Trends of Global and Russian Markets of Flavors

Research of the Company "Fine Ingredients"

In food industry flavor means much more than just some tingle of taste. Product flavor is the message for consumer and it tells more than words on the label, it is more persuasive and comprehendible and at the same time it is very personal. It is a delicate and complex tool of influence upon consumer - a synergy of taste and aroma. To help manufacturers handle this tool flavor chemists all around the world develop the "language of sensations" a good command of which allows creation of really successful new products.

Every trend in food industry has direct influence upon the segment of flavors. Global market of flavors for food and beverages demonstrates robust growth and all current trends promise further growth of this segment.

Russian market of food ingredients in general and segment of flavors as a part of it are yet far behind the global market and thus are highly import-dependent. It means demand is mainly satisfied by imported products; moreover, practically all ingredients made by Russian manufacturers are produced prom imported raw materials.

In 2011 flavors constituted 15% of import value on the market of food ingredients (source: RBC report). According to customs statistics, import of industrial flavors for food and beverages constituted more than 14808 tons in 2010, and 15500 tons in 2011. So, even taking into consideration such large Russian manufacturers of flavors as "Kombinat Khimiko-Pishevoj Aromatiki (The Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant)" LLC and "Scorpio Aromat (Aroma)" LLC Russian market of flavors should be regarded to as import-dependent.

Top three players of global market of flavors - transnational giants "Givaudan", "Firmenich" and "IFF" - are heading this industry for a long time already and branches of these companies can be found practically in every country of the world. In 2007 "Givaudan" controlled 18.4% of the market, "Firmenich" - 12.7% and "IFF" - 11.5%; in 2011 shares of the said companies constituted respectively 19.1%, 13.6% and 12.8% (source: Leffingwell & Associates). Another large player - "Symrise" with 9,4% of the market - is a little behind the leaders.

As for the future performance of the review market, experts forecast that market growth will be mainly driven by BRICMIST countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey).

In 2010 as the food market more or less revived after recession, flavors were mainly purchased by alcohol industry (33.3% of total consumption volume), soft drinks production (31.3%) and - in obviously smaller quantities - by dairy industry (13.5%).

Market of flavors follows major trends of food and drinks market. Recently Russian food industry got less accented on production abilities and availability of raw materials and started to be more focused on demands of consumers. Taste and aroma - that's what consumers want from a new product. Exotic flavors, new variations of traditional flavors, unusual tingles - manufacturers use such strategic moves to attract consumers searching for new gustatory experiences.

Understanding of consumer habits and preferences enhances business efficiency and reduces risk of fails with new products. "Conservative" consumers want "comfortable" taste arising nostalgic memories of their childhood and home. This group increased significantly during recession. Meanwhile "experimentalists" prefer unusual flavors. In their lives they value new sensations and experiences and this very often rules their choice of food and drinks.

The world is getting globalized - every year more and more people have a chance to travel abroad and try new unusual meals. Later at home people want to feel those tastes again. Moreover, consumers will always associate similar flavors to pleasant reminiscences of their trips and this can be a strong supplement to positive perception of the product in general.

It is also important for manufacturers to supplement their knowledge of the most promising product category with the understanding of currently most popular tingles of possible flavors. According to "Euromonitor International's" findings, in short term perspective most successful products will be those accenting health benefits, naturalness and featuring flavors of flower petals, exotic fruits, coconut or honey.

When buying a drink, consumers want more than simple thirst satisfaction, they want a certain emotional effect - for instance, invigoration from a sport drink, comfort and relaxation from a cup of tea, natural taste of a fresh fruit juice.

Flavor determines product concept. People expect to be relaxed and calmed by chamomile, stimulated by guarana; grapefruit is believed to improve health and even to rejuvenate, while pomegranate is perceived as antioxidant.

The trend determining performance of food industry today is healthy living and healthy nutrition. However reduction of fat, salt and sugar content seriously changes product's taste and aroma. Meanwhile taste remains major driver of product's success even if the product's concept is health benefit. So, most important goal of flavors in this respect is preserving product's attractiveness for consumers in terms of taste and aroma and thus demand for flavors will certainly keep growing in all segments of food industry.

Increasingly popular trend of healthy eating is stimulating demand for everything natural and authentic, including taste and aroma.

As a rule, flavors are added to food and beverages in approximately same quantities as non-processed product would contain. In case of significant "overdoze" organoleptic quality of the product is getting worse and its consumption properties are affected. Respectively, the closer is the flavor to the natural the more attractive is the product for consumers. Besides, consumers tend to perceive flavors with "the place of origin" - for instance, "Sicilian Lemon" or "Madagascar Vanilla" - as more natural and authentic.

According to the largest manufacturers, most probable leaders among flavors are salted or spiced caramel, strawberry-jasmine, plum, aloe vera, mint-cucumber, green coconut, peach-rosemary, pink pepper.

Western manufacturers already offer such innovative products as RTD tea with passion fruit flavor by "Honest Tea", drinks with the flavor of cupuassu, euterpe fruit, camucamu or Barbados cherry by "M.O.A.B.", pomegranate and beetroot juice blend by "PomeGreat", and even frozen dessert made from coconut milk with hibiscus flavor by "Turtle Mountain".

Of course, application of natural flavors would be perfect in terms of product positioning, but the cost and some technological peculiarities (instability for instance) of natural flavors block intensive increase of demand for them.

Innovative technologies change both taste profiles and functionality of flavors. Here we talk about the so called clever flavoring. New technologies are used first of all to camouflage unwanted tinges, to enhance sweet taste with sugar content reduced and to accent creamy taste with fat kept low.

Encapsulated flavors is an interesting innovation. This kind of flavors is widely applied in production of tea, coffee, meat products and confectionery. Micro encapsulation of flavors prevents oxidation and "releases" the taste right before consumption - after water is added, or during boiling/roasting, or when flavor capsule comes to the mouth and contacts saliva, etc. New generation flavors even give such effects as warming, cooling, juiciness, etc. - they trigger extra receptors and enrich organoleptic perception even of well-known tastes.

In the summary it should be highlighted that flavors do more than just improve product's taste and aroma - they create the basis for product concept and positioning. Thus, with basic technology unchanged simple variegation of flavors can help to create new successful products and even product lines.

Ekaterina Shelavina,

Marketing Director "Fine Ingredients"







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