The German flavours and fragrance firm first announced its plan to expand its Nördlingen production site in late 2005, hoping to re-establish itself as a leading force within the global flavours market. Beverages make up one of the most dynamic categories in consumables at the moment, with a particular focus on natural ingredients and those with added health benefits. What is more, flavours for beverages have been estimated to account for around 30 per cent of the overall US$6 bn flavours market. By investing in this area, Symrise is positioning to take full advantage of the drive towards healthier products. Indeed, it is a further signal that health is not just a flash-in-the-pan trend, but is regarded as an enduring new direction for the industry, worthy of investment. One of Symrise's three beverage sites (along with Braunschweig and Holzminden), Nördlingen now boasts a laboratory for applications and process technology research, and a pilot plant for the extraction and distillation of plant materials such as herbs and spices. They will be used for manufacturing flavourings and emulsions. The pilot plant is able to simulate processes from development right through to industrial-scale production. "We are clearly demonstrating that innovation is one of the most important tools we have for expanding our position as a leading flavourings manufacturer," said Frank von Keutz, leader of Symrise's beverage EAME business unit. Elements of Symrise's innovation include an extraction process designed to produce natural flavourings from oranges, lemons, red fruits and berries - whilst retailing their authentic flavour profiles. "These are especially well-suited for applications in which only natural flavourings are permissible, this serving as a foundation for what are known as clean label products - an increasingly important category," said the company. Indeed just last month Symrise unveiled plans to expand its citrus fragrance and flavour activities, with building underway of a new centre located close to the source of high-quality, natural fruits in Brazil. It has also been working on experimental methods to process new and exotic flavours, such as lemon grass and cherry blossom. For example, they created the Symtramp process for concentrating the flavour-yielding components of fruit. In 2005 Symrise reported sales of € 1.1bn, 57 per cent of which were from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It is currently ranked 4th place on the global fragrances and flavours market.