The Wisconsin Mint Industry
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Because consumers are highly demanding of the taste
properties of mint in the products they use, the commercial mint crop is
taste-driven. Mint oil is a natural
flavoring. It remains an important
commodity because of the complexity of the oil Ė hundreds of different
compounds have been identified through laboratory analysis.
Although some of these compounds have been synthesized in the lab, the
complex nuances of flavor that are found in natural mint have so far defied
attempts to develop a commercially viable, full bodied, artificial mint
The mint plant is highly sensitive to soil and climate
conditions. As a result, mint
oilís flavor and composition can vary by state, and even by region within a
state. Consumers of the end
products made with oil are very discriminating, and manufacturers of these
products, therefore, often require mint from a specific region.
Mint is a highly-concentrated essence so that the percentage of oil used in mint-flavored products is extremely low. One drum of mint oil, weighing about 400 pounds, can flavor more than 5 million sticks of chewing gum or 400,000 tubes of toothpaste.