"Through our proprietary biotech processes, we're able to provide a win-win ... to the planet, to the consumer in terms of the quality of the ingredients. We've also pleasantly found that even with biotechnology we're able to deliver an authentic and high-performing experience to the final product."
Flavor innovation informed by consumer data
At the start of the year, Sensegen surveyed 1,500 consumers to determine the flavors they wanted, and how and where they were consuming those flavors.
“That research has really informed the pipeline and will inform the pipeline of flavors that we come up with, probably even [through] the early half of next year,” D’Souza said.
The survey revealed 48% of consumers identified exotic flavors as top flavors, and they are more open to trying these flavors when in social settings. Sensegen then created its Exotic collection of flavors, including Lychee, Guava, Papaya, Dragon Fruit, Yuzu, and Violet, she said.
As consumers spend more time indoors in fall, they look for more hot beverages, like coffee and teas, and seasonal flavors in popcorns, nuts, granola bars, and baked goods, she said.
To meet this demand, the company's Fall collection of flavors includes Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate, Hazelnut, Pistachio, Coffee, and Lavender. The fall collection intentionally is missing the classic pumpkin or pumpkin spice flavor to focus instead on emerging tastes, D’Souza noted.
“It was very purposeful in terms of not doing pumpkin spice... It is overdone. I think consumers are looking for the next big pumpkin spice. So, we're seeing the trends in pistachio, the hazelnut, more ... premium offerings.”
Biotech’s potential to address ingredient sourcing challenges
Sensegen is also leveraging its biotechnology solutions to address sourcing challenges, said Ana Capretz, head of PR and Communications for Sensegen. Historically, vanilla has faced many supply-chain disruptions, but biotech can better secure these ingredients, Capretz said.
“Vanilla is grown in Madagascar. It's the world's favorite flavor, and there just isn't enough to go around the world. So, when you're able to have biotech methods involved, you're able to make that vanilla taste exactly like nature initially intended. We're able then to scale it up, and you're able to then provide it on probably a more cost-effective basis than you would in traditional extraction methods.”