Symrise has expanded its site in Mexico City to drive growth in what it describes as one of the most important soft-drink markets in the world.
The company has added new laboratories to its existing center for the development and application of savory and sweet flavorings and beverage compounds, along with culinary concepts.
The labs simulate industrial conditions to make sure the flavors are stable and meet customer expectation in terms of technical performance, according to Hans Holger Gliewe, Symrise president of flavor & nutrition, Latin America.
This helps with a faster development process for new products which is particularly important for beverages.
Gliewe told FoodNavigator-USA.com: "The soft drinks market is rather volatile. It is a very fast moving industry which launches a lot of products so product development is much faster in the drink industry than other food items.
"Mexico is one of the most important soft-drink markets in the world, which is why we anticipate growth well above standard market rates in this sector."
The size of the development lab for "sweet & beverages" has been doubled and the facility known as the "wet lab" makes it possible to work with new pilot-plant equipment to create UHT products and soft drinks under industrial conditions on a laboratory scale.
There is also a newly built "chef kitchen" which will be the site for developing culinary concepts with clients.
This significant expansion of the lab facilities, which are now open, is said to greatly enhance technical application capacities for working on joint client projects.
Gliewe said: "Mexico is one of the most important sales markets for flavorings in Latin America, and Symrise has been established there for many years as one of the leading flavoring suppliers.
"By building new labs, we are solidifying our position on the Mexican market. At the same time, we are creating a regional network with our other Latin American sites to create greater proximity to our clients and to process client projects more efficiently."
He added that the center would be a "generator for culinary ideas". For example, a trend in the snack industry today is to translate some restaurant dishes into industrialized snack products.
Symrise aims to come up with ideas for new dishes and "propose ready-made flavor system solutions for applications in these products", which are likely to be convenience foods.
The site is mainly for customers wanting products for the Latin American market but it is also expected to appeal to global customers from outside the region that want to understand Latin American cuisine and Latin food trends.
Mexico soft drinks market
Zenith International, which provides specialist consulting services to the food and drink industries, said that in terms of soft drinks consumption, Mexico ranks second in the world at 394.6 liters per capita, just behind the US which consumes 397.3 liters per capita.
Earlier this year the processing group Sidel said it was investing €3m ($4.8m) into its Mexican packaging operations in a bid to keep up with changing industry demand in the wider Central American beverage market.
The funding will be ploughed into its new 1,200-sq-meter packaging development center in Guadalajara, Mexico, as it moves to cut the amount of time required to develop new packaging products for manufacturers.
According to the group, Mexican consumers, are increasingly looking for products that can offer "health and wellness" benefits.
It said these demands are forcing manufacturers to look for new packaging styles and formulations suited to this segment.