Vanillin from Natural Sources on the Market
Dr. Daphna Havkin-Frenkel
Bakto Flavors, LLC/Rutgers University
As the vanilla crisis continues to unfold, companies are looking for some alternatives. When there is demand, supply is not far behind, and it appears from all corners of the world. But what is the nature of this supply? We analyzed and evaluated vanillin from many different sources which claimed to be natural. This lecture will present the results of our research. It will give some insight for companies looking for vanillin that is produced by a natural process. The question is: what is actually natural? What sort of tools are in the hands of buyers of vanillin to verify that the vanillin they are buying is natural? Many years ago, the industry developed all sorts of analytical techniques to distinguish between natural and synthetic. The situation is now very different, because 'natural' can come from varied sources and processes.
Dr. Daphna Havkin-Frenkel has unique qualifications. She holds a BS and an MS in the area of Agriculture from Hebrew University, and a PhD in Food Science and MBA from Rutgers University. Dr. Havkin-Frenkel has 25 years experience in the area of flavors, mainly vanilla. She has published extensively in the area of vanilla biotechnology, and has been invited to worldwide symposiums as a speaker on the subject. Daphna organized the first international congress on vanilla in Princeton, NJ in 2003, the second in Cannes, France in 2004, and has since held a symposium every two years. These conferences are a meeting ground for professionals from the vanilla industry, including growers, dealers, extractors ,flavorists, and scientists to discuss the most pressing issues in the business. In addition to these conferences, she runs classes on Vanilla Science and Technology at Rutgers University. She divides her time between Rutgers, doing research on the development of new vanilla products, and Bakto Flavors LLC, manufacturing and marketing new lines of natural products for the gourmet industry. Bakto Flavors markets its line of natural flavors, extracts, spices, vinegars, and sugars to local and international retailers and food services. In addition to specializing in vanilla and vanillin, Dr. Havkin-Frenkel spends her time developing anti-oxidants from oregano for the food and skin care industries. This work has resulted in a series of publications and patents. However, she holds vanilla closest to her heart, and she passionately promotes the plant's well-being, as well as the welfare of those who grow it. She believes that vanilla extract and vanilla beans should be affordable for everyone who wants to use them. Dr. Havkin-Frenkel is currently spending time consulting in the food and flavor industry on the subject of vanilla and vanillin; she writes formulas and advises on the regulatory status of vanilla and vanillin.