It is often said that when one door closes another one opens. This was definitely the case for Johannesburg-based Flavourome. When a large supplier of powdered products decided to close shop at the end of 2015, the company saw a prime opportunity to build on the existing liquid capacity and forge its own entry into the seasonings industry.
Flavourome’s expansion into the sweet and savoury powdered category means the company can now offer a full range of flavour ingredients to the food and beverage (F&B) industry.
In order to cope with growing demand, the decision was taken to commission a new powder factory. The existing liquid production facility was also expanded. The company can now process additional quantities of emulsions, liquid dilutions, dairy solutions and prepared syrup products. It can also fill orders for a significant amount of sweet and savoury powders.
‘There were two key drivers for growth,’ managing director, David Wright explains. ‘Our sweet blending capacity was upgraded. We have invested in a new laboratory and spray drying facilities for our own internal purposes. We have also commissioned our new savoury and dairy application laboratory. The powder plant currently handles up to 500 tonnes per day shift. Powder blender sizes range from 250 to 4 000kg.
‘Higher sales and significant increases in volume are pushing us in this direction. It is exciting that we are expanding our technical expertise through the appointment of some key people. We also incorporated the existing staff from the previous factory into our staff complement.’
Products are customer specific and most customers have their own product range. ‘We have a client template for most of our customers. A lot of clients will ask us to do a product forecast for them. Depending on their current product range and our relationship, we can offer advice on how to grow their product portfolio. Key to this is understanding some of the latest trends and legislation, and how this impacts on manufacturers,’ Wright points out.
What is certain is that the proposed sugar tax, which comes into effect in April 2017, is an enormous game-changer for the industry. ‘There are obviously some segment specific trends, such as salt reduction and the move towards natural. Sugar reduction is going to have the biggest impact from a formulation and solutions point of view,’ comments Thomas Steynberg, sales and business development manager. ‘There is a massive swell in sugar reduction projects. Customers are now willing to look at non-nutritive sweeteners. This type of trend is a financial one and the shortage of sugar, its price increase and taxation means that the industry will now happily use a mix of sugar and sweeteners.’
Wright concurs, ‘We are fortunate that we have access to our partner Firmenich’s taste modulators. This gives us a very unique edge over our competitors as we can propose quick solutions as most manufacturers are under enormous time pressure. We can offer the client the right solution to modify their formulations. Whether a pure sugar reduction, or combined with a non-nutritive sweetener or just a cost reduction exercise we can offer a customised solution. As the imminent sugar tax will put enormous pressure on beverage manufacturers, it puts us in a favourable position to offer advice.’
Moving forward in Africa
Flavourome is working with a number of countries on the African continent. ‘We are forging partnerships with companies in the savoury industry. We are also targeting a few dairies. The biggest lure of working with manufacturers in Africa is that they want a combination of cost innovation and products that will sell. We’ve been instrumental in helping them innovate or reformulate new flavours and formulations. If a customer wants to make a change to their existing product range we can do that for them. Creativity and new ideas targeted at the relevant markets are a priority to us. Our flexibility allows us to remain an affordable solution to clients.
‘We pride ourselves on our personalised service,’ Wright concludes. ‘We aim to understand the intimate details of our customer’s processes; their equipment and the markets in which they thrive. This approach allows us to partner with our customers to achieve the mutual goal of sustainability and growth in business.’