Natural flavours and fragrances are the predominant flavours in the food industry . Their was always a premium that would be paid for a nautural source but with increasing compettion in food markets the costs of natural flavours vs synthetic are being closely looked at.
So what are the advantages of going natural ? Green issues , renewable starting sources and and higher yields of selected components are all possible from biotech processes. Costs in some cases can rival synthetic but generally they are still much more expensive. Take Vaillin which can be sold at $15 kg but vanillin for biotech is ( ex ferulic acid ) $900 kg. It can be cheaper ( currently ) of course to produce vanillin from curcumin but then we are taken to another area called legislation where what can be called natural varies. In the USA it seems much simpler than the EU and harmonisation would be extremely helpful I am sure. There is still a bit of distrust about biotech, gene manipulation and GMO that must be addressed
So costs are increasingly important apart from all the other hurdles but Biotech is the way forward. So what projects are of most interest to the industry ? We see one of the leaders Evolva focussing on vanillin from yeasts in a tie up with IFF. Allylix is producing Valencene and Nootkatone focussing on terpene chemistry. There are some very capable groups in the UK where biotech is funded by the UK Government showing the importance of these projects. In fact the UK is a world leader in this area.
We are working with a couple of groups and interested to hear what the F&F industry is looking for. We would be most interest in collaboration projects.
Your comments appreciated