Malcolm Parker II 1930-2021

Monday, February 1st, 2021

Malcolm Parker II, our Chairman, passed away on January 24, 2021 following a courageous battle with Coronavirus. Our company has lost an anchor who spent over six of his nine decades dedicated to Parker Flavors. He worked tirelessly to continue a successful, family-owned and run business as his father and grandfather before him.

Colorfully warm and delightfully quirky, Malcolm brimmed with charm and enthusiasm for his passions. Chief among those were American history, big band and classical music, and lacrosse. An accomplished singer and member of the Handel Choir and various church choirs, his deep, baritone voice commanded attention, belying his small frame. He founded and played goalie for the St. Paul’s Alumni Lacrosse team. His sunny disposition and tenacity buoyed all who knew him. His legacy is indelible.

Moving Forward

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

We truly appreciate your confidence and trust, particularly as we navigate these challenging times. With that said, we’re pleased to announce our highest-ever food safety score: 970/1000. Achieving this milestone amidst the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates our resilience and commitment to quality as fundamental to everything we do. Parker Flavors continues to grow and thrive, completing a major facility expansion, thanks to the loyalty of customers like you. Look forward to building on this successful track record together.

Responding to COVID-19

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

Given the outbreak of COVID-19, Parker Flavors has undertaken the following measures to maintain continuity and safety during this challenging time. (more…)

Quality System Sound

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Parker Flavors scores 945/1000 on an audit of its quality system from AIB. The company also received high marks from a number of large, publicly held food companies this year, demonstrating its commitment to manufacturing the finest flavors reliably and safely.

Quality System Excels

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Parker Flavors receives a 930/1000 food safety rating during a recent audit from AIB. Our customers know we prioritize quality in everything we do. They rely on Parker Flavors to manufacture authentic and safe flavors so their products taste exceptional.

Parvan Vanilla

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

We introduced our Nat. Bourbon Vanilla WONFs in the early stages of the previous Vanilla Crisis of 2000. Since then, in high markets and low, this time-tested flavor has proven its worth. New botanical extractives have afforded us an opportunity to create yet another clean, non-GMO, organic option, not dependent on the vanilla market.

Parvan Vanilla is made entirely without vanilla beans, yet contains rich, creamy, smooth, sweet vanilla notes. While it must be emphasized we have not replicated Mother Nature, we have, once again, redefined what’s possible. Characterized by a delicious variety of botanicals and fortified with components found in vanilla beans, Parvan Vanilla offers an exceptional, natural solution in an inflated market.

With Vanilla Extract prices pushing $300 gallon for as far as the eye can see, Parker Flavors now delivers two robust quality vanilla solutions ranging $50-100 gallon. Parvan Vanilla — our latest, most affordable and sustainable alternative yet!

Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Headed

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

The vanilla bean market’s rise since 2015 is rooted in a fragile, unstable economic model. Prices fall when the crop is plentiful and quality is high. Prices increase when the crop is short and quality is low. Why must we pay more for less quality? Limited competition, a labor-intensive crop, poorly compensated farmers, unbridled speculation and devastating weather make vanilla vulnerable to unquenchable demand, perverse incentives and dramatic price swings.

Historically, Madagascar is home to 65% of a 2MT world vanilla crop. Following the previous Vanilla Crisis, ample supply yielded prices in the $30–$80 kg range from 2004-14. Farmers, particularly in India, Indonesia and Uganda switched to more profitable crops over this period, planting the seeds of the current crisis. As yields shrank and global demand increased, prices began their ascent. To make matters worse, farmers were incentivized to pick beans early and adopt quick-curing methods to cash in on high prices even sooner. These practices further diminished output and quality, pushing prices to $500 kg.

Just when it was assumed the situation could not get any worse, a cyclone last March in Madagascar destroyed 20% of the crop and wreaked further havoc, sending prices to $600 kg!

Today, Madagascar claims 85% of the market, effectively the only vanilla producer that matters. What further distinguishes this Vanilla Crisis is an unrelenting demand for natural flavors by the world’s largest food producers. This new demand is fully baked-in and permanent. As a result, even after prices inevitably fall, a very “sticky” high price floor will prevail until competing countries reenter the market. The only practical and sustainable option for industrial users is to source natural alternatives to vanilla extract.

Vanilla Crisis II

Friday, October 7th, 2016

With the 4th quarter upon us, we had hoped for more a favorable vanilla bean market outlook. Given a relatively strong crop year in Madagascar, industry sources expected prices to at least plateau through year-end. However, we’ve been warning for some time that limited competition, overwhelming global demand and poor farming incomes have driven the market to unsustainability. Now, that bill has come due, as speculators and traders aggressively test the market.

Difficult as this is to swallow, wholesale prices for vanilla beans have doubled yet again to $200 lb. Pure Vanilla Extract now exceeds $200 gallon — a level not seen since 2003, the peak of the last Vanilla Crisis. At these prices, the product has simply lost much of its value. We are not expecting relief until well into 2017, and it’s anyone’s guess whether that will in fact be substantial.

