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Food Science/what natural flavours can I use in peanut butter production


QUESTION: please I want to go into commercial peanut butter production and I have been thinking of what natural and cost effective flavour that I can use to blend the peanut butter to enhance the taste. I know honey will be good but it's expensive. please kindly recommend a nice natural flavour I can use and at what proportion. thanks

ANSWER: Hi earnest,

You have opened up a can of unnatural worms by mentioning "Natural flavors" (It's one of my pet peeves).

This will be one of my long answers, and I hope you can slog through it.

If you do go into business making food products and you are concerned for the health of your customers, then never use cheap versions of "Natural Flavors", always use the real thing... essences or oils extracted from the plants or from other TRULY natural sources.

In the USA, and most other developed nations, "Natural Flavors" can be essences or oils from real plant or food products. But much more likely, they are cheap imitations of flavors available in nature.
Because they are cheaper to bio-manufacture than extract from harvested plants, they are used in processed foods, sodas, chips, breads, ice creams (i.e., there's NO vanilla in ANY Breyer's Ice Cream!!), etc etc etc.

Here's another example. In Pepsi or Coke there is no longer any kola nut syrup, the genuine natural flavor, extracted from a kola nut. "Natural Flavors" are made in the same facilities as artificial flavors and colors. (Abbott Labs is one of the biggest ones.)

The difference? "Artificial flavors" are constructed chemicals imitating flavors, but without a natural (meaning "live") source.

"Natural Flavors" are created by bacteria or yeast tricked and/or "engineered" to produce what is assumed to be the natural plant's flavor, essence or oil. Because it is a flavoring being created and it is being created in a live organism, the FDA allows them to be called "Natural".

Once the bacteria are created, cultured and allowed to mass produce in large vats, the flavors have to be extracted from them. This is usually done by crushing (a load of microscopic glass spheres is the usual practice, the vat turned like a cement mixer).
The resulting toxin laden soup undergoes multiple filtrations to isolate as much of the "flavor" as possible.
The resulting product is NEVER pure, and ALWAYS significantly contaminated by DNA fragments, endotoxins, other cellular debris and the soup these creatures were grown in.

Doesn't the FDA know? Aren't they regulating this?
Yes they know.
No, they are not regulating "Natural Flavors".

They adopted the Grocery Manufacturers of America's definition of "Natural flavors", which included classifying them as a recipe that is "proprietary business information", and not subject to disclosure.

This is against the Food and Drug Act, but FDA bureaucrats and appointees regularly commit violations of the very Food and Drug Act that created the department and defines its role in protecting the public health and food supply.

Processed food producers usually won't tell you if they manufacture the "flavors" or if a third party does.
If a third party creates the flavorings, the producer won't tell you who that third party is (usually Abbott Laboratories, in the USA)
They won't tell you if the flavors are sourced through genetically altered bacteria or yeast, or "ordinary" bacteria or yeast. They rely on the FDA allowing them to hide these ingredients in food products.

One trick to get info is to ask if any yeast by-products are in the "Natural Flavors".

The FDA requires companies to answer questions about allergies... but they don't have to warn about allergic potential on the ingredients label, unless the allergen is a well known/documented one. like nut allergies. Any product containing yeast (like some Bolthouse Farms juice products) are not labeled, but if you cal and ask about a specific allergen they have to respond. Yeast in a "natural" juice product is a dead giveaway the flavoring isn't natural in any sense of that word, and comes from yeast modified to produce a plant flavor.

The FDA, through "lobbying" by the flavor industry and The Grocery manufacturers Association of America" made the special exception to exclude "natural flavors" "propriety business information" from labeling. But the entire list of ingredients is a recipe, so technically, food producers don't have to list anything on the label, other than known common allergenic substances.

So who cares? Corporate executives, scientists and researchers wouldn't do anything to actually harm us, would they? --- Enron, BP oil spill, Fracking, WorldCom, The derivatives market (which was the actual cause of the 2008 economic collapse & a 2005 mini-collapse - Delphi Auto Parts) - Brooksley Born was stopped from regulating derivatives in the 1990s by Greenspan, Rubin and Summers - all three are former (and present) Financial executives), Vioxx, Thalidomide (now back on the market), Drugs that impair immunity, vaccines associated with Diabetes (Merck's MMR package insert lists Diabetes Mellitus as an "adverse reaction"), Three Mile Island, The Love Canal... the list goes on and on... yes, of course there are many corporations that have people willing to do anything for money, anything.

And so it goes with our food... GMO, herbicide/pesticide contamination, High Fructose Corn Syrup, fertilizing crops with municipal sludge, Ricinoleate in chocolate (Labeled PGPR, this form of ricin is a cheap replacement for cocoa butter. Ricinoleate is made from castor beans and considered GRAS by the FDA.), Food irradiation (nicknamed "Cold Pasteurization" exposes food to cesium 123 radioactivity to sterilize it.), can liners leaching hormone-like chemicals like TBHQ, less nutritious crops grown in dead nutrient-depleted soils... this list also goes on and on. And now we have NATURAL FLAVORS...

