Consumers have shown considerable interest in recent years for natural sweeteners – and natural ingredients in general – as part of a growing trend toward foods that some consider to be more wholesome and healthful due to a lack of synthetic ingredients. According to market research organization Mintel, ‘natural’ was the number one product claim on new food and beverage launches in 2009, appearing on 23 percent of new products.
The latest collaborative move from Switzerland-based flavor and fragrance firm Firmenich and Californian flavor company Senomyx capitalizes on industry efforts to cut calories in their products while still aiming to offer the taste that consumers demand.
Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder said: “Senomyx's Sweet Taste Program has achieved significant accomplishments, including the discovery and development of our sucralose enhancer and our first sucrose enhancer, both of which have received regulatory approval and are now in the commercialization stage.”
"We believe Firmenich's decision to expand the collaboration to include natural sweet enhancers is a reflection of the success of our novel technologies, the positive working relationship between the two companies, and the large market opportunity for natural flavor ingredients. Firmenich has been a valuable partner and we look forward to working with them on this new and exciting area."
The two companies initiated their current agreement to collaborate on the discovery, development and commercialization of sweetness enhancers in July 2009. Under the current agreement, Senomyx receives royalties and research funding from Firmenich to develop artificial flavors that it can use worldwide in all food categories as sweetness enhancers, and on a co-exclusive basis in powdered beverages.
The expansion of the agreement will complement Senomyx’s deal with PepsiCo, the company said – a partnership focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of natural and artificial sucrose and fructose enhancers for use in soft drinks.