Vanilla Extract: Is Pure Really Worth The Money?
Cheryl Lin
Maple Grove Elementary
Floor Location : J 207 D

This project evaluates whether or not pure vanilla extract, being approximately more than 5 times the price of artificial vanilla extract, is really worth its expensive price. In this project, the main focus is on the differences concerning the taste and health benefits/risks of the two types of vanilla extract - pure and artificial. Research is done to understand the two types of vanilla extract: what it actually is, what it is made of, how it is made, what makes it named differently, and its effect on human health based on scientific explanations. An experiment is made to understand the taste factor of making this decision of which type of vanilla extract is used. Students in intermediate grades at Maple Grove Elementary were given two different-shaped cookies (both made from the same batch but was split in half so one had pure vanilla extract and the other had artificial vanilla extract). The subjects of this experiment were asked to answer the following questions regarding what they tasted: “Do you taste a difference between the two cookies? Are they the same?”, “Which cookie do you think is made from pure vanilla extract? Which is made from artificial vanilla extract?”, “Which cookie do you think tastes better? How would you rate each cookie on a scale of one to ten?”; then they explained their experience in baking. The project forms a conclusion that although there isn’t really a difference in taste for the average every-day cookie lovers, there are definitely big differences in the health benefits of the two different types of vanilla extract.