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A Global Favorite: Flavor

Universally loved

Vanilla is not only craved by consumers globally as a flavor in its own right – it also harmonizes with almost everything. Enhancing the perception of sweetness and masking the perception of bitterness, vanilla is one of the most important flavor directions in the world today.

An undisputed classic

Vanilla is loved by almost everyone, everywhere. Adopted by different regions and cultures in subtly different ways, it’s a key ingredient in everything from cereal to Michelin-starred cuisine, and its popularity shows no sign of declining.

Bringing understanding to the complexities of consumer preferences

When it comes to taste, people’s preferences are wonderfully diverse, formed by their own experiences, where they live and the communities they live in. From rich and creamy to subtle and aromatic, pinpointing the ideal vanilla flavor begins with knowing who will be doing the tasting.

80 %

of the world’s vanilla is used in the US, Germany and France

43 %

consumer spending will rise by 43% to $12trillion between 2010 and 2020

13

13 urban hot spots where Symrise is carrying out research into the latest sweet trends

Knowing what works

The only way to know what it is that delights consumers is to immerse yourself in their world. This is exactly what our marketing and evaluation teams do, every day.

Beyond taste

While it’s vanilla’s flavor that makes it so popular, we know that consumers are driven by more than just their taste buds. In recent years we’ve seen a huge increase in demand for Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and organic products, and we’re perfectly positioned to help our customers meet this demand.

Guilt-free indulgence
Today, consumers are more discerning than ever

We all love a little indulgence, but not if we think there is a risk that our moment of pleasure has come at the expense of something else. From Fairtrade to Rainforest Alliance certified products, consumers are increasingly choosing products that they can feel confident didn’t cost the earth, or the people who produced the taste they love.

Some of our large partners, for example, offer organically grown or fairly traded products. Another partner focuses on products certified by the Rainforest Alliance. We offer every customer the vanilla product that best suits their brands and products.

Gabriele Schaper, Key Account Manager

As the only flavor company with its own operations in Madagascar, and thanks to our close working relationship with the farmers who supply our vanilla beans, we can offer our customers natural vanilla flavors that meet these consumer requirements. We’re passionately committed to ensuring our entire supply chain is sustainable by 2017, meaning we can continue to produce flavors that meet the needs of everyone involved in their production; from our farmers to consumers.

Combining insight and inspiration

Finding a way to combine insight with inspiration is essential to meeting the present and future needs of our customers. For us, the complexity of consumer preference is just another source of inspiration.

The new consumer

There’s a growing global demand for adventurous and different food trends. Those driving this change are the Millennials. Born between 1982 and 1988, there are now over 2 billion Millennials globally, with 86% living in emerging markets. As the first truly connected generation, Millennials expect to be able to discover a world of flavor with ease, looking for new food experiences and ways to express their individuality.

 

Reinventing vanilla

In collaboration with some of the most high-profile Millennial food experts and social media influencers we worked to imagine new varieties of vanilla. These new types of vanilla are totally different to the ‘classic’ vanilla consumers know and love. With a focus placed on surprising and intriguing flavor profiles, this is vanilla to excite and surprise, with flavors ranging from rich and savory to raw and earthy.

 

More than just a flavor

For Millennials, enjoying their favorite food is about more than flavor. Multi-sensory experiences that appeal to Millennials’ experimentation are sought out, with color, shape, and texture all the focus of a growing food trend. There is also a strong emphasis on healthy products, with positive nutrition and ingredients to enhance wellbeing becoming a lifestyle that many are willing to pay for.

 

White vanilla
White vanilla

Based around the vanilla flower, white vanilla embodies the freshness of springtime with delicate floral notes and a light grassy profile.

Black vanilla
Black vanilla

“It’s dark, it’s decadent, it’s the total opposite of white vanilla.” We burnt vanilla to create this twist on a classic – enhanced for more developed palates, challenging people’s perceptions of traditional vanilla.

Smoked vanilla
Smoked vanilla

A current universal food trend, the sweetness of vanilla is a great contrast to bitter smoke. Able to add an extra layer of complexity to dishes, this vanilla can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.

Salt vanilla
Salt vanilla

Harnessing vanilla’s (often overlooked) heritage as a spice, we’ve combined it with salt to create a truly unique seasoning to be used in savory applications, enhancing the sweetness of shellfish or boosting the umami in tomatoes.

Pink pepper vanilla
Pink pepper vanilla

An unusual pairing which changes preconceptions as to what vanilla is. A craft vanilla with floral, fruity and even spicy notes.

A global perspective

Chefs United®, the largest network of its kind, bring together chefs from every continent and from the entire culinary network – giving us access to what it is that different consumers want across the world. We asked some the chefs to share their favorite regional vanilla recipes with us.

