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Home > The Country > Interview with Emilie Nault, the Managing Director of Senovia AMEA: “We believe that sustainability is not just a choice, but a responsibility”

Emilie Nault, the Managing Director of Senovia AMEA, shares the brand’s establishment of new standards in flavour creation via ground-breaking liquid solutions.

As part of the Arethia Group, the flavour development and manufacturing company leverages over seven decades of expertise to perfect the art of flavour, combining a deep passion for taste with cutting-edge technology to disrupt the sector by delivering modern, accessible, and innovative taste solutions. “Creating flavours is more than just creating a taste; it is an art form that can transform ordinary products into extraordinary ones,” Nault states.

In her role as the Managing Director of Senovia AMEA, Nault engages in collaborative efforts with clients to nurture enduring, mutually advantageous relationships that align with the company’s dedication to advancing flavour innovation. Moreover, she affirms her commitment to enhancing the capabilities of internal teams by providing guidance and expertise, thereby fostering a culture of excellence and satisfaction among stakeholders both within and outside the organisation.

Join Senovia’s fusion of art and technology as we gain perspectives on industry complexities, commitment to innovation, quality, and safety, and the establishment of new standards in flavour creation through their liquid solutions.

What sets Senovia apart from other food flavour manufacturers in the region?

We distinguish ourselves from existing industry players by offering complete end-to-end assistance and bespoke flavour services regardless of company size, ranging from global corporate entities to start-ups. We understand that each brand has its own story to tell and a specific vision to fulfil – therefore we collaborate closely with our customers to craft flavours that truly embody their brand essence.

We also believe in a well-rounded approach when it comes to the services we provide. From the creation of customised flavours to the matching of popular profiles, we consistently innovate, discover new ways to use flavours and help navigate the rules and regulations in different countries. By doing all this, we offer our clients not just a service, but a partnership that helps them move forward and achieve success, because when they win, we win.

What prompted Senovia to choose Dubai, UAE, as the location for its product research and development centre?

With our headquarters in Switzerland and our production facilities in Germany, we wanted to build a hub closer to our regional clients. As a geographic epicentre and influencer across the AMEA region, the UAE aligned best with our strategic and operational objectives to deliver food flavour services to companies within the region.

The UAE has developed into a regional and global hub for numerous sectors including F&B which has derived credible demand for flavourists like ourselves to explore new markets, build new connections, and establish a reputable brand image while developing fresh perspectives on innovation. Its ease of doing business and cosmopolitan population also offer many opportunities to network and forge long-term partnerships. With our strategic UAE research and development centre, we can serve our client base across the GCC and AMEA region.

Can you share some insights into the product research and development centre in Dubai and how it aligns with your regional expansion strategy?

Our research and development facility is where creativity meets science, and where innovation is not just an idea, but a flavour you can actually taste. The centre is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to develop tailored solutions and welcomes a team of experienced professionals to ensure the best flavours are crafted at the highest standards of quality. The centre also offers product science support for flavour optimisation.

The R&D centre based in the UAE exclusively specialises in the development of flavour products. Its strategic location allows it to effectively meet the demands of both local and regional markets, capitalising on the UAE’s influential position within the region.

The nation’s thriving F&B industry, constant influx of tourists, strong trade relations, and advanced technology adoption has attracted F&B product manufacturers across the globe and expert flavourists like us to explore the region’s potential. It is also seen as a major trendsetter from which regional nations may adopt similar strategies. Therefore, it constitutes an ideal market to test the waters and lay the foundation for our planned regional expansion.

How do Senovia’s flavours cater to the specific tastes and preferences of the Middle Eastern market?

The innovation and creation team have deeply rooted ties with the region providing them a clear understanding of the regional preferences. Whilst this is helpful for the development of a general flavour profile, it is our close collaboration with local and regional F&B product manufacturers which allows us to co-create the flavours desired by their target audiences.

Certain flavours enjoy popularity in the region, and we assist brands in navigating the distinctive intricacies of these flavour profiles. For example, regional herbal and botanical flavours such as saffron, cardamom and ginger have stood the test of time and are likely to continue their popularity due to their health benefits and traditional appeal.

