Firmenich ‘Flexitarian Challenge’ Showcases Innovative Culinary Anthropology Approach & Leadership in Meat Analogs Space

Geneva, Switzerland, October 11, 2019 Firmenich recently hosted the Flexitarian Challenge in Parma, Italy, demonstrating the company’s Culinary Anthropology process that enables food and beverage creators to accelerate innovation in the kitchen. The event, featured a key note speech by Michelin star chef and London restaurateur Atul Kochhar, and highlighted the company’s leadership in the fast-growing meat analogs market and its portfolio of SmartProteins™ solutions, including ingredients and delivery technologies designed to create great-tasting plant-based food and beverages.

“Using Culinary Anthropology, we can quickly help our customers identify unmet consumer needs and ideate against those needs, ultimately increasing speed-to-market,” said Matthew Walter, Director Global Culinary Business Development, Firmenich. “We use a form of rapid-prototyping, combined with culinary creativity, enabling us to respond quickly to upcoming trends, creating new possibilities for consumer desirable, technically feasible and commercially viable products.”

The event examined the importance of supporting flexitarian eating as a healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle—as well as the challenges of meeting the needs of consumers struggling to adopt a diet that may involve more time cooking, shopping for unfamiliar ingredients, and adapting to new recipes and flavors.

Firmenich’s chef designers demonstrated the company’s Culinary Anthropology approach to creating satisfying, delicious meals that appeal to people who want to explore new plant-based eating experiences. The process is designed to stimulate creative thinking and generate new ideas for unmet consumer needs, ultimately increasing speed to market.

During the Flexitarian Challenge, Firmenich customers were led on an exploration of plant-based ingredients and techniques to create meatless dishes representing key regions around the world (North America, Latin America, and Europe), focusing on ingredients such as ancho, guajillo, and morita peppers; the eryngii (king oyster) mushroom, chia, flax seeds and a range of pulses.

The Parma event is the first in a series to be held in locations around the world highlighting Firmenich’s Culinary Anthropology process in conjunction with the company’s resources and expertise in naturals and alternative proteins. This expertise was recently enhanced by the acquisition of leading natural ingredients company Campus, with its Viva Veg range of meat and dairy alternatives, as well as Firmenich’s expanded SmartProteins™ portfolio.

Building on years of research and collaboration with experts, Firmenich’s SmartProteins™ portfolio addresses the key challenges associated with plant-based proteins, from off notes and bitterness to perceived dryness and overall desirability. Firmenich’s expertise in taste modulation and delivery technologies offers the fatty succulence and juiciness typical of meat proteins, which are generally missing in their plant-based equivalents. As a result, the portfolio expands the possibilities for developing a wide range of flexitarian-friendly choices, from classic meat analogs such as vegetarian burgers and sausages to vegan cheeses and seafood alternatives.

“Our SmartProteins™ capabilities include a broad range of tools and technologies that address the flavor and texture challenges of plant-based and alternative proteins,” said Laith Wahbi, Global Technical Director of Firmenich’s Strategic Savory Business Unit. “We are enriching the total eating experience and addressing all product development needs—from great taste and aroma to nutrition and functionality.”

For more information about SmartProteins™ or to contact the Firmenich team, visit


About Firmenich

Firmenich is the world’s largest privately owned company in the perfume and taste business, founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895. Driven by its purpose to create positive emotions to enhance wellbeing, naturally, Firmenich has designed many of the world’s best-known perfumes and tastes, bringing delight to over four billion consumers every day. Renowned for its world-class research and creativity, as well as its leadership in sustainability, each year, Firmenich invests 10% of its turnover in R&D to understand and share the best that nature has to offer responsibly. Firmenich had an annual turnover of 3.9 billion Swiss Francs at end June 2019.


About Campus

Founded in 2005 in Parma, Italy, Campus provides functional ingredients and clean label solutions for the savory, meat and dairy sectors. Campus also offers plant based vegetarian and vegan finished solutions. Campus has committed itself to researching new methods for extracting and producing animal proteins and innovative vegetable fibers, and has created and defined a wide range of highly functional semi-finished products.

Firmenich ‘Flexitarian Challenge’ Showcases Innovative Culinary Anthropology Approach & Leadership in Meat Analogs Space
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