South Africa, Melktert
Chef Basil Lotter
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Melktert, South Africa
Chef Basil Lotter
This delicious South African classic has stood the test of time

Melktert (the Afrikaans name for Milk Tart), is an absolute classic in South Africa; you see one at just about every event, from bake sales to birthdays. The tart consists of a sweet pastry filled with a creamy milk custard, and stems from the Dutch settlers who first came for the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in the 1600s.

In many ways, the tart is a product of the history of South Africa. The large proportion of milk in the tart (higher than that in similar Portuguese and Chinese recipes) shows the influence of the Dutch dairy farmers, while the addition of cinnamon to the top of the tart was introduced by Javanese slaves. Today, it’s one of our most popular dishes and is easier than it looks, so give the below recipe a go!

Instructions
  • To make the base:
    • Beat the sugar, egg, oil, margarine and vanilla together until light and fluffy.
    • Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add to the butter mixture. Mix well until you have a nice smooth pastry.
    • Line your pastry case with the pastry and bake in an oven preheated to 180C until the pastry is golden brown (around 10-15 minutes).
  • To make the milk tart filling:
    • Beat the egg whites until the form stiff peaks (use an electric whisk if you have one), and set aside.
    • With a whisk, mix the egg yolks together with the corn flour until you have a smooth mixture.
    • Heat the milk, condensed milk and sugar together at around 70 to 75C: take care not to let the milk burn. Stir the mixture as you heat it to ensure all the sugar dissolves.
    • Now add the egg yolk and corn flour mixture into the milk mixture. Stir well and keep stirring until the corn flour has cooked out and thickened up the milk.
    • Next stir in the vanilla and fold the whisked egg whites into the milk mixture.
    • Pour the filling into the baked pastry case and sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon over the top. Leave the tart to set in a fridge, ideally overnight.
Ingredients
  • For the pastry:
    • ¼lb margarine
    • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence 
    • Pinch of fine table salt
    • 2 cups of flour
    • 1 egg
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • For the milk tart filling:
    • 1 can condensed milk
    • 4 cans of milk (use the same can as the condensed milk to measure this)
    • 1 knob of butter (roughly 80g)
    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 4 tablespoons mazina (corn flour)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla  
Nigeria: Nigerian Cake
Chef Dansal Ngutu
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Nigerian Cake, Nigeria
Chef Dansal Ngutu
The perfect cake for every occasion

Nigerian cake is simple and sweet. There's not a lot going on in the cake but it tastes delicious. No chocolate, no whipped cream but we Nigerians love it and we are always searching for that unadulterated Nigerian Cake recipe for a cake that melts in the mouth.

Almost everyone has their own version of this recipe, often handed down through families, and sometimes you don’t know how the cake will turn out until it is out of the oven! We use this type of cake for all sorts of occasions, including weddings, so depending on what you’re making it for, you can add your own twist.

Instructions
  • Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Rub the inside of your cake pan with soft butter: for the quantities listed here, I use a 10inch tin with a 2.5inch depth.
  • Whisk the eggs until smooth and add to the creamed sugar/butter mixture. Mix until smooth and fluffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 150°C or 302°F. Add the vanilla extract (or any other flavours), the brandy and pre-soaked dry fruits (if using) to the mixture, and stir. If you’re making a Nigerian wedding cake, add some browning as this point to give the cake its dark color.  
  • Using a sieve, add the flour and baking powder to the other ingredients you’ve already mixed. Stir very well to incorporate everything.  
  • Now pour the mix into the greased cake pan. If you’re making a multicolor layered cake, divide the cake mix into the number of colors you want. Put these into separate bowls, add the colors, stir well and pour into the cake pan one after the other. Level out each layer as much as possible before pouring another.
  • Once you've added all the mix, gently lift and drop the pan several times to level out the cake. Don't worry if the top is not so smooth, once in the oven it will level out.
  • Place the cake in the middle of the oven. Bake for at least 2 hours before attempting to open the oven door to check the cake. It usually takes my cakes 2 hours to fully rise. If you open the oven door early, you’ll interrupt the baking process, so your cake may not be evenly cooked and will be harder than normal when done.
  • Please note, this is a guide: you should keep an eye on your cake until you notice that it’s no longer rising before opening the door. Check your cake is cooked by driving a knife into its center. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is ready. You can also check the cake checking it’s not stuck to the sides of the pan.  
  • The final check is to gently push the cake down in the middle with an open palm. If the cake springs back and there is no impression of your palm on the cake, it’s done.
  • Now, bring the cake out of the oven and let is stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Then leave to cool down completely before decorating the cake. That's how the Nigerian Cake is made. Enjoy it.
Ingredients
  • 500g plain flour
  • 12 medium eggs
  • 500g butter
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Half a cup of brandy
  • Dry fruits (optional)
  • Browning (if making a Nigerian wedding cake)
Brazil: Pudim de Baunilha
Chef Marcelo Santos
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Pudim de Baunilha, Brazil
Marcelo Santos
A Brazilian take on a classic crème caramel

Pudim de Baunilha or Vanilla Pudding is typical to the regional cuisines of São Paulo and Minas Gerais. You’ll often find it made with condensed milk in Brazilian recipes, which gives a sweeter taste. 

