The first whisperings of a partnership between the two firms were made when Firmenich acquired Danisco's flavourings division for DKK 3.36 bn (€0.45bn) earlier this year, but the scope of the arrangement, which covers development in two all-important areas of sensory quality, only became clear when Firmenich published its annual report last week. Although no indication has been given of precisely what resources the two companies are stumping up, the partnership will come into practice from January 1 2008 to develop and bring to market new innovations more quickly, and to respond to specific customer requests. Work is expected to include gaining a better understand the interaction of taste and texture ingredients with other elements of the food matrix, and to satisfy growing consumer demand for healthier food choices. Crucially, research has indicated that consumers are prepared to try healthier variants of favourite foods that are typically high in fat, sugar or salt - as long as there is no impact on enjoyment. This means that keeping taste and mouthfeel authentic, while reducing or eliminating the ingredients that help generate these, is a major technical challenge for the food industry. Ole Sogaard, chief sales and application officer at Danisco said the arrangement will "provide complete solutions while maintaining flexibility for our customers". "Our strategic partnership is naturally expected to give our customers a range of benefits through enriched product knowledge and optimised solutions," he added. Don Hartman, corporate VP of Firmenich's flavours division, said: "I expect the partnership to be a groundbreaking development for the industry and one that will set a pioneering direction…. We hope to build a new and improved model for the future." In addition to the joint development work, Danisco will also act as a sales agent for Firmenich in some markets, and with some flavour companies with which Firmenich has not previously had a relationship.