Real Vanilla

Vanilla Extract vs Essence – do YOU know the difference?

29th Jan 2024

What is the difference between vanilla extract and vanilla essence? This is a question that we get asked a lot, but do YOU know the answer?

Did you know...?

95% of vanillin used in the West is artificial. A 1% incursion into this market would double the demand for REAL vanilla.

The most important thing about LittlePod’s pure bourbon vanilla extract is that it’s not vanilla essence. Not everyone understands the difference between the two, but do please trust us on this, it’s a rather big one.

There is no real substitute for pure vanilla – the product of a precious orchid that is grown in the world’s Equatorial regions – but there is, unfortunately, an artificial alternative that is cheap to purchase in the supermarket. This synthetic form of vanilla is not grown on a rainforest vine or derived from a pod or bean, but rather made from a by-product of a petrochemical that is used in the wood pulp industry.

Unlike REAL vanilla, which contains more than 250 complex compounds, artificial vanilla can boast just one, vanillin, which gives us only the scent.

To repeat the all-important point above, there is no real substitute…

LittlePod's pure bourbon vanilla extract

Historically, vanillin was derived from the polymer lignin – a by-product of an environmentally-harmful wood-pulping process – whereas these days, much comes from the chemical synthesis of two petrochemical-related compounds: guaiacol and glyoxylic acid.

In the modern baking industry, synthetically-produced vanillin dominates, but is this how you want YOUR food to be flavoured?

Let the chemist experiment over his tubes and phials as he will, he can never devise anything in the way of imitation to compare with Nature’s own handiwork; the secret formula for the delicate qualities of vanilla, which minister to taste and smell alike, cannot be wrested from her.

Joseph Burnett, US flavour manufacturer

It is so important for us as consumers to always demand the best natural ingredients and to ask chefs and manufacturers: “Do you use REAL vanilla?” Likewise the companies using the real thing must shout about it and not keep it as their secret ingredient.

Here at LittlePod, we are proud to be making our contribution with our vanilla extract, our natural vanilla paste and our Indonesian, Tahitian and organic Madagascan vanilla pods. You too can make a difference and always choose to use real, natural products in YOUR cakes, bakes and other creations…

Like to join our Campaign for Real Vanilla? Follow @little_pod on Instagram, tag us in your posts and tell us how you like to use your favourite LittlePod products!