NEW YORK — Protein from different sources, from legumes to seaweed to even insects, are appearing in foods and beverages. Executives at International Flavors & Fragrances have noticed, and now the company plans to offer more assistance in creating desirable flavors for such products.
“When we talk about protein and textures, we are not necessarily talking that we are adding proteins and textures to our portfolio,” said Matthias Haeni, group president of flavors for I.F.F., in a June 2 investors’ day call. “We are talking about flavoring product solutions, which are containing proteins, a different form of proteins than currently consumed.
“Most of these proteins, they are coming with certain off-tastes, and it is about masking these proteins. It is about better understanding and creating flavors that are interacting with food proteins in a different way so that we can make these products taste better.”
While people across the globe are consuming more protein, there is pressure, including environmental pressure, on how proteins are consumed and resourced, he said.
“There are a lot of alternative sources the industry is working on, such as seaweed, widely consumed in Japan and in China,” Mr. Haeni said. “We talk about proteins that are plant-based or even proteins that are insect-based.”
He said I.F.F.’s flavors group will address three themes: modulation, delivery system, and protein and textures. Modulation refers to such issues as improving the taste of products with fewer calories or less sodium. Delivery system refers to finding more natural and sustainable sources of flavors, such as botanical extracts.
Andreas Fibig, chairman and chief executive officer of New York-based I.F.F., said finding the right people to join I.F.F. and focus on the themes will take time.
“If you look at protein and textures, for example, you have to hire these experts, and that really, really takes time,” he said. “So that at the moment is probably the time-limiting factor we have here, and that’s probably true for many of the areas where we want to go.”
The three flavor themes are part of I.F.F.’s “Vision 2020” plan.
|Andreas Fibig, chairman and c.e.o. of I.F.F.
“We must ask ourselves: Where do we want to be in 2020?” Mr. Fibig said. “The world around us is profoundly changing, whether it is our customers or whether it is demand for healthier products — less sugar, more protein. The emerging market growth, which was certainly 10 years ago much faster than today, but still today is around about twice the market growth in the mature markets.
“The emergence of specialty players, whether it is in the U.S. or some of the emerging markets, these small and mid-size specialty companies are very innovative and fast-growing, and we have to find out the business model, how can we deal with these customers in a very profitable way.”
He listed an evolving regulatory environment as one more example of a changing food and beverage industry.
“So in a new strategy, we really actively have to approach all of these topics to help our customers to achieve their new demands for their customers,” Mr. Fibig said. “So to survive and to win, we have to adapt and to evolve as a company.”
Executives also talked about a recently announced acquisition. I.F.F. on April 13 said it had agreed to acquire Henry H. Ottens Manufacturing Co., Inc., a transaction expected to add about $60 million in revenue on an annualized basis. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The acquisition will give I.F.F. more insight on the growth dynamics of small or mid-sized companies, Mr. Haeni said.“It is a given fact that mid-sized companies, they want to be recognized,” he said. “They want to be recognized by all means like a very global account, and we did not successfully manage this part in the past. Going forward, we will have a strong focus on it. We have a full dedication on it. We have dedication and ownership, and we’re not just going to integrate Ottens in a way that we are doing business as usual from the former I.F.F.”