Raising a glass to the Flavour House

Twelve years after becoming exclusive distributors for Firmenich, the second-largest flavour company in the world, Flavourome has penetrated the Southern African market and satisfied the thirsts of thousands of people across the continent.

With the support of Firmenich, Flavourome offers its customers flavours and solutions to meet their retail needs. Flavourome has the privilege and responsibility of serving Firmenichs’s clients in all sub-Saharan countries. Having this client list ready-made gives Flavourome the time necessary to invent new and innovative products, and allows the company to concentrate on its strengths. Flavourome has another, similar partnership with a Nigerian company to service the West African region.

While the partnership with Firmenich is substantial to the company, Flavourome is also proud to branch out and make its own products. The company is able to create mixes tailored to the exact specification of its client. Should someone want a particular flavour, the team will create it.

Flavour haven

John Dlamini is the Export Sales Director of Flavourome. He is proud of the exhaustive list of services his company provides. “When customers come to us and ask for a certain flavour or taste, l say we can actually make it for you. We do everything from start to end,” he says. “If you need us to help you find people to do bottling for you, we can do that too.”

In terms of flavours, colours, sweeteners and fortification (blends of vitamins and minerals), the Flavourome roster is big, and growing. Dlamini says that the most popular products are beverages. “Colas, Fanta-type products are very popular. Our drink capabilities are strong. We can develop any product depending on the client’s tastes,” he says. For instance, Flavourome has a new Cola Heart concept whereby the customer chooses what kind of cola they prefer (be it a cinnamon, lemon or lime, for instance). Flavourome will then present options for caffeine, caramel colour and flavour profile based on those particularities, creating a unique and new flavour for the customer and, ultimately, the consumer.

Flavourome also offers emulsions, which work especially well for the African market. Instead of the option of buying a separate flavour and colour, these elements are sold together as one product, to which water can later be added. This limits the amount of weight need for transporting the product (at least 90 per cent of the beverage is water). One product, says Dlamini, also limits the opportunity for mistakes in mixing and does a lot for the consistency of the flavour and brand.

The consensus in the beverage market these days is that the more value-adds to the drinks the better. Drinks are no longer just liquids. They are mood enhancers, brain boosters, personal assistants…. Flavourome carries products with a number of agent-options for clients with value-add agents. Vitarome, for instance, is a drink with specialty vitamins and minerals. “Clients can visit our laboratories in SA to oversee the development, or our technical staff will travel to them,” Dlamini says. “That helps because you can service their market properly and put due focus on the client. We focus on which people we can service.”

The flavour company also does flavours for dairy products (think strawberry yogurt), candy flavours (think delicious), and savouries. (In fact, Flavourome soups are the dark horse in the race for most popular products.)

Mass flavour

“Most definitely it is exciting to come up with new products,” says Dlamini. “Take, for example, a cola product. If you don’t keep improving a product, the problem you will encounter as time goes on is other companies will come up with and improve their product. So it is crucial to be doing those things.”

As a participating member of the South African Association of the Flavour and Fragrance Industry (SAAFFI), Flavourome is contributing to the growing food industry in SA, which has been as good to them as they have been to it. “In the next five years, our export numbers will be double what they are now if we stay the course and keep our focus. We see ourselves increasing in Africa, especially with the juice compound, and continuing to prioritise our customer service,” says Dlamini, raising a glass.