Therefore, after careful consideration, Parker Flavors has decided to dedicate scarce and valuable vanilla beans toward the production of high-value, sustainable Natural Vanillas. If you’re still using Pure Vanilla Extract, we strongly urge you convert to one of our Natural Vanillas as soon as possible. No changes in formulation are necessary and you will gain a measure of protection from the seven-fold increase since July, 2015.

Vanilla prices soar

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

As prices again double, we are clearly now in the throes of a second vanilla crisis this young century. Vanilla Extract is set to reach $100 gallon. How much of the increase is due to actual shortages versus hoarding or speculation is presently unknown. However, the principle causes involve longer-term, underlying market forces. Overwhelming demand is pushing the crop to its absolute limits. Reliant on few producers, poor farmers and distorted market incentives, there’s little wonder vanilla remains prone to cost shocks and supply imbalances.

Consider our Natural Vanillas or brace for $200 gallon Vanilla Extract if trends continue as they did 15 years ago.


Monday, October 19th, 2015

Increasing demand for natural ingredients is threatening sustainability for many of the world’s most popular crops, from coffee and cocoa to vanilla. And, though many extol the virtues of sustainability, several high-profile companies this year are actually undermining the practice. Clean labeling and purity are now pursued for otherwise highly sweetened candy and cereal, products not generally considered or expected to be healthy. In the absence of evidence that artificial flavors, GMOs or propylene glycol cause harm, much of the food industry has nonetheless decided to feed misconceptions.

Alternatively, The Museum of Food and Drink Museum in Brooklyn, NY exhibit, “Making It & Faking It”, promotes an educational approach, dispelling the myth that artificial flavors are less healthy than natural flavors. Program Director Emma Boast states,  “You must consider more philosophically what natural actually means to you. Because when it comes to food labels, aside from a higher cost, the actual difference between natural and artificial flavors is slight.” Their exhibit runs from October 28th through February.

Along those lines is an illuminating article on flavors:

We are very concerned higher costs and unobtainable raw materials are sure to follow this new, permanent demand for naturally flavored candy and cereal. So, Parker Flavors will continue promoting custom, natural flavors less dependent on scarce sources.

Vanilla update

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Vanilla bean prices more doubled in July, sending prices to highs not seen since the ebb of the 2000-05 crisis. Much of the current pressure is a consequence of diminished competition. Madagascar, home to 65% of global output the past quarter-century, now produces 90% of the crop. Other would-be competitors, India, Indonesia and Uganda, account for less output due to unsustainably low prices the past several years.

Additionally, several large US bakery, candy and cereal manufacturers announced plans this year to remove artificial flavors, among other ingredients, from their products. This new, permanent demand will only drive vanilla prices higher.

So we are encouraging customers consider a more promising path forward. Our Natural Bourbon Vanillas are a great tasting alternative to Vanilla Extract. Primarily characterized by Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extractives and fortified exclusively with other natural ingredients, these vanillas are equal in strength, practically priced and sustainable long-term.

Ultimately, farmers need a better return for their labor if we are to achieve a more predictable and sustainable vanilla crop. Otherwise, volatility will continue to plague the world’s most popular flavor. At their peak in 2003, wholesale extract prices increased to over $220 gallon, a 10-fold increase in just five years. In the meantime, let’s hope history does not repeat. But if it does, at least you will be protected with Parker Flavors’ Natural Bourbon Vanillas.

Come see us at IFT 2015 in Chicago

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Parker Flavors is once again excited to be exhibiting at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Expo in Chicago from July 12-14. The expo is THE place to discover the industry’s largest collection of food ingredients, equipment, processing, and packaging suppliers, all under one roof. Please visit us at Booth #4921!

Parker Flavors earns high rating for Quality System

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Parker Flavors receives a rating of 920 out of 1000 for flavor manufacturing from AIB International, a highly respected food industry group. The non-profit organization conducts thorough inspections to ensure proper practices and procedures are in place to promote food safety. Our customers will continue rely on us for superior quality flavors and support.


Natural Flavors: Delivering Sales and Value

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Parker Flavors CEO, Tim Parker, is featured in Candy & Snack Today, discussing the newest trends and perceptions of natural flavors. Do consumers really perceive a difference between natural and artificial flavors? Technical experts weigh in on formulation issues, taste, trends and the value proposition. Article written by Pat Fernberg.

BBJ’s Top 50 Oldest family-owned businesses in Baltimore

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Parker Flavors is ranked 25th in the Baltimore Business Journal’s Top 50 Oldest Family-owned Businesses in the Baltimore Area. Rankings were determined by year founded and announced in September 2013.

IFT 2013

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Parker Flavors is exhibiting at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Expo in Chicago from July 13 – 16. The IFT event is the largest food ingredients show in the world, annually bringing together experts from academia, government and industry all in one place. Please visit us at booth #4161.

Quality System Rated Superior

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

certification-aibParker Flavors has again received the gold standard “superior” rating for flavor manufacturing from AIB International, a highly respected food industry group. The non-profit organization conducts thorough inspections to ensure proper practices and procedures are in place to promote food safety. Our customers will continue rely on us for superior quality flavors and support.

Make Mother Nature Jealous!

