BNN Flavour Recommendation

The use of flavours in the specialised organic food trade

Consumers expect that organic products are unmodified and left in their natural state to the greatest possible extent. This also implies that only natural compounds are used for flavouring. According to the EU Organic Regulation “natural flavourings” are allowed in organic food. Under the terms of the flavouring regulation they have to be derived from raw materials occurring in nature. However, the definition of “natural” has been defined in quite wide terms:  the auxiliary “natural” can also be used for other substances extracted from nature, which are not eponymous.

Only if “natural strawberry flavour” is listed on a product, one can be sure that the flavouring component originated for at least 95% from strawberries. This does not live up to what consumers usually expect from “food left in its natural state”. Nevertheless, high taste qualities can also be reached without the addition of flavours through the use of a larger volume of raw materials and considerate processing.

BNN Flavour Recommendation
Flavour recommendation

For this reason the member companies of BNN have edited a recommendation for the use of flavours in organic food in 2004: organic produce shall preferably be flavoured with organic produce and organic flavouring extracts. For more than 10 years now, the BNN flavour recommendation is setting the standard for the use of flavours in the specialised organic food trade. Furthermore, by the development of the flavour recommendation a strong impulse was given to raise awareness for the issue of flavourings in organic food.

The BNN and its member companies pursue to waive the use of certain “natural” flavours in the specialised organic food trade. For the flavouring one should use products which are truly natural, such as organic produce or organic flavour extracts. Customers in retail can be informed by knowledgeable staff, if and how a product has been flavoured, if organic extracts have been used or rather a “natural flavour”.

The taste preferences of the customers, the technical possibilities and the availability in the market do not always allow the use of only organic produce or organic flavour extracts. Therefore exemptions for some products where the taste experience is primordial (i.e. tea, soft drinks or sweets) were introduced as a temporary measure.