Taste, Nutrition & Health | Corporate

Symrise to open creative center with Unilever
— Integrated product development for a key customer’s brand
— Presence at Wageningen Campus
— Ecosystem approach for high speed to market

In the so-called “Food Valley” of Wageningen, Symrise pioneers a new approach by installing an innovation lab at the Unilever Foods Innovation Centre on the Wageningen Campus. By having Symrise resources directly on the site of consumer goods manufacturer Unilever and by working together with scientists of the internationally renowned Wageningen University & Research, innovative culinary foods will be developed at a much faster pace. This enables Symrise to thoroughly understand and deliver against its customer’s needs. Knowledge exchange with customers and research institutes at joint facilities will serve as a successful model to achieve this.

Could a slight note of mint perfectly complement the taste of a lamb ragout? Or could coriander add that special twist to a seasoning sauce? The culinary professionals at Symrise explore the best ingredients for sauces, condiments, soups or dips on a daily basis. In the past, Symrise taste experts developed finished product ideas in their own facilities and then presented them to their customers from the food industry. Symrise has now developed an integrated model with the consumer goods manufacturer Unilever. The latter is one of the world’s leading consumer packaged goods companies offering well-loved brands like Knorr, Wall’s, Lipton, Hellmann’s and Amora.

The company is constantly innovating, bringing new authentic taste ideas to consumers’ palates, meeting current and future requirements for healthier and more sustainable market products, such as plant-based foods and developing products for new consumption occasions like snacking and meal bridging. Now, working together with Unilever, Symrise can help shape product development in an especially efficient way. For this purpose, Symrise is opening an application lab at Unilever’s Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen in the Netherlands. The state of the art creative center will comprise a flavor creation lab, an application kitchen and collaboration rooms that cover 120 square meters.

Creative and efficient together

“This approach will enable the companies to optimally integrate and develop new products together in a creative and efficient manner,” says Heinrich Schaper, President Flavor Division at Symrise. “Furthermore, the site will make it possible for us to leverage the expertise of the best Agri-Agro researchers from around the world.” Wageningen University & Research is recognized globally as the top institution for education and research in the areas of agriculture and nutrition, in which it possesses a rich hundred-year tradition. Over 5,000 scientists and 12,000 students are dedicated to studies in the agro-food and environmental domain. Employees of Symrise will also lecture at the university, and students will be invited for exchanges in Holzminden.

“We are thrilled about the idea of cooperation and direct knowledge exchange. Having the resources and expertise of a global leader, such as Symrise located right at our site enables us to work even better together on the transformational journey towards a food system that is better for you and for the planet. It’s a first proof point of how we envisage working together with partners in an ecosystem. Consumers can look forward to very unique taste experiences,” says Manfred Aben, Vice President R&D and Head of the Foods Innovation Centre at Unilever.

Innovations for more taste and sustainability

Symrise aims at working together with Unilever on many different levels. In addition to taste, sustainability ranks high on the agenda of both companies. Both their environmental and social commitments have been recognized on numerous occasions. This new, on-site approach to integrated product development allows for more scientific collaboration on the field of sustainability. Both society and consumers will profit from joint sustainable solutions.

Combining research and consumer insights of both companies with an accelerated innovation pace delivers significant advantages – products can be developed faster, more efficiently, with high consumer relevance. To achieve this, Symrise will contribute a selection of raw materials and use them directly in the development of new products.

“This approach, which resembles a holistic ecosystem in which specialists from Unilever and Symrise are directly connected to one another as well as with scientists from the Wageningen University & Research, has enormous potential,” says Schaper at Symrise. “It can be adopted by other customers and enable go-to-market product acceleration. It also provides the long-term benefit of adding depth to our understanding of customers and their markets.”