The Flavour and Fragrance Industry Sectors and Materials

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Basically, three main subdivisions can be distinguished [6]:

- essential oils and natural extracts

- aroma chemicals

- formulated flavours and fragrances.

While essential oils and natural extracts, which are obtained from natural resources by various processes, mainly constitute complex mixtures, aroma chemicals are uniform compounds, which can be both of natural or synthetic origin. A number of representatives of frequently used aroma chemicals show an enormous discrepancy between synthetic and natural material. Raspberry ketone shall be used as an example here: for the year 1992, an estimated yearly worldwide consumption of 400 kg of natural material is countered by the 300-fold amount of synthetic material which found industrial usage [8].

Formulated flavours and fragrances are complex blends of aromatic materials such as essential oils, aroma chemicals and natural extracts. Depending on their intended usage and the type of flavour release envisioned by product design, they are available in concentrated form, diluted in solvents or bound to carriers.

Fragrance Blends

Aroma Chemicals 12%

Fragrance Blends

Aroma Chemicals 12%

Essential oils

(including natural extracts) 12%

Flavour Blends 41%

Fig. 1.4: Market share of the individual sectors of the flavour and fragrance industry (2002, estimated by Freedonia Group, C&EN estimates)

Essential oils

(including natural extracts) 12%

Flavour Blends 41%

Fig. 1.4: Market share of the individual sectors of the flavour and fragrance industry (2002, estimated by Freedonia Group, C&EN estimates)

Perfume Industry Teechnology
Fig. 1.5: Industrial usage of flavour and fragrance materials [9]

The Flavour and Fragrance Industry - Trends, Expectations, Functionality

The demand for food flavourings has been constantly growing over the last 100 years as a result of the dramatic changes caused by our increasingly industrialised life-style. The shift of food production from the individual household to craftsmen and on to the food industry was accompanied by an increasing need for flavours.

Whereas earlier, technologically caused flavour losses were often the reason for the addition of flavourings, improved technology did not lead to a reduced demand for flavourings. This is a result of changed consumer expectations that went hand in hand with improved standard of living and changed life-styles and philosophy of life [1]. Today this trend can again be observed in new industrially developing countries.

In the 1950s and 1960s, consumers welcomed technological advances and were fascinated by and had a positive attitude towards progress. Better tasting, strongly flavoured food was just as acceptable as new convenience products, which often still required compromises in taste. The acceptance of synthetic materials was all-embracing; this was also the case in the flavour sector.

In the following decades, consumer attitudes changed dramatically: food and its quality evolved into a symbol of personality, expressed by the slogan 'you are what you eat'. Health, fitness and diet became the precursors of all current trends up to the turn of the century. Today, especially wellness, well-being and a well-balanced lifestyle have to be added. The fortification with vitamins and minerals results in products that implicate pharmacological benefits, a trend which is increasingly called for by consumers.

Demographics, therefore, play an increasingly important role in today's flavour industry [10].

The informed chemophobic consumer of the multi-media age of the 1990s was already rather demanding [10, 11]:

- natural, pure, whole

- freshness

- vegetarian products

- ethnic foods

- high fibre content

- high vitamin content

- low calories

- low cholesterol

- low caffeine

- low nicotine

All these attributes and a number of others continue to characterise the current food trends. Additionally, health, wellness, variety and anti-aging are the major driving forces of today's functional foods. Never before has the consumer been so sensitive to the correlation between health consciousness, diet and long life, nutrition and fortification with a simultaneous acceptance and growing consumption of better tasting, ready-to-use convenience foods [12, 13].

While the unbroken strength of the focus on 'all natural, food-minus (especially low-fat) and food-plus' continues, we have to add the following aspects which drive our consumer trends today:

- healthy

- low sugar, low carbohydrate, low glycemic (with all aspects of the glycemic index (GI), and GI reference labelling)

- low sodium

- fortification with minerals (calcium on top) and vitamins

- functional

- wholegrain

- organic

- no additives and no preservatives - a very strong recent trend resulting from the discussions on allergies and intolerances

- gluten free

- portion control as an aspect of diet and daily requirements.

