Food Label: Natural and Artificial Flavor

When shopping for a “Healthy product” you often stumble upon the phrase “artificially cherry-flavored.” Flipping the box over to the supplemental fact panel you realize there is not a single mention of the ingredient cherry. You continue to read further, and what you do find in the other ingredients is “Natural and Artificial flavors.”


By James Herb  Updated : 2/29/2024

Currently, regulations allow the phrase “Cherry flavor”  or  “artificially cherry-flavored” without any need for cherries in the product if it contains cherry flavoring. Does not sound as healthy, does it? This flavor could have originated from any number of unnatural sources. The cherry flavor is made from Isoamyl Acetate. Isoamyl Acetate is produced by the fermentation of Isoamyl Alcohol, which is also used to create other synthetic flavors like apricot, orange, plum, and whiskey flavors. It is also a key component in the aroma of black truffles. (1)

However this may sound, it is not as bad as you think. Food, drinks, and supplements must be labeled properly, and if the flavoring is not from cherries, it must be mentioned as being from an artificial source. If you are looking for authentic ingredients, you need to look for certain keywords or phrases.

Where are the Flavors coming from


This may be a no-brainer but for cherry flavors from real cherries, the label has to mention cherries. Duh


  • Look through the supplemental fact panel for cherries or cherry extracts. Next, look at the other ingredients and try to find cherries or cherry syrups. Also, they could have had a declaration of “100% made with cherries”
  • Stating “Natural flavors” requires the flavor to be from the plant or animal source stated
  • Look for the name, if the name is not mentioned, like made from fruit but does not mention the actual fruit, do not fall for it!


To conclude finding "Natural and Artificial flavors" or just "Artificial flavors" is a red flag indicating that the flavor is from an unnatural source. Packages mentioning “Natural flavors” are substances extracted from plants or animals. Something to keep in mind is flavorings are meant to enhance flavor, not benefit nutritional value. Although I prefer flavors derived from natural ingredients do not think beetroot flavor will give you any of the benefits of beet root.