Monday, May 1, 2017

Vanilla Prices Soaring?

Not again!  Marash Girl grew up in an era when her mom couldn't afford to buy real vanilla to flavor the wonderful cakes that she (her mom) baked.  Once Marash Girl realized this, she would splurge at Christmas time to buy her mom a bottle of real vanilla.  The flavoring was expensive, but it's alternative, vanillin, was so riddled with chemicals that in large doses, well . . . . you get the picture.  Why is Marash Girl remembering that today?  According to the Boston Globe,  "A massive spike in vanilla prices is threatening to drive the cost of an ice cream cone into the stratosphere."  Any chemist out there can tell us that the chemical makeup of artificial vanilla is very close to that of formaldehyde . . .               just saying . . . !

From Wikipedia:  Vanillin is a phenolic aldehyde, which is an organic compound with the molecular formula C8H8O3. Its functional groups include aldehyde, hydroxyl, and ether. It is the primary component of the extract of the vanilla bean. Synthetic vanillin is now used more often than natural vanilla extract as a flavoring agent in foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals.
Vanillin and ethylvanillin are used by the food industry; ethylvanillin is more expensive, but has a stronger note. It differs from vanillin by having an ethoxy group (–O–CH2CH3) instead of a methoxy group (–O–CH3).

Any chemists out there who are willing to weigh in on this question?


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