We also foster constant innovation and continually stay ahead of trends to identify emerging preferences within the regions we cover to optimise our portfolio and offer well-suited ready-made solutions to our customers.

How do you envision the brand’s presence contributing to the growth and innovation of the food and beverage industry in the Middle East?

Flavour is arguably one of the most important elements in F&B products. By supporting F&B manufacturers in the region to offer end consumers unique flavours, we are aiding the growth of their markets and facilitating new and innovative ways of approaching target audiences.

Sometimes, adopting regionally standard flavours is not the only innovative way to enter or sustain a market presence. Finding the ideal flavour mix while maintaining other key elements related to the product like textures, aromas and ingredient ratios needs to also be considered.

Flavour companies like Senovia help F&B product manufacturers increase cost and resource efficiency and sustain consistency in quality – two factors which are vital for industry growth. When manufacturers have reliable partners who can offer them this kind of predictability, then future strategy planning becomes less complicated and the vision for growth becomes clearer.

How does Senovia prioritise sustainability and responsible sourcing in its flavour manufacturing process?

We are committed to making a positive impact on the environment and the communities we serve. We believe that sustainability is not just a choice, but a responsibility. That’s why we have integrated sustainable practices into every aspect of our business.

Waste Reduction: Our flavour production processes are designed to optimise efficiency and reduce waste generation. Additionally, we actively promote recycling and proper waste management practices within our facilities to minimise environmental footprint.

Energy Efficiency: We are dedicated to conserving energy and seek to minimise our consumption in the flavour creation and manufacturing process. By embracing renewable energy sources and implementing energy-saving measures, we are also working towards a greener and more sustainable future.

Community Engagement: We believe in giving back to the communities that support us. Through various initiatives, we strive to make a positive difference beyond our operations.

Continuous Improvement: Sustainability is an ongoing journey, and we are committed to continuous improvement. We regularly evaluate our practices, set goals, and implement innovative solutions to further enhance our sustainability performance. By staying at the forefront of sustainable practices, we aim to drive positive change within our industry.

How do you see the food flavour industry evolving in the coming years? And what’s next for Senovia?

The global flavour industry is constantly evolving on the technology side along with end-consumer preferences. Particular trends that are currently influencing the industry and show promising opportunities include:

Unique flavours: The hunt for new and unique flavours might be an everlasting human ambition. Exotic flavours from localised dishes, tropical fruits, and cross-country flavour fusions such as ‘Japanese guacamole’ or ‘Zaatar chicken wings’ are increasingly becoming popular. F&B product manufacturers are constantly exploring the vast realm of flavours to find the next big hit and sustain their market shares while differentiating themselves from the competition.

Natural flavours and Sustainable Practices: In response to a global surge in health and environmental awareness, consumers are increasingly advocating for natural flavours and sustainable practices, compelling F&B manufacturers to adapt. Herbal flavours, recognised for their perceived health benefits, have created a premium market for flavoured foods, fostering the growth of wellness-focused products like kombucha, kefir, and cereal bars. It is crucial to note, however, that while natural extracts are sourced directly, their processing may involve encounters with various chemicals, challenging the assumption that a “natural flavoured label always signifies a healthier product”.
Sustainability, though not inherently tied to flavours, significantly influences the supply chain, emphasising the importance of renewable energy resources, waste minimisation, and collaboration with sustainable suppliers. Moreover, the increasing popularity of plant-based products, driven by their lower environmental impact, is expected to spur further developments in flavoured plant-based meat and mylks.

Technology: a crucial factor in the creation of flavours that meet both local and international quality standards, driving ongoing innovative advancements. The industry is witnessing a continuous pursuit of novel approaches for accelerated flavour development, cost reduction in manufacturing, and streamlined market entry. Notably, modern quality control methods like Chromatography (GC-MS) and Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, employing state-of-the-art equipment, play a key role in composition analysis for accurate food labelling.
Additionally, Artificial Intelligence is increasingly employed to comprehend flavour preferences, explore ingredient combinations, and forecast trends, thereby optimising the overall flavour development process.

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