Agile, bold & creative: Maverick Innovations enters US flavor market with natural and organic ingredients

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

Agile, bold & creative: Maverick Innovations enters US flavor market with natural and organic ingredients
Maverick Innovations, a new flavor company based in North Carolina, is set to launch at this year’s IFT, with no project ‘too small or too challenging’, says the company’s CEO.

Steve Pearce, Maverick’s CEO, said that the company offers “smart and practical flavor solutions for customers”, ​and “bespoke flavors, including flavors that enhance, sweeten and mask”​. 

“Although Maverick Innovations is new to the US, we are by no means new to the business of flavors,” ​he explained. “We have deep and seasoned flavor expertise and because of our size we are agile and very quick to respond, so when it comes to service we are highly competitive to the big players. 

“It seems a great many of the bigger companies are slower to respond to sample requests and don’t take the time to go into depth about the flavor development process.  Our customers like our proactive, open and straight forward approach.”

From Cleopatra to NASA

Pearce is known internationally for his work in a couple of unique projects from Maverick’s sister company in the UK, Omega Ingredients. The company has previously recreated "the smell of space" for a NASA astronaut training project and "the smell of Cleopatra's hair" as part of an international art venture. 

For the creation of the scent of Cleopatra’s hair, Pearce researched the materials available to a person of such standing in society at the time such as organically grown Bitter Orange Blossom and Jasmine.

He also created “The Last Meal of a Condemned Man” (Based on Jesse Tefaro, executed for shooting a Florida Police Officer) and “Mir” (the aroma believed to be inside the Mir space station during its final days as the air purification system failed.)

“The ‘Mir’ fragrance was brought to the attention of scientists working for NASA who were tasked with improving the reality of training programs,” ​explained Pearce. “They asked if I could recreate the smell of Space based upon descriptions by astronauts who had ventured outside the safety of their capsules.

“They were fairly consistent in their descriptions with ‘Hot Metal’, ‘Fried Steak’ and ‘Welding’ featuring prominently, so those were the main elements used to develop the scent.”

Maverick

The company is officially launching at IFT, but already has customers in the US and is heavily involved in new flavor development with several others. 

“We are finding that smaller, more innovative companies are quicker to engage us and interested in our creativity and bold style,” ​said Pearce.  “We are also sampling with mid and large companies who are interested in our unique flavor expertise for new product launches.”

Maverick's product line includes organic fruit and vegetable extracts, essential oils, absolutes and concretes; natural and dried extracts; fruit distillates and extracts; and natural aroma chemicals, said the company.

In terms of flavor trends, Pearce said that a major trend for 2013 is “the endless possibilities of combining florals, spices and fruits. 

“Bringing independently lush and notable flavors together and still letting each floral, spice or fruit flavor be distinguishable is an interesting and significant challenge we enjoy. 

“We think Saffron has been unappreciated and underutilized, whether standing alone or blended with florals and fruits, and we expect to see it included in many new flavor profiles.”

The natural price challenge

While price is always a key factor with customers for natural flavors, Pearce added that natural flavors are also great differentiators for new product launches and drivers for innovation. 

“Development of new, natural and cost-effective ingredients with provenance is high on our agenda, so we are working to get out ahead of that demand.”

CFS

Pearce earned IFT's notable designation of Certified Food Scientist (CFS).  Candidates are required to pass a rigorous exam and have a qualifying degree before gaining this status.  Pearce, along with the others in the CFS inaugural class, will be recognized at the Annual Meeting.

Related topics: Suppliers, Flavors and colors

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