According to Cargill, one the big villainousmultinational corporations (do you hear my cynicism?) the global flavor market is worth $7 billion. I was a bit overwhelmed when reading this factoid, which was associated with an article about how some researchers in Italy discovered a flavor compound that somehow simulates mushroom in another plant.
I honestly had no idea about how a researcher goes about identifying a flavoring component in a flower or plant but obviously it is worth the search if you find a good one -- it's a big score.
The following was reported in the Food Navigator:
Distilling the aerial parts of Melittismelissophyllumsubsp. melissophyllum ( Lamiaceae ), a member of the mint family, yielded “extremely high amoun [s]t of the mushroom -like aroma component 1- octen -3- ol (43.6-54.2 per cent)”, according to findings published online ahead of print in the journal Food Chemistry.
Now, I am quite thankful that the Food Navigator delivers such news because I don't often read the journal of Food Chemistry although I am sure that I would find it a good nap- or bed-time read. Although, I can get a bit geeky about the scientific side of food and perhaps I'd really get into it.
In any case, I think that I shall stick with the natural flavors in food by eating them just the way that they are. One more reason to stick with food as it exists in nature. I don't have to be part of the economic incentive for scientists to track down "natural" flavoring agents. I often wondered where they came from and I now I know at least for one of them. Don't you wonder why can't we just use mushrooms to get a mushroom flavor? I do.