This sweet Brazilian pudding is not dissimilar to a crème brûlée, combining the delicious, sweet taste of vanilla with the rich, almost wintery taste of caramel. One of the most important things about this recipe is cooking the Pudim de Baunilha in the water bath; this ensures that the pudding is evenly cooked and achieves the delicious, smooth consistency evenly throughout the pudding.

Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 180C: the vanilla flan is cooked in a water bath so add a large roasting tin of hot water to the over. This needs to be big enough to accommodate the pan you will cook your flan in.
  • Add the sugar and water to a pan and place over a moderate heat to form the caramel: to avoid lumps in your caramel, don’t stir the mixture. Once it is golden or dark brown, remove it from the heat and add it to the pan you will use to cook your vanilla flan. Traditionally, this should be round with a hole in the center.
  • Beat together all the remaining ingredients until smooth. Carefully pour the mixture into the pan with the caramel in.
  • Place the pan into the water bath in the oven and leave to cook for 35 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool and then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  • Once set, remove from the fridge and remove the flan from the pan: you can heat the pan slightly to make this easier, and to melt the caramel slightly. Serve and enjoy.
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • I litre of milk
  • 4 eggs
Close
Melktert, South Africa
Chef Basil Lotter
This delicious South African classic has stood the test of time

Melktert (the Afrikaans name for Milk Tart), is an absolute classic in South Africa; you see one at just about every event, from bake sales to birthdays. The tart consists of a sweet pastry filled with a creamy milk custard, and stems from the Dutch settlers who first came for the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in the 1600s.

In many ways, the tart is a product of the history of South Africa. The large proportion of milk in the tart (higher than that in similar Portuguese and Chinese recipes) shows the influence of the Dutch dairy farmers, while the addition of cinnamon to the top of the tart was introduced by Javanese slaves. Today, it’s one of our most popular dishes and is easier than it looks, so give the below recipe a go!

Instructions
  • To make the base:
    • Beat the sugar, egg, oil, margarine and vanilla together until light and fluffy.
    • Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add to the butter mixture. Mix well until you have a nice smooth pastry.
    • Line your pastry case with the pastry and bake in an oven preheated to 180C until the pastry is golden brown (around 10-15 minutes).
  • To make the milk tart filling:
    • Beat the egg whites until the form stiff peaks (use an electric whisk if you have one), and set aside.
    • With a whisk, mix the egg yolks together with the corn flour until you have a smooth mixture.
    • Heat the milk, condensed milk and sugar together at around 70 to 75C: take care not to let the milk burn. Stir the mixture as you heat it to ensure all the sugar dissolves.
    • Now add the egg yolk and corn flour mixture into the milk mixture. Stir well and keep stirring until the corn flour has cooked out and thickened up the milk.
    • Next stir in the vanilla and fold the whisked egg whites into the milk mixture.
    • Pour the filling into the baked pastry case and sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon over the top. Leave the tart to set in a fridge, ideally overnight.
Ingredients
  • For the pastry:
    • ¼lb margarine
    • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence 
    • Pinch of fine table salt
    • 2 cups of flour
    • 1 egg
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • For the milk tart filling:
    • 1 can condensed milk
    • 4 cans of milk (use the same can as the condensed milk to measure this)
    • 1 knob of butter (roughly 80g)
    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 4 tablespoons mazina (corn flour)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla  
Close
Nigerian Cake, Nigeria
Chef Dansal Ngutu
The perfect cake for every occasion

Nigerian cake is simple and sweet. There's not a lot going on in the cake but it tastes delicious. No chocolate, no whipped cream but we Nigerians love it and we are always searching for that unadulterated Nigerian Cake recipe for a cake that melts in the mouth.

Almost everyone has their own version of this recipe, often handed down through families, and sometimes you don’t know how the cake will turn out until it is out of the oven! We use this type of cake for all sorts of occasions, including weddings, so depending on what you’re making it for, you can add your own twist.

