans along with a mixture of alcohol and water. However, this alcohol is actually sugarcane-derived ethanol. This forms the best and pure vanilla extract. Moreover, the FDA made it compulsory to have a minimum of 35% alcohol in pure vanilla extract.

Furthermore, the alcohol works as a carrier for flavour, thus keeps the flavour intact for a more extended period.

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