Why do we need to be cautious? What could be wrong with an essence or flavoring oil from a plant? Usually nothing. But it's how you obtain the "flavor" chemical.
A variety of extraction processes are used to get significant flavors out of plants. Vanilla bean and Almonds are two prominent ones. Both are extracted with alcohol and this process has gone on for many decades.

In the late 1980s a new method was used to mass produce food additives and supplements... getting bacteria or yeast to do the "growing" of the desired flavors or supplements. Similar processes such as Fermentation, have been used for centuries, without known adverse consequences. But we started using genetic engineering and have injured and killed many people with toxins and contaminants left in these products after filtration and purification attempts.

In 1989 there was a poisoning that occurred in the USA and Canada from a tryptophan supplement that was made this way. A Japanese company (Showa Denko) genetically engineered bacteria (already used to produce tryptophan) to produce tryptophan faster.
They were already using cost cutting measures, like reducing filtration, on their other batches of substances, including tryptophan. They also reduced the filtration on the gene-altered-bacteria batch of tryptophan.

This tryptophan had novel contaminants that were noticed by European marketers of the supplement, and they refused to purchase them. US and Canadian suppliers of the tryptophan, usually sold in health food stores, bought up all that Showa Denko offered. Showa Denko never informed American and Canadian supplement makers of the contaminants found in European testing.

Unknown contaminants (sometimes referred to as Peak E or Peak X) poisoned thousands of people and hundreds died. Official records cite 154 deaths and 2500 permanent injuries, but CDC/FDA/Mayo Clinic agree that most victims were not found. The CDC stopped tracking new victims in 1992. But the last time I checked a lawyers' group was still filing new claims against Showa Denko in the early 2000s, for the 1989 poisoning.

The contaminants were identified to be in only Showa Denko's tryptophan, and only that batch produced by gene-altered bacteria (FDA/CDC/Mayo Clinic did the investigations).
No other batches of Showa Denko's tryptophan caused poisonings.
No other manufacturer's tryptophan caused any poisonings.
No other manufacturer, at the time, was using gene-altered bacteria to make tryptophan.

Showa Denko destroyed the bacteria before any research could be done on them.
The FDA blamed reduced filtration, not genetic engineering. But they deliberately ignored the fact that Showa reduced filtration on ALL of their batches, not just the poisonous one. The FDA was interested in protecting the process of genetic engineering, which corporations were planning to profit from greatly.

The reaction to the gene-altered bacteria's tryptophan contaminants was similar in everyone. Their immune systems were altered and began attacking their central nervous systems and brains. Victims who survived complained of mild to unbearable continuous pain in various parts of their bodies.

This syndrome came to be known as Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome. Unable to find the cause of their pain many doctors desperately referred their patients to psychiatrists. The well-intentioned referrals ended up with patients struggling for years, or decades, trying to find someone who could help them.

I spoke to one person/victim who was completely disabled by the poisoning, needing 24 hour care. I also corresponded with 3 other victims by email, who were managing their pain and trying to live normal lives.

Sodas in the USA are filled with unnaturally produced substances called "Natural Flavors" and the infamous High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
There are MANY problems with HFCS. Produced using highly contaminated GMO corn starch and adding three different enzymes produced in bacteria, like our so-called "Natural Flavors". HFCS is the most contaminated food substance we have ever been fooled into consuming.

Until we have long-term independent safety testing and true regulation coming from the FDA and CDC of substances produced in bacteria or yeast & GMOs, so-called "Natural Flavors" and HFCS should never be consumed by anyone.

So, "earnest", if you care for your customers, don't use natural flavors or HFCS in your products.

Use the real Honey... but don't get the cheap honey, because, guess what?
Many manufacturers are cutting their "honey" with HFCS. It greatly increases their profit margins. And because of lax regulations and/or compliant regulatory agencies, these adulterated products are still being called "Honey", without listing the HFCS on the label (other than an oblique reference to "Natural Flavor", IF THAT!). South American honey is usually contaminated with HFCS.

What a world...

I have to let you know "earnest", the peanut butter manufacturers are way ahead of you on the flavorings!

Planters offers peanut butter flavored with granola, bananas, berries, raisins, cinnamon, other nuts and much more. In Planter's they use raisins and dried banana chips and real nuts (other than peanut). They do occasionally add "Natural Flavors".

A Planter's representative told me natural flavors are shipped to Planter's by a third party, who won't allow the release of their "recipe" to the consumer.

The rep didn't say if Planter's knew what the recipe contained.

Too much cost-cutting and too little regulation and safety testing.

