Vanilla is so popular, but it can only be produced in such a few places, that a large number of imitations have arisen.
Don’t let them trick you! It is important that you learn the differences between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla so that you really get all the properties and benefits of this wonderful spice. .
Pure Vanilla Extract
The best vanilla beans are the products of orchids that grow only in tropical climates.
Beware of "pure" vanilla extract that seems unusually cheap.
To be labeled vanilla extract, a gallon measure must contain 13.35% vanilla bean extractives (10-ounces of moisture-free solids).
The extract must be 35 % alcohol to meet FDA standards.
What is not listed in the Standard of Identity is sugar, corn syrup, caramel color or any other additives.
If you have issues with gluten or sugars, check if the vanilla is gluten-free, sugar-free and gmo-free.
By FDA definition, a "pure" extract means that the vanilla flavor can only come from vanilla beans and nothing else.
Pure vanilla extract that has no added sugar or corn syrup will last forever, aging like fine liquor.
Imitation vanilla is synthetic vanillin made in a laboratory.
Imitation vanilla is made from artificial flavorings.
If the product is clear, it’s 100% synthetic vanillin. If it is caramel color, it has been dyed with caramel color (which also contains sugar) or other dyes.
If you're tempted to substitute imitation vanilla for pure vanilla extract in a recipe you'll need twice as much imitation vanilla flavoring to match the strength of pure vanilla extract
Source: vanillaqueen.com/differences-pure-vanilla-extract-vanilla-flavor-imitation-vanilla/ thespruceeats.com/vanilla-extract-and-flavoring-1809275