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New Quest berry flavours target dairy growth

By Anthony Fletcher , 05-Dec-2006

Quest claims that its new Berrysense range of fruit flavours could give dairy product firms the edge in capturing lucrative new markets.

The new flavours, designed to mimic as closely as possible the natural taste of berry fruits, are also designed to overcome functional difficulties.

For example, a recurring problem with yoghurts is that berry flavours tend to go off. But Quest claims that Berrysense preserves the integrity of flavours for a longer time.

 

This could give manufacturers a critical advantage in tapping the growing trend in combining dairy products with natural fruit flavours.

 

"There is growing demand for real fruit flavours in the dairy industry," said Quest business development manager Ernst van den Berg.

 

"We are proud of the way we have been able to combine our innovations to find a solution to this."

 

The yoghurt market for example is booming. Sales of yoghurt in the UK alone are set to increase by 40 per cent over the next five years, and smash the £2bn barrier by 2011, according to market analyst Mintel.

 

In a new report entitled Yoghurts UK, Mintel also identified the rising popularity of yoghurt drinks.

 

"Yoghurt drinks are ideal for eating on the go and tap into the snacking zeitgeist of modern Britain in a way that yoghurt pots struggle to do. However, their real success lies in the fact that many are functional drinks and are designed to have a specific benefit beyond their nutritional value, said David Bird, senior market analyst at Mintel.

 

What Quest's range is designed to do therefore is tap both this growing dairy trend and also the general trend towards 'real' fruit flavours. In the past, consumers were often content to settle for an approximation of a fruit's 'natural' flavour.

 

But tastes change, and consumers have become more demanding.

 

"Berrysense is a nature-identical range of flavours," said senior flavourist Esther van Ommeren.

 

"In the market today many strawberry flavours are often not strawberry at all they might contain other flavours that approximate the flavour of strawberry.

 

"Over time, people get used to the flavour but we think that people are coming back to real flavours."

 

The new range, specifically targeted at the dairy sector, is scheduled for launch in January. In the meantime, the company's beverage group is looking at ways of applying the flavour technology to beverages.

 

"We are seeing more and more berry flavours in water drinks," said van den Berg.

 

It is certainly exciting times for Quest. The company was recently acquired by Givaudan for €1.2bn.

 

The Geneva-based company signed an agreement with Quest's UK-based parent company Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) to acquire the fragrance and flavour business, a deal that should be completed during the 1st Quarter 2007.

 

"This is an outstanding opportunity for Quest, joining the highly creative, most respected and profitable business in our industry and the clear market leader," said Quest chief executive Charles Knott.

 

In 2005 Quest had sales of €560 million and a trading profit of €52 million. Quest is headquartered in Naarden, The Netherlands, and employs around 3,400 globally with major activities in the US, UK, Asia and Continental Europe.

 

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