For the creation of unique peanut butter flavorings (that appeal to a large portion of the population) I think you are going to have to use your imagination, test the products, ensure your manufacturing methods don't contaminate with natural flavors or add easily spoiled ingredients to your peanut butters.

Food is a very tough market and hard-to-run business. Liabilities, as well as rewards, are high. I don't know of any unique recipes to give you.
Though I know where to purchase some natural flavors I simply won't advertise, in my answer, for companies that produce a product that is anything but "natural", and is likely to be harmful because of the unavoidable contaminants.

Your best bet is to come up with unique flavoring ideas, patent them, take samples of them to a large producer and pitch your product, making your best deal. This reduces your start-up costs and maximizes your production.
There is usually a niche-market if you want to keep production small. If you opt for truly NATURAL peanut butter products your butters can command a much higher price. If you go organic you can usually double your profit or investment.

How about a boysenberry jam peanut butter with a little organic rice syrup?

Good luck earnest,
Thanks for the question,
Ask follow-ups if you have any,
Michael Polidori

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for your answer, it was very insightful, I care about the health and well being of my prospective consumers. Please what ingredients will I need for boysenberry jam peanut butter? Could you give me the recipe.

Hi again earnest,

I am not a chef, nor do I can foods, but I have found some AllExperts people that can help you further down the road.

Adam Price in Cookery and Culinary Arts should be able to help you with the creation part of a delicious peanut butter/boysenberry recipe (you should consider things like different types of nuts going into your butter along with your own spicing combination) - and in creating your boysenberry jam, including other flavorings that would be compatible not only with boysenberry, but with your butter..

This will always come down to you experimenting on your own in a kitchen with recipe ideas and seeing which ones are best, then trying them out on friends and family.

While you are experimenting with a recipe, you should also develop some knowledge on mass production, as well as home production, preservation and canning. Some recipe ingredients may not be compatible with mass production or preservation techniques, so talk with these experts BEFORE you finalize your recipe.

You can get help with issues like mass production as well as home food production and preparation with the links below (in case you go with only home production for a niche market, before your big step-up to mass production) -  

Mass production of specialty food products -
Chef Todd Mohr -

Home food production and preservation -
Carol Schlitt -
Carl LaFrate -

If you want to try the boysenberry peanut butter idea I would start with a specialty peanut butter, using peanuts in combination with other distinctively flavorful nuts. Almonds or cashews make tasty butters by themselves, but adding one or both to peanut butter could make some nicely accenting flavors. Do experimenting until you get a couple of novel butters that you like.
Then work on a boysenberry jam or preserve, making it distinctly boysenberry with some fruity additions (not necessarily limited to berries).

Even after you get your recipe and production/preservation method information, you still have to think about naming your creations, packaging them then marketing... food businesses are always tough!!

Good luck earnest,
Ask follow-ups,
Thanks for asking questions,
Thank you for appreciating my answers,
Michael Polidori

Food Science

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Michael Polidori


I can answer questions about food safety issues and benefits vs risks issues related to the growing, environmental effects and health effects of conventional, organic and gene altered food (GE GMO genetically engineered), both plants and animals. I can answer questions related to the cause and treatment of nutritionally related disease (including immune related diseases) and nutritional problems related to healing physiological or nutritional injuries.


I have been studying food growing methods, regulatory rules and organic/conventional/biotechnological methods of producing foods since 1998. I have prepared materials for distribution concerning health safety issues, lack of regulation, environmental dangers and industry sponsored research of genetically engineered plants and animals. I have also created similar materials promoting the benefits of organic agriculture for not only direct health benefits but for dramatic reductions in pollution, indirectly benefitting our health. I have prepared research materials for and participated in Public Television talk and radio shows regarding the issues surrounding genetic engineering and organic foods and debated in college forums with mainstream scientific experts about the safety & regulatory issues of gene altered foods. 2000-2002 I managed booths at major North Carolina events interfacing with the public (including farmers) on organic vs GMO benefits and dangers. I understand regulatory practices, shortcomings & revolving jobs doors of the FDA, USDA and EPA and the industries they regulate. I have been involved in nutrition, health care, prescription drug, vaccine, disease, immune and wellness issues since 1997 reading and writing on the internet and in practical applications with myself, family and friends leading to paths of health, wellness and fitness.

North Carolina Citizens For Safe Food, Public Citizen, Organic Consumers Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Working Group, PSRAST.

No Degree, but some college in the sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Calculus, Astronomy and Physics). I have also taken several courses in Logic and Philosophy. I am involved in extensive research using mainstream websites (many of which I am on mailing lists for) such as - peer-reviewed publications (The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, others), PubMed database of research studies, National Institutes of Health, FDA, USDA, EPA, University Research libraries, hospital databases (John Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, others). I also regulary contact/correspond-with manufacturers/suppliers of food products, pharmaceuticals (including vaccines) and supplements with questions, recommendations, criticisms and complements. Every week, I learn something new!

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