The series of articles “Before I Forget” published in Perfumer & Flavorist resulted in a number of letters from overseas, Some of the writers suggested a consulting arrangement in which I would offer flavor formulations of interest to them. Partly prompted by a desire to remain retired, but mostly by the conviction that the purchase of formulations is a waste of money, I explained to each potential client that although general flavor information exchange could be of value, unless one had the in-house ability to adapt that information to the customer’s product and to specific country or area tastes, the information is useless.
I have remained somwhat abreast in our flavor technology by a number of overseas volunteer projects sponsored by the International Executive Service Corp (IESC). This private organization sends retired volunteers with specific know-how to third world countries requesting help in a particular discipline. The volunteer receives no pay but travels comfortably with spouse, stays at very good facilities and receives an adequate per diem for meals and normal daily needs. It offers a wonderful opportunity for the volunteers to see foreign lands, get to know the people, and erase the image of the “Ugly American.”
The first assignment was in Egypt. Here the son of the owner of an Egyptian company that grew and processed spices decided to expand into flavors. Originally an arrangement was made with a mid-sized English firm for a formulation exchange, To produce them, $30,000 of raw materials was purchased. Sales personnel were hired but not a single sale was made. I saw the formulations and they were legitimate. However, they did not suit the local tastes and were too expensive to compete with local manufacturers. After two years of being prodded by the father to move the inventory, the son turned to lESC for help and yours truly became a volunteer.