In recent times, consumer preferences for natural products have led to increasing demand for natural food additives, such as vanillin, benzaldehyde, and β-phenyl ethyl alcohol. Based on consumption, benzaldehyde is the second most important molecule in the flavor industry. It is widely used in food flavor, beverage, and fragrance industries. However, most of the quantity of benzaldehyde comes from the synthetic route. The annual world production of synthetic and natural benzaldehyde is 7000 tons and 100 tons, respectively. Benzaldehyde has a distinctive fruit flavor (as first extracted from bitter almonds), and it is widely used in food, beverages, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Thus, it is no surprise that the demand for natural benzaldehyde is increasing quickly. But the main drawback is the higher price of natural benzaldehyde as compared to the chemically synthesized counterpart. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to develop more cost-effective processes for natural benzaldehyde production.
Usually, natural benzaldehyde can be produced by the alkaline hydrolysis of laetrile (a simpler semisynthetic version of amygdalin/vitamin B17), or the conversion of natural cinnamon oil. The major production route for natural benzaldehyde is the alkaline hydrolysis of laetrile, but this implies high costs due to the toxic hydrocyanic acid that should be removed thoroughly. This is clearly in disagreement with the core principles of green synthesis. A better alternative is using raw materials such as natural cinnamon oil, which contains more than 80% cinnamaldehyde, and it is inexpensive relative to natural benzaldehyde. Hence the hydrolysis or oxidation of cinnamaldehyde to produce natural benzaldehyde is a much more promising option regarding the total cost and green synthesis aspects.
During the development process, Benzaldehyde has always been focused by Tech-Vina in researching production methods to optimize output and quality while minimizing the number of by-products in the production process. Currently, a factory for the Benzal production line with a capacity of 500kg/day is under construction. It is expected that in 2023, Tech-Vina will supply 250 tons of natural Benzaldehyde to the world market.