make natural claims more affordable for all consumers,
thus making them the standard.
VOL. 35 OCTOBER 2010
PERFUMER & FLAVORIST
Natural: The Sustainability Paradox
Changes to EU Flavor Labeling Rules Driving
In addition to changing consumer and customer demands,
European Union (EU) flavor labeling rules set to come
into force in January 2011 will further instigate formu-
lation changes around the world. Among other things,
the legislation, EC/1334/2008, defines different classes
of “natural.” For example, to label a flavor as “natural x
flavoring,” 95% of the flavor would need to be derived
entirely from the named vegetable or animal source.
The statement “identical to natural flavourings” has been
This new legislation has already had drastic effects on
the way in which natural flavors are formulated.
“We looked at this very early,” says Ojjeh. “Our education
campaign helped our customers understand what the new
regulations were about and the challenges they create.”
“It’s a one-to-one education,” says Uva. “Everybody can
read what the regulations are about, but it’s a matter of
working flavor-by-flavor with each of the customers. This
is not a one-size-fits-all type of approach, because each
customer has different needs, strategies, understandings
and visions for the future.”
Internally, the new flavor labeling rules have neces-
sitated a reengineering of the company’s flavor portfolio
and ingredient palette.
Uva notes that customers seek one-to-one natural
equivalents of conventional flavors—at the same price.
“On average a natural solution is 2–3 times more expensive,” he says.
And, he says, the price impact of natural products currently has different effects on consumer habits depending
on category. “We cannot formulate something that is
natural at the same price as something that is nature identical simply because today the innovation in the process of
naturals is in its infancy. There is going to be a big push to
make sure that we give the consumer the right product at
the right price. Will it be the exact same price as today?
I don’t know. Time will tell. Sometimes the customer will
pay a few cents more if a health benefit is clearly there.
“Natural flavoring raw materials simply don’t have the
same cost [parameters] as nature identical ones, creating
the need to find cost-effective alternatives. The [EU flavor
labeling] regulations will oblige everybody to start putting
more efficiencies into the process. Everybody needs to
work in a different way to take costs out of the system in
order to reduce the cost of the product and reinvest in