The flavour firm has been present in India for 80 years with two manufacturing sites and two creative centres dedicated to flavours across six cities – Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Jammu, Calcutta and Bangalore. The latest facility took six months to build and forms part of the firm’s continued growth strategy targeting the emerging markets of Asia.
Hernan Vaisman, group president of Flavors, said that the firm’s presence in India’s flavour market is “quite well established”.
“However, we wanted a location that increased our proximity to more existing and potential customers, allowing us to serve them better,” Vaisman told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“The Indian market is dynamic, exciting, and we believe, full of opportunities,” he added.
Shifting market with surging demands
India’s demographics are shifting considerable, he said, with an influx of young people moving into cities and there is a surge in the middle class with increased disposable incomes.
“In all these situations, we are seeing people with either a need or a desire to avail themselves of more convenience in the form of prepared foods, beverages, sweets and dairy products that fit better into their changing lifestyles,” he said.
“Further we are seeing a rising demand for prepared foods and beverages with healthier profiles,” he added.
As these demographic shifts occur and customers attempt to satisfy the needs of the Indian population, the flavours market is snowballing, he said, and IFF is well-prepared to support customers in fulfilling these product needs.
Regional taste profiles
“India is one of the richest areas in the world in terms of cuisine variety and also for the methods of food preparation, which also influences flavour preferences. This is especially true for savoury products,” Vaisman explained.
The team at the new facility will be dedicated to developing regional taste profiles using qualitative and quantitative research and analysis, he said.
There is a vast spectrum of flavour preferences across India, he said, but “according to our marketing and sensory and consumer insights experts, as in many countries, the classic flavours like vanilla, orange and lime are very popular in India.”
However, “the most unique flavouring which is probably specific to India, even South Asia, will be the Masala flavour – a blend of different spices,” he added.
The trend towards reduced fat, sodium and sugar or added whole grains is clear, he said, although it is “in a nascent stage, but we expect an uptick over the next few years.”
Both reductions and use of whole grains represent opportunities for IFF, he said, and the firm has solutions in its portfolio to enable customers to adapt formulations according to these demands.