Symrise wants one-third of its business in APAC as it opens new Singapore labs

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Flavour and fragrance firm Symrise has opened a new innovation and technology centre in Singapore, and is now setting its sights on boosting APAC business to account for one-third of its total by 2025.

The eight-storey building, named SPark, brings together improved manufacturing, research and innovation capabilities on the west coast of the island. It marks the first of a three-phase $50m project.

At an official opening attended by FoodNavigator Asia, CEO Dr Heinz-Jurgen Bertram said the site tapped into Singapore’s vision of becoming Asia’s regional food and nutrition hub.

The company first opened a base in the City State in 1980, initially to process vegetable oils.

“With Singapore being the foundation of our Asia growth story, I believe the new research and innovation facilities will ignite greater collaboration, connectivity and creativity,” he said.

Asia increase

He added the Gemany-based company had recorded double-digit growth every year since 2009, and that it saw Asia as a key driver for future sales and profit rises.

Currently, just over 20% of its business is in the region, but Dr Bertram said he wanted this to increase to one-third of its global total by 2025.

According to Lionel Flutto, Asia Pacific president of flavours, Asian consumers “are the future drivers of the global flavours industry”.

This is why the company decided to base its global sensory and consumer insight teams in the new Singapore premises. (Our video at the top of the page features VP of Innovation, APAC, Conor Delahunty speaking about this in more detail).

“This emphasises both our commitment to Asia and forming the foundation of our future innovations, research, technology and development,” he added.

Nutrition expansion

SPark also features new labs designed for flavour creation and application, food science work and research. There is also significant space for focus group testing featuring one-way mirrors and audio/visual recording equipment to gauge reactions.

There are also a number of commercial kitchens and space for expansion. Flutto said it was likely this would be taken up by the nutrition side of the business, which has been a major area of focus since it acquired the Diana Group in 2014 and through its partnership with Swedish probiotics outfit Probi.

In the meantime, local and regional companies will be encouraged to use the facilities to co-create new products suitable for the Asian palette, added Dr Bertram.

Thien Kwee Eng, the assistant managing director of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, welcomed this development, stating it would “strengthen Singapore’s position as Asia’s leading food and nutrition hub”.

As part of our Asia’s Food Leaders video series, we’ll be running an in-depth interview with Lionel Flutto in the coming weeks.