6 Industry Experts on Flavor & Fragrance Innovation

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The August issue of Perfumer & Flavorist magazine profiles the top-tier flavor and fragrance companies, in addition to a number of innovative smaller players. Here, we gather a number of experts from these companies to discuss the forces shaping today’s flavor and fragrance landscape, including globalization, transparency, health and wellness, regulations, and raw material concerns.

Natural and Organic

“The main trend to have an affect on the industry,” says Treatt CEO Hugo Bovill, “will be the strong consumer preference for knowing more about the provenance of the product’s raw materials—especially in food and how the ‘opaque’ flavor and fragrance industry can cope or manage this desire for transparency.”

It is here that natural and organic issues come into play. Raymond Hughes, president, ingredients, flavors division, A.M. Todd, says, “Many consumers place a greater level of trust in products certified as organic.” He goes on to note this priority in his own organization in light of the recent acquisition by A.M. Todd of Moore Ingredients.

Yet Bovill notes that the call for organic materials has led to some soul-searching within the industry “as to whether the flavor industry can deliver ‘100% true organic products to true believers’ or if, in time, the industry will be seen as having ‘greenwashed’ the consumer by delivering so-called organic flavors.” Any such misstep, he concludes, could harm opportunities in 100% FTNF (from the named fruit) organic natural flavorings.

Hughes concludes that companies will need to rely on reputation to succeed in the natural and organic qualities. “Similar to the way investors seek the shares of reliable, quality companies in difficult economic times,” he says, “so too the food and beverage industry will increasingly look toward long-standing trustworthy suppliers, especially in the wake of recent issues relating to ingredients from developing countries.”

For Philippe Maubert, CEO of Robertet, these ingredients—existing and new—could be in danger due to growing regulatory pressures. Such issues, he explains, drive R&D regulatory budgets to climb. “This is important and necessary work,” Maubert says, “but it will continue to divert resources away from the industry’s core research activity, which is to innovate and continually commercialize novel raw materials.”

Functional Foods

“With the increase in the number of health conscious consumers,” says T. Hasegawa president and CEO Tokujiro Hasegawa, “we are seeing a big trend in the so-called ‘functional foods’ area. In Japan, this trend started out with the green tea products and now it has expanded into the oolong tea and black tea segments. We expect this trend to expand into the sports drink areas, nutritional and supplement areas and even into the sauces and mayonnaise food segments.”

Hughes believes this trend provides the flavor industry with many new opportunities: “As more food and beverage companies look to add beneficial ingredients (ginseng, green tea, Echinacea, etc.) there is a need for expertise in masking the off notes these may impart.”


To Cargill Flavor Systems general manager (Americas) Imre Havasi’s thinking, “The rapidly increasing spending power in Asia and Latin America will have a big effect on retail products and therefore our industry.” drom fragrances president Ferdinand Storp concurs. “Getting used to new tastes, attitudes and lifestyles will be the future,” he says. “We need to get in the right mindset and need to be open to accept this."

Additional Notes 

  • Storp: “I also believe biotechnology and genetic engineering will be areas to explore. We tend to get stuck and live with things from the past, but the future will be to challenge these ways and really create something new.” 
  • Maubert also notes the direct employment of perfumers by fragrance industry customers, which is changing the business. “…Fragrance suppliers must reach deeper into accounts and commit to working more intimately with those perfumers,” he says.