According to the organizers:
“Made with natural and artificial flavors.” If you’ve shopped in a supermarket, chances are you’ve seen these words. In recent years, the prevalence of added flavors in packaged foods and beverages has received increased attention in the media. These flavors are found in everything from butter to orange juice to breakfast cereal. Yet debate abounds over the effects of added flavors on our health, our relationship with food, and the environment. Some argue that lab-made flavors have been a boon for consumers, offering cheaper alternatives to natural flavors, as well introducing greater variety into our diets. Others note that added flavors have had a deleterious effect on our relationship with food, flattening the nuance and complexity found in naturally-flavored foods. And some suggest that flavors may play an important role in regulating our appetites—and, by extension, our waistlines.
How do added flavors influence our food choices? Are they a crutch for the food industry, or can they improve the sensory experience of food? What’s the difference between “artificial” and “natural” flavors, and how should we define these terms? Join a distinguished panel of experts for a lively conversation on these issues and more.
About the panelists:
Nadia Berenstein is a Doctoral Candidate in History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently working on her dissertation, a history of the flavor industry, flavor science, and flavor additives in the United States. You can learn more about her and her work at her blog: Flavor Added.
Mark Schatzker is the author of The Dorito Effect and Steak. His award-winning journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, many other distinguished publications. You can follow him on Twitter at: @MarkSchatzker.
Dana Small, PhD is the Deputy Director for Research at The John B. Pierce Laboratory for Physiology and Health in the Modern Environment at the Yale University School of Medicine. Her work is directed toward understanding the neural mechanisms underlying taste, flavor, and feeding in the human brain using neuroimaging, neuropsychology, and psychophysics methodologies in healthy and disordered populations.”