Instructions
  • Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Rub the inside of your cake pan with soft butter: for the quantities listed here, I use a 10inch tin with a 2.5inch depth.
  • Whisk the eggs until smooth and add to the creamed sugar/butter mixture. Mix until smooth and fluffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 150°C or 302°F. Add the vanilla extract (or any other flavours), the brandy and pre-soaked dry fruits (if using) to the mixture, and stir. If you’re making a Nigerian wedding cake, add some browning as this point to give the cake its dark color.  
  • Using a sieve, add the flour and baking powder to the other ingredients you’ve already mixed. Stir very well to incorporate everything.  
  • Now pour the mix into the greased cake pan. If you’re making a multicolor layered cake, divide the cake mix into the number of colors you want. Put these into separate bowls, add the colors, stir well and pour into the cake pan one after the other. Level out each layer as much as possible before pouring another.
  • Once you've added all the mix, gently lift and drop the pan several times to level out the cake. Don't worry if the top is not so smooth, once in the oven it will level out.
  • Place the cake in the middle of the oven. Bake for at least 2 hours before attempting to open the oven door to check the cake. It usually takes my cakes 2 hours to fully rise. If you open the oven door early, you’ll interrupt the baking process, so your cake may not be evenly cooked and will be harder than normal when done.
  • Please note, this is a guide: you should keep an eye on your cake until you notice that it’s no longer rising before opening the door. Check your cake is cooked by driving a knife into its center. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is ready. You can also check the cake checking it’s not stuck to the sides of the pan.  
  • The final check is to gently push the cake down in the middle with an open palm. If the cake springs back and there is no impression of your palm on the cake, it’s done.
  • Now, bring the cake out of the oven and let is stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Then leave to cool down completely before decorating the cake. That's how the Nigerian Cake is made. Enjoy it.
Ingredients
  • 500g plain flour
  • 12 medium eggs
  • 500g butter
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Half a cup of brandy
  • Dry fruits (optional)
  • Browning (if making a Nigerian wedding cake)
Close
Pudim de Baunilha, Brazil
Marcelo Santos
A Brazilian take on a classic crème caramel

Pudim de Baunilha or Vanilla Pudding is typical to the regional cuisines of São Paulo and Minas Gerais. You’ll often find it made with condensed milk in Brazilian recipes, which gives a sweeter taste. 

This sweet Brazilian pudding is not dissimilar to a crème brûlée, combining the delicious, sweet taste of vanilla with the rich, almost wintery taste of caramel. One of the most important things about this recipe is cooking the Pudim de Baunilha in the water bath; this ensures that the pudding is evenly cooked and achieves the delicious, smooth consistency evenly throughout the pudding.

Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 180C: the vanilla flan is cooked in a water bath so add a large roasting tin of hot water to the over. This needs to be big enough to accommodate the pan you will cook your flan in.
  • Add the sugar and water to a pan and place over a moderate heat to form the caramel: to avoid lumps in your caramel, don’t stir the mixture. Once it is golden or dark brown, remove it from the heat and add it to the pan you will use to cook your vanilla flan. Traditionally, this should be round with a hole in the center.
  • Beat together all the remaining ingredients until smooth. Carefully pour the mixture into the pan with the caramel in.
  • Place the pan into the water bath in the oven and leave to cook for 35 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool and then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  • Once set, remove from the fridge and remove the flan from the pan: you can heat the pan slightly to make this easier, and to melt the caramel slightly. Serve and enjoy.
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • I litre of milk
  • 4 eggs

Delighting consumers worldwide

The pace of changing consumer preferences has never been quicker. Add to that the variety of tastes between regions, and you can see why it takes a global perspective informed by local knowledge to stay one step ahead.

Access all areas

Taste is an intensely personal thing. The only way to know what it is that makes a people in a particular region or market excited, is to experience it first-hand. That’s where Chefs United® comes in.

140 years and counting…

We’ve been pioneers in the world of vanilla for decades, but our passion for this incredible spice is as strong as ever and we know there is always more work to do, more to learn and something new just around the corner that will delight customers and consumers.

Heinrich Schaper
President Flavors Division

“Every day I’m inspired by my colleagues and our customers,” says Heinrich Schaper, Global President of Flavors Division at Symrise. “Working with them to create amazing solutions, explore new ideas and challenge the status quo is one of the best things about my role. The challenge of optimizing commercial performance and delivering great taste is something our global teams embrace. I find the teamwork here brings out the best in everyone; it refuels the imagination, and means we can go the extra mile to delight consumers and customers.”

Our focus will always be on creating flavor solutions that taste great and perform fantastically.

Heinrich Schaper, Global President of Flavors Division

“We’re also incredibly proud of our holistic business practice. We know that consumers increasingly care about the provenance of their food, and we also know that the work we’re doing in Madagascar is creating shared value for everyone involved. With our simply vanilla® brand we can cover all angles, from premium natural bourbon vanilla to great tasting flavor science that delivers outstanding performance in demanding applications. Our focus will always be on creating flavor solutions that taste great and perform fantastically.”