National News

April 2020

How Flavors Can Boost Mood and State of Mind

What is it about the tangy taste of fresh apple cider that makes us happier? Do you notice that even thinking about a warm, gooey cinnamon roll can make your mouth water?

Neurogastronomy suggests that flavor starts in our brain with odor ‘images’ that trigger our memories of tastes. During the process of smelling and tasting, our mind creates a map of the unique combination of flavor molecules. Several areas of our brain access this map, including the parts that deal with emotions, sight, smell, touch, taste, and the processes that tell us when we’re hungry and thirsty.

We know, though, that experiences with foods and drinks are about more than smell and taste. Gastrophysics emerged to teach us how health, moods, and beliefs affect reactions to flavors. Texture, appearance, the color of a serving dish or glass, price, music, and lighting may lead people to think differently about the taste of a food or beverage. Gastrophysics helps explain why it’s difficult to fully recreate a restaurant’s signature dessert or drink in our kitchen.

Even if customers can’t currently enjoy the gastronomy of their favorite eating-out places, we can still harness the power of flavor to improve their state of mind. Online ordering, delivery, and curbside pick- up can help deliver flavors with known emotional benefits, such as:

  • Cinnamon. A spicy, warm flavor that stimulates the brain, helping to improve concentration and memory. Cinnamon also cuts the craving for sugar.
  • Citrus, including orange and lemon. These flavors, with their fresh scents, can increase alertness, energy, and a sense of well-being.
  • Peppermint. One group of researchers linked the bright, fresh taste (and smell) of peppermint to higher levels of motivation and cognitive stamina.
  •  Vanilla. The smooth flavor of this familiar favorite evokes happiness and relaxation.
  • Apple. The crisp, sweet taste of apples is another flavor that may help with relaxation. The tart taste and scent of green apples may also reduce anxiousness.
  • Chocolate. Many studies examine the mood-elevating benefits of chocolate. In moderation, the flavor creates feelings of calm and contentment.

The link between flavors and feelings led us to add ‘comfort food’ to the dictionary in 1997.  While ice cream and chocolate chip cookies are universal comfort foods in the U.S., flavors linked with nostalgia and happiness vary across individuals and cultures. Crème Brûlée in France, butterscotch dumplings in Australia, toffee pudding in Britain, and pineapple buns in Hong Kong all carry sentimental value along with delicious flavors.

To learn more about how to incorporate comforting and mood-boosting flavors into your next project, contact our team.

Find Your Next Flavor with Flavorush

Here are examples of the flavors listed in our feature article, along with a few of our favorite nostalgic and comforting tastes. Get samples shipped in 24-hours with your free Flavorush account!


NF Product #

Chocolate Pudding
Cocoa Extract
Cotton Candy
Sugar Cookie
Vanilla, Bourbonaise
Yellow Cake Batter

Log in to Flavorush or Sign Up

Log in or open a free account to get samples of these flavors shipped to you in 24 hours. With hundreds of flavors available, Flavorush can help you find inspiration.

Regulatory Update

TTB Publishes Final Rule Modernizing Labeling and Advertising Regulations

On April 2, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) offered a final rule giving alcoholic beverage producers a modernization to labeling and advertising regulations.  The rule takes effect on May 4, 2020.

  • On distilled spirits labels, producers have flexibility with the placement of mandatory information. Information including brand name, class or type of spirit, alcohol content, and net contents can appear anywhere on the label; consumers must be able to read all details without turning the container.
  • The ruling also amends regulations that govern tequilas and vodka.  The TTB created a new standard for a class of agave spirits and identified two different types, tequila, and mezcal, to allow flexibility for spirits distilled from agave.  The TTB removed the requirement for vodka that it had to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.
  • For malt beverages, the TTB now permits strength claims on labels and in advertisements (strong, full strength, extra strength), but will have final authorization about use of these claims. Also, the TTB will now allow “other truthful, accurate, and specific factual representations of alcohol content, such as alcohol by weight to appear on the label, as long as they appear together with, and as part of, the statement of alcohol content as a percentage of alcohol by volume.”  This caveat lets brewers use one label on their product for marketing in many states, which will streamline their processes and the logistics of the supply chain.

For further information, please see the specifics of the final rule here.

The regulatory team at National Flavors is always here to assist with questions you may have about labeling or the nutritional content of our products. Reach out to us.

Inside National

Welcome Brian Briggs!

On April 2nd, Brian Briggs joined National Flavors as our new Chief Executive Officer. Brian has more than 25 years of experience helping industry-leading organizations grow through strategic planning, operational excellence, and M&A. He has successfully led public, private, and private equity owned businesses. Most recently, Brian served as President of TIC Gums, Inc., a 110-year old solutions provider of specialty ingredients.

“I’m honored to join the talented National Flavors team, and I look forward to working with them to implement strategies which will leverage the strong foundation that has been built. We will continue to be focused on providing solutions and a customer experience which allows our partners to achieve their growth expectations,” said Briggs.

Brian succeeds Dan Hinkle, our current CEO, who will transition to the board of directors. The leadership change coincides with an investment from The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm. Hinkle said, “I am excited to welcome Brian to the team at National Flavors. His business development skills and experience integrating acquisitions will help us to further fulfill our mission of delivering joy through flavor.”

Our Response to COVID-19

During the COVID-19 health crisis, we wanted you to know that we’re here to help you serve your customers.

  • We’re maintaining our 5-day lead time for flavor production and have been able to support urgent needs.
  • Our inventory levels are stable, enabling us to help a customer who was facing delays from their current flavor supplier.
  • If you’re experiencing ingredient shortages and looking for options, you have an extensive library of flavors available through Flavorush on our customer portal. We’re upholding our 24-hour ship turnaround on samples.
  • We’ve split production into two shifts to maintain a safe working environment for our team and ensure we’re responsive.
  • We continue to follow our best practices for food quality and safety and have built additional sanitzation schedules into our facility cleaning process.

We believe sunnier days are ahead, but during this storm, our teams are ready to stand with you. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

Coming up in next month’s National News:

Get Back to Business after COVID-19: How Flavorush Can Help.


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