The results of all current trends are more and more convenient products which combine many of the actual tendencies (e.g. new soups classified as 'all natural, high fibre, wholegrain, cholesterol and additive-free, fortified with minerals') in products which possess a good window of opportunity for fast and successful market entry. Supported by skilful and clever sales promotion, it is suggested to consumers, especially the youngest ones, that 'it's cool to eat healthy'.

The aspects mentioned above certainly constitute important trends on a worldwide basis; however, it has to be taken into account that the individual trends are valued differently, depending on culture and geographic region. The evaluation of 'Food-Minus' and 'Food-Plus' in the different regions of the world market is depicted as an example in Tables 1.1 and 1.2.

Table 1.1: Trends in 'Food-Minus' in different markets (2004) [14]

Latin America

1. low calorie

2. low fat

3. low sugar

4. no additives, no preservatives

5. no cholesterol

North America

1. low carbohydrate

2. low fat

3. no additives, no preservatives

4. low sugar

5. low calorie

Asia/Pacific

1. no additives, no preservatives

2. low fat

3. low sugar

4. low cholesterol

5. low calorie

Europe

1. low fat

2. no additives, no preservatives

3. low sugar

4. low calorie

5. low cholesterol

Table 1.2: Trends in 'Food-Plus' in different markets (2004) [14] *

Latin America

1. Vit/Min* fortified

2. all natural

3. added fibre

4. wholegrain

5. added calcium

North America

1. all natural

2. organic

3. Vit/Min* fortified

4. vegetarian

5. add calcium

Asia/Pacific

1. Vit/Min* fortified

2. add calcium

3. all natural

4. vegetarian

5. functional

Europe

1. Vit/Min* fortified

2. vegetarian

3. organic

4. all natural

5. gluten free

Whereas the importance placed on the respective trend attributes varies considerably in different regions, the general tendencies are ubiquitous. Moreover, today's consumer focuses on an interesting, pleasurable, exiting or completely new taste experience. Within the flavour sectors, the developments for beverages took the lead in 2004 with 17% new introductions, followed by bakery products (12%), confectionery (11%), dairy (9%), sauces and seasonings (8%), snacks (8%), meals and meal centres (7%), processed fish, meat and egg products (6%), desserts and ice-creams (6%), side dishes (3%), fruits and vegetables (3%) [14].

The key categories of new flavour trends can be divided into three application directions:

- Salty snacks with mostly typical flavours (cheese, salt, chilli), hot and new flavours, which indicate potential growth segments (meaty flavours, ethnic flavours in new ways).

- Juices with orange being predominant (number one in all regions) or extremely fragmented flavour blends (orange plus other flavours (aloe vera, mango, hibiscus, vitamins fortified)).

- Sugar confectionery (strawberry on top in all regions) and regions with very specific flavours and generally a high geographic diversity (chocolate within the top ten of Asia, liquorice (Europe), tamarind (Latin America), sour (North America)).

Additionally, strong increases are predicted for ethnic offerings in meals. Seasonings remain spicy, new beverage flavours come from a variety of sources, and children's flavours continue to be popular.

A new trend is also to surprise consumers with flavours in unexpected categories (banana mayonnaise for children (Asia), or green tea cereals (Japan)); this trend is called flavour migration. 'Marrying of good flavour with nutrition' is also predicted.

Therefore, a balance of good taste combined with good nutrition, supplied in 'cool packaging' that appeals to children, seems to show the most effective way for product placement in the future. Additionally there seems to be a revival of comfort foods associated with 'nostalgia', which give the consumer the promise of basic security, familiar classics and casual lifestyle. Indulgence does play a considerable role in the sweets sector: to spoil oneself, easy-to-use small packaging units (e.g. drink desserts) and portion-controlled convenience mini meals which feature daily affordability, and possess considerable marketability [15].

The consumer's expectations towards natural, creative products with sensational effects increase, while the tolerance threshold for accepting expensive brands in the food sector decreases dramatically, especially in Western Europe. This trend is actually a leading one: price restrictions constitute a decisive criterion in each and every product development.

This constitutes a great challenge, not only for the food industry but especially for the flavour and ingredients industry.

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