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Ever wonder why so many so-called natural flavors taste artificial? The goal of creating natural flavors should encompass more than simply meeting FDA disclosure and labeling requirements. After all, what good is having a natural label if your product still tastes synthetic? At Parker Flavors we make flavors that excite, satisfying a higher standard — your taste buds! So we proudly introduce our TruFlavors™ line to highlight our most natural tasting, true-to-life profiles. Manufactured and sourced from premium ingredients, these flavors are crafted to stand up to the toughest of scrutiny. And, while we do not pretend to have replicated Mother Nature, we are redefining expectations. To earn our TruFlavor™ distinction, a given flavor must approach a level of quality that very closely simulates its actual source. Ask a representative for specific profiles and samples. Our TruFlavors™ might just give you a whole new appreciation for natural!

Spray-Dried Powder Flavors

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

As part of a constant effort to meet the needs of our customers, Parker Flavors is excited to introduce encapsulated or spray-dried flavor technology to our wide array of outstanding food and beverage powder flavors. Unlike standard plated powders, encapsulation allows us to manufacture our proven flavor profiles to an even stronger line of powdered flavors for a host of dry and extreme heat applications. As always, Parker Flavors will continue to seek innovative flavor solutions for our valued customers. Please inquire for more information.

Parker Flavors Introduces New Brand

Friday, May 15th, 2009

With 110 years experience as a leader in quality and service to the bakery, beverage, candy and dairy industries, our company is adopting a new identity as Parker Flavors. Our goal is to better reflect what has been the scope of our mission for four generations: producing a broad range of high value flavors and consistently putting customers first. While vanilla is the core of our business, our new identity expresses fully our longstanding commitment and competency in all flavors botanical, fruit, nut and specialty. Those familiar with our world class vanillas will want to consider realizing the same quality and value from these many other flavors as well.

parker-flavors-founderThe image celebrated in our new logo is that of our founder, Malcolm Parker, whose proud history truly embodies the determination and perseverance that define the American entrepreneurial spirit. Malcolm originally worked as a successful flavor chemist and salesman with the William Hay Company in Baltimore until he was blinded in an unfortunate trolley car accident and fired from his position. Using his considerable experience and knowledge of flavors, he decided to start Parker Vanilla Products. Malcolm’s former customers were eager to continue their relationship with him and new acquisitions quickly came to appreciate his deep commitment to personal service and quality. As a consequence, his neophyte enterprise survived the Great Depression and thrived in subsequent years. Today, Malcolm’s strong, customer-centered business principles continue to govern all that we do.

In sum, we hope our brand achieves that highly prized, timeless quality which speaks both to the enduring business values of our roots and to the opportunities presented in the current environment. So it is with a humbling sense of gratitude and a spirit of renewed vision that our company is poised once again to embrace the future with a brand new identity. We look forward to continuing to serve your needs and expanding our relationships together beyond vanilla with a legacy of great taste as Parker Flavors!

Malcolm Parker Celebrates 50th Year!

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

This year, Malcolm Parker II marks his 50th year with Parker Flavors. Hired by his father and then-President Llewellyn Parker in 1959, Malcolm has spent most of his career as an account executive, promoting the company with characteristic loyalty, perseverance and pride. Currently, he serves as our Chairman. Please join us in congratulating Malcolm for a career well spent and serving as a model for us all!

Robert E. Kerney 1922-2008

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Our former longtime president, Robert E. Kerney, passed away today. Following his service as a Corporal in World War II at the Battle of the Bulge, he was hired by then-President Llewellyn Parker in 1945. Bob’s energy, enthusiasm, and larger-than-life personality made him a natural salesman and successful executive. Beginning in 1960, Bob served as President until his retirement in 1991, at which time he continued consulting for the company. Bob’s dedication and passion for Parker Flavors will always be remembered by those of us so fortunate to work with him and share his friendship.

New Butter Emulsion

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Following considerable research, Parker Flavors proudly introduces our new Butter Emulsion without any added diacetyl. Present in butter, diacetyl is also a concentrated and widely used flavoring ingredient that has come under scrutiny in recent years for its potentially adverse effect on respiratory health. As a consequence, we developed this new bakery emulsion for those looking for a complete butter profile without diacetyl. Our new Butter Emulsion is available in both natural and artificial form. Please contact us for more information and samples.

Celebrating our 110th Year Anniversary

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Celebrating 110 years of consistent quality this anniversary year, Parker Flavors has indeed come a long way since 1897. At the same time, the company remains true to the values imbued by its founder Malcolm Parker. The family owned and operated business manufactures a complete line of botanical, fruit, nut and specialty flavors. AIB superior rated and completely Kosher, we also deliver high-value custom flavor blends with prompt service to meet today’s demanding production timetables.

Parker Flavors Expands to New Facility

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

In November, the company moved operations to Holabird Industrial Park, conveniently located one mile off I-95 in Baltimore City. The new, larger facility enables Parker Flavors to accommodate continued growth without compromising the unbeatable service customers have come to expect. Parker Flavors remains uniquely positioned to deliver an ever-increasing array of flavors and value to the food industry.