At the WPC—Gilles Andrier

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Leading up to the start of the 8th World Perfumery Congress in Cannes, France, which is now in full swing, P&Fnow spoke to industry experts presenting at the event. Here, P&Fnow chats with Gilles Andrier, CEO of Givaudan, who spoke this morning (June 6) at the WPC about “The Noses of Tomorrow.”

P&Fnow: In your opinion, where does the fragrance industry stand in 2007?

Andrier: For Givaudan, the past two years have shown strong growth in our fragrance business. In 2006, our fragrance business unit showed the best growth in the history of Givaudan, with sales advancing 8.2% in Swiss Francs. However, this has not been the case for the underlying market, which we estimated grew 2–3% in the same period. Thus, in 2007 the overall fragrance industry continues to face very different markets, with fast growth stemming from the emerging markets and more stagnant sales momentum in some of the more mature markets.

This means that we have to understand what the consumer wants and to deliver products that are successful with end consumers. This will be as important for the fragrance industry in 2007 as it has been in the past.

Innovation continues to play a key role and is the driver for the fragrance industry going forward. To be successful in these diverse markets and to be successful with the more educated and savvier consumer, you really need to be a leader in this industry. This is not only meant in terms of size, but more importantly, by being able to develop and deliver the innovative and unique products that will be successful in the end.

P&Fnow: What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the fragrance industry today?

Andrier: We at Givaudan believe that many of the so-called challenges are actually opportunities. Thus, due to the implementation of the European regulatory framework for chemicals, or REACH, we look at each new molecule's safety and environmental impact at an early stage of development. It is our goal to establish the industry leadership in this area and we have a dedicated global organization that advises our customers in regulatory matters.

In addition, the rise in demand for natural ingredients is a great opportunity to enhance and showcase our global InnovativeNaturals platform. We believe that the move towards a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle is not just a "trend." It will continue and grow. To meet this demand we already have a set of natural raw materials that are certified by Ecocert [a control and certification organization]. Our InnovativeNaturals program will help us to further identify many more new molecules stemming from naturals. At the same time, we have the chance to source our raw materials in an ethical way through partnerships with local indigenous communities.

Instead of using the word challenge, we at Givaudan would say there is a threat of increased commoditization of formerly unique fragrance products. This is due, just to name one example, to an ever-increasing rate of fine fragrances launches each year. In addition, fragrances surround people more than ever—in the car, in shower gel and as a fragranced candle in a room. But this is also a great opportunity! A fragrance can only be as good as its ingredients are and thus, through unique and innovative products and based on the talent of our creative perfumers, we will deliver the successes of tomorrow.

P&Fnow: What will make your company successful moving forward? 

Andrier: Of course it is impossible to predict the future, but I firmly believe that we have the right mix of creative perfumers, cutting-edge technology and consumer understanding tools to be successful in the future. Especially now—after the acquisition of Quest International—we have even greater capabilities in all areas. By combining the best of both companies, we have the talent and technology to deliver unique products that the demanding customer wants.

Our focus going forward is not on being the leader in terms of size in our industry but we want to lead based on our ability to innovate and to be creative. That being said, our size will definitely help us to achieve this. Being bigger means we have enhanced capabilities when it comes to technology and consumer understanding. It also gives us the opportunity to focus on special programs—such as the InnovativeNaturals platform mentioned above—while, at the same time, still having our eye on the day-to-day business.

P&Fnow: What do you like most about working in the fragrance industry?

Andrier: What I like most about this industry is the tremendous luck we have to work with two out of the five senses, delivering emotions through fragrances or flavors. This direct connection with the consumer makes our industry unique.

In addition, I am excited about the tremendous opportunities our industry has moving forward, particularly with the growing demand for natural ingredients, which enriches the creativity of our perfumers and their palettes. We are also in a position to build success with our clients when we deliver the authentic and unique products the consumer demands. This is why we at Givaudan are so passionate about this business.