17 Dec Inverse: What Is Artificial Banana Flavor Made of?
There are bananas, and then there are banana-flavored things. Laffy Taffy is my personal favorite, but Runts, Hi-Chews, and jelly beans also capture perhaps not this fruit’s essence but an idea of it.
Where did this banana-like flavor come from? The popular narrative is a tale of two bananas: the Gros Michel and the Cavendish. The Gros Michel was the dominating supermarket banana until the 1950s. That’s when the fungus Fusarium oxysporum all but wiped it out. Then the Cavendish, more resilient to the fungus, took Gros Michel’s place in the produce section. But, the story goes that the Gros Michel was the basis for artificial banana flavoring. Since most of us enjoying banana candy today are only familiar with the Cavendish, that’s why banana flavor differs from actual banana.