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Flavourome celebrates its 15th anniversary!

It has been said that most people miss or forego opportunity because it invariably arrives at the door dressed in heavy-duty blue overalls. David Wright is not one of them. Started from scratch 15 years ago, Wright’s Midrand-based company, Flavourome, is today one of the leading local flavour companies – and has every reason to be celebrating this company milestone.

David Wright has been in the flavour game most of his working life. His golden opportunity came knocking in 1998 when his then employer, giant Swiss flavour house, Firmenich, offered him the deal to set up his own business as an independent Firmenich agent, essentially to look after its smaller customer base in South Africa and beyond. He stepped enthusiastically through the door and hasn’t looked back.

David Wright

David Wright, founder and
CEO of Flavourome.

 “I had the good fortune to be given an amazing opportunity – and it has turned out tremendously well,” David comments modestly.

From starting out as a single operator chasing every sale himself, David now has a team of 60 employees. As the manufacturing distributor for Firmenich in South Africa, Flavourome has enjoyed double-digit volume growth over the past few years and currently ships over 2 500 tons pa of premixes and flavourants nationwide to hundreds of food and beverage companies, big and small, both in South Africa and north of our borders.

By way of background… Firmenich, one of the top flavour houses in the world, was founded in 1895 in Geneva and is still a family-owned business, headed by Patrick Firmenich.

According to Emmanuel Frenck, VP (sub-Saharan African region) of the Flavours Division, the company had a manufacturing presence in South Africa for several years before committing fully to Flavourome in 2006: “It’s rare for us to form an alliance such as this, but as we’re such a large, global company, it can be a logistical nightmare for some of our clients. Our partnership means that we can offer our clients better price, distribution and services, particularly speed and flexibility,” he says.

No ingredient company can flourish in today’s market as a mere supplier, no matter how good its product – and this, David says, has been a core reason for Flavourome’s good fortunes: “It’s essential to offer R&D services, technical and creative ability and market insights, in effect we strive to be a value-adding partner to our customers.”

Flavourome customers, too, have the benefit of direct access to Firmenich’s world-class technology (its annual spend on R&D is bigger than the entire SA flavour industry!), along with the expertise of its own development lab and three technical staff at its Midrand HQ and blending plant.

Flavourome may have grown apace but it’s not too big to say no to start-up concerns. “As entrepreneurs ourselves, we never turn our back on business, as today’s minnow could be tomorrow’s shark,” says David.

“Technical input and formulation advice is part of our service package. Flavour is arguably the most important aspect of product development – essentially the make or break of a concept — and it’s always highly rewarding to work with good customers and see them move onto the big stage.”

The Flavourome customer list is as diverse as their requirements, from those who are looking for recipe reformulations to cut costs, to others who are looking for inspired innovation and NPD.

Firmenich, says David, is particularly strong in citrus and other fruit flavours and has excellent encapsulation technology. This has seen Flavourome stamp a large footprint in the beverage confectionery, cereal and snacking sectors.

The company does significant business with manufacturers targeting the ‘informal’ market, especially powdered soft drinks, as well as those supplying into food aid/feeding programmes. ‘We supply many blue-chip names, but the real volumes are under the mainstream radar in the lower to middle-end markets,’ he remarks.

Flavourome’s personnel inventory was boosted last October with the appointment of Nathan Bevis, erstwhile head of CJP’s JHB Food division, as Sales Manager. He has a wealth of knowledge in both sales and the food industry and is applying this to improve Flavourome’s already strong foothold in the marketplace

“Flavourome has an innovative, vibrant, go-getter culture and is brimming with opportunity,” Nathan enthuses. “Our quality, support and customer-centric attitudes underpin everything we do and our team is as colourful as our logo and slogan suggest. We are well aware that our future success depends on our activities now, which is why we are strategising and working on many new and exciting projects… Watch this space, we expect to have an even greater impact in the African food industry in the years to come.”

Flavourome;; T (011) 805 8294