Geneva, Switzerland, October 2015 Firmenich announces investment of half a million Swiss Francs to further develop its AFFIRM® technology to enhance its flavor design process in order to create more consumer preference for its strategic partners.

“Understanding the interactions between flavor and food as it’s consumed is critical for the food and beverage industry to offer consumers the products they love”, said Chris Millington, President, Flavors. “Building on our focus to shape winning solutions for our customers, we developed our AFFIRM® technology to deepen our understanding of these interactions. Thanks to these proprietary tools, our flavor design process triggers greater consumer preference”, adds Millington.

With this investment, Firmenich will be able to understand more complex flavor systems by measuring more volatiles in real time, with higher precision, greater sensitivity and better discrimination than ever before. Improved accuracy will also allow Firmenich to create consumer preferred flavors faster and more cost-efficiently. With this knowledge, the company will be able to move from analyzing the performance of the flavors to predicting the performance of the flavors.

Firmenich began by developing its (MS-NOSE), in collaboration with the University of Nottingham several years ago. After a series of continuous improvements, the leading Flavor and Fragrance House has now invested in the next generation of AFFIRM® to maintain its leadership in this field for the benefit of product development and flavor creation.

AFFIRM® stands for Analysis of Flavor and Fragrances in Real tiMe. It is the ultimate instrument that objectively measures the release kinetics of aroma molecules during food consumption or preparation, allowing for the quantification (at low ppt level) of flavor molecules released from a food matrix as it is consumed. By capturing this data, Firmenich can understand which elements of a flavor are most impactful, leading to more effective and efficient flavor creation for its customers.

The AFFIRM® can be used in conjunction with an artificial mouth, also developed within Firmenich, maximizing the impact of both technologies and allowing the company to quickly analyze the performance of flavors in their applications. The Firmenich artificial mouth is a state-of-the-art device developed to mimic mastication reducing the need for multiple human panelists to have to chew food. This is the first time ever that such artificial mouth has been connected to AFFIRM®, allowing Firmenich to rapidly test products for its customers. “This way we produce more consistent results,” says Dr Shane Avison, Senior Scientist, Global Innovation, “which is especially attractive for time consuming studies such as long-lasting chewing gum.”

“The technology is marvelously robust and has given us ample understanding of how different flavor molecules are released from food, which allows us to develop the most highly-advanced flavors for our customers,” continues Dr Igor Bodnár, Senior Project Manager, Global Innovation. “We are now working on extending the methodology to more complex foods such as protein. This will give us a huge advantage when it comes to creating the most authentic flavors for Savory, as well as dairy-based products.” The methodology was recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry(1).

“The AFFIRM® and Artificial mouth are great proprietary technologies that help us understand why and when our products are best performing across a wide range of food and beverage applications. It is also a great asset to guide our innovation in key areas like flavor delivery systems,” states Dr Jérôme Barra, Vice President Global Innovation. “This way, we ensure we are doing the right things to continue serving our customers and their consumers.”

Firmenich is the world’s largest privately-owned company in the flavor and fragrance industry. Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895, it has created many of the world’s best-known perfumes and flavors that billions of consumers enjoy each day. Its passion for smell and taste is at the heart of its success. It is renowned for its creativity and innovation, as well as its exceptional understanding of consumer trends. Each year, it invests around 10% of its turnover in R&D, reflecting its continuous desire to understand, share and sublimate the best that nature has to offer. Firmenich had an annual turnover of 3 billion Swiss Francs at end June 2015.

(1)“Novel methodology for Measuring Temperature-Dependent Henry’s constants of Flavor Molecules”, Avison, S., van Gruijthuijsen, K., Pascu, P., Parker, A, and Bodnár, I., DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.5b01517

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