Where do those iconic, artificial fruit scents come from?

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Grapes don’t actually smell like that. Neither do strawberries. Know what I’m talking about?

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3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Fruit scents often come from a group of simple chemicals called esters which can either be extracted from the fruit or – more often – manufactured by reacting an alcohol (methanol, ethanol, propanol etc) with an organic acid (methanoic, ethanoic, salicylic etc) – these are all common chemicals either found in nature or produced by the tonne in oil refineries. The process of making pure esters is really simple which is why they can be used in foods, fragrances, you name it.

A few examples, pentyl ethanoate is a simple pear scent, methyl salicylate is wintergreen, ethyl butyrate is strawberry (ish), octal ethanoate is an orange scent – and so on. Just using one ester gives a basic scent, but the real fruit often contains more than one ester which is why a lot of cheap artificial scents using a single ester don’t quite smell right.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Some of these artificial tastes come from versions of these fruits that are rare/no longer exist, such as the artificial banana taste in Laffy Taffy. It is based on the Gros Michel banana, which unfortunately is not commercially produced anymore (thanks, Monsanto).

Other artificial tastes come from a mixture of approximations about the taste of a fruit, combined with companies just making a good tasting product and trying to attribute it to a fruit for marketing purposes. For example, if I made a great candy that was bitter with notes of chocolate and earthiness, I could claim that it was coffee flavor and it would be close enough that someone would buy it because they know they like coffee.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I once found a grape vine growing over a wall near my community college that had fruit that tasted just like artificial grape. Exactly like a grape Laffy Taffy. The grapes were dark purple and had huge pits.