Exter launches flavour ranges for speed, flexibility

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Flavor

Exter Aroma is relaunching its flavour collection under six ranges,
offering a more comprehensive range and positioning as a flexible
market player that can respond to product development requirements

The Dutch firm, which also supplies hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP) as bouillion bases and flavour enhancers, has previously offered flavours to the market. But it is now restructuring its offering under six clear ranges, which comprise new products as well as old successes: beef, chicken, seafood, pork, vegetable and cheese, and base notes. Lambert ten-Haaf, director sales and marketing, told FoodNavigator.com the aim is to offer a "broad and balanced package",​ and to give customers the tools to find an appropriate solution fast. "Product development relies on speed,"​ he said, adding that this is particularly the case when the company works with distributors in local markets such as Asia. In parallel with this, there is always the option to talk with customers if a certain product is not exactly what they are looking for. He explained that Exter's production facility is set up for batches, rather than a continuous production process, so that it can easily move from one product to another. "We are not a huge flavour house. We are smaller and flexible and fast, and able to respond quickly to specific needs." ​ As well as counting food manufacturers amongst its clients, Exter can also supply flavours and flavour components to multinationals and big flavour houses. Ten-Haaf said that, when a customer considers purchasing a flavour, they make their choice according to three criteria: taste (the first and most important aspect); labelling for position in the market; and economy of use. As far as labelling goes, all the ranges come with clean label options, such as MSG- and allergen-free. Exter is also planning to launch a range of natural flavours in 2008, and the clean labelling option is seen as the first step towards this. For economy of use, the product also needs to fit in with the overall cost calculation for the product formulation, especially given high costs of basic raw materials at the moment. Most of Exter's flavours are made using the Maillard reaction - that is, a reaction between a protein source and a starch at high temperature. This same reaction is responsible for giving grilled and baked foods their distinctive taste. The company uses a variety of raw materials as a protein source, but its own HVP figures large. While he was unable to give specific figures since Exter is a private company, ten-Haaf said that average annual growth has been 20 to 25 per cent over the last two years. Until 2005 Exter was part of DSM. It was bought by holding company Oterap, when DSM restructured to focus on its core businesses, leaving smaller business areas where it could not be market leader. Oterap is named after the Italian economist Pareto - but spelt backwards. It was Pareto who introduced the 80:20 economic principle followed by the majority of large companies: that is, focus on the 20 per cent of products that bring in 80 per cent of the business. This, Oterap's founders saw, gives an opportunity for smaller companies to move in on the smaller business areas. This is not necessarily competition, however. Often, ten-Haaf said, a small company will collaborate over production with a larger player, act as their supplier, or, as in the case of Exter (which Oterap acquired from DSM in 2005) take the business off their hands. "As a company, we are positioned to take care of the things multinationals don't take care of."

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