The global flavours and fragrances market is estimated at USD25 billion and growing about 5% per annum. Four companies dominate this market: Givaudan 20%, Firmenich 14%, IFF 13%, and Symrise 11%. Flavours are the prevailing category, holding a 54% market share with the biggest end-users being the beverage sector (34%) and dairy (13%).

While the market for synthetic flavours is declining, the value of natural flavours is increasing. Continuous innovation is therefore necessary to keep up with a global trend towards more natural flavour solutions. Furthermore, consumers are increasingly looking for foods with health potential that can lead to interesting flavour combinations. For example, many varieties of dark fruit feature in the fastest growing flavours in dairy products, while herbs, spices, honey, and super-fruits drive flavour trends in the beverages market.

Because of its distinctive biota and climate, the Australasia region has the potential to unlock exciting new natural flavours. Indigenous plant foods in Australia and New Zealand exhibit a diversity of unique flavour signatures. Both countries also have significant seafood and dairy industries with a strong focus on food and beverage innovations. The region’s leading dairy companies are indeed playing a major role in the global fortified food market where dairy accounts for 35% of new product launches with flavoured milk and yoghurts buoying demand.

With strong horticultural sectors in both countries, fermentation of fruit has become a major technology to create flavours with wide applications in foods and beverages. Innovations include the development of novel yeast strains that generate enhanced aromas and are now used by wine makers around the world. Widely recognised signature flavours from New Zealand include kiwifruit, feijoas, and manuka honey. Davidson plum, muntries, riberry, and desert lime are well-known signature flavours for Australia. A large number of companies, as well as academic and public research institutes, have programmes to develop novel flavour innovations for the food and beverage industry.

In a world where the sustainable production of natural speciality ingredients has become a rapidly growing market trend, the Australasia region is well worth having a closer look at.

By Joerg Kistler, BioPacific Partners Venture Partner and Director of BIO INC

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