The proposed sale of Danisco's flavour division to Firmenich for DKK 3.36 bn (€0.45bn), announced at the beginning of this month, is the latest in a line of deals leading to consolidation in the market. It comes on the back of Givaudan's acquisition of Quest International for CHF 2.8 billion (€1.7bn), which closed in March. Fabio Albertari, an analyst with IAL Consultants, told FoodNavigator.com that consolidation in the flavours industry mirrors that in the food industry at large. It makes sense for bigger players in the market to join forces since "a large multinational company is more likely to deal with another large multinational company". Moreover, compliance with regulations can be time consuming and expensive for an individual company. And R&D can only be done to a desirable level by bigger companies. Although only these two major deals have been announced so far this year, this is the continuation of a trend that Albertari has observed for the last 10 years. Although it is difficult to predict with certainly the turn the market will take in the future, he said: "It isn't showing any sign of slowing. My bet is that it could go on further". In terms of the benefits of mergers and acquisitions, Albertari agrees that it helps spur development of new flavour products. While there may be a levelling down of variety, the plus side is that it combines R&D expertise and resources to bring about more innovative solutions. Indeed it is notable that Danisco is not entirely washing its hands of any involvement in flavours whatsoever, since it has said it is entering into a strategic partnership with Firmenich that will be rolled out in the months following the closure of the acquisition. The companies have not expounded on how exactly this relationship will work, but Firmenich hopes it will unite "the best in taste and texture to deliver comprehensive flavour and food ingredients solutions to targeted segments of the market". IAL's Overview of the Global Flavours and Fragrances Market, published in April, put a US$12.6bn tag on the market. Flavours are said to account for just over 50 per cent of the market, and fragrances just under. The consultancy predicts ongoing growth of around 3.5 per cent per annum. In Europe, it has identified some key trends, including demand for 'heavier' flavours to ensure that low- or no-sugar products still taste good. Unusual food sources said to bring health benefits, such as cranberries and pomegranates, are said to have a positive effect on the market since more flavourings are required to offset their naturally tart taste. The Asian market, meanwhile, is characterised by the popularity of ready meals, thanks to growing urbanisation, and the of the younger generation's readiness to experiment with new products. And the US is experiencing considerable interest in the organic and naturals sector, posing challenges for flavour companies who sometimes have to come up with organic certification.