The French flavours specialist, which as been present in Algeria since 2002, will be presenting the results of six months laboratory work at the Djazagro trade show in Alger, which runs from 14 to 17 April. Area manager Nicolas Gautier told FoodNavigator.com that raw material costs have pushed the price of some products, like yoghurts, out of the reach of many people. "Algeria is a big market but income per capita is lower than in Europe. We decided to offer quality flavours for best cost price," said Gautier. "This way we are trying to help our clients offer affordable products to their customers." The list of flavours adapted to Algerian tastes with the best price:concentration ration possible was drawn up in a joint project between the company's R&D laboratory in France and in Algeria which is dedicated to developing and adapting products to local tastes. A taste of Africa Tastes across Africa vary wildly and understanding the differences is important to building a successful presence in the market. "One cannot talk about Africa like a single country," said Gautier. "Tastes are totally different depending on where you are." For instance, in North Africa tastes tend to be more classical and in some respects are aligned with Europe, such as in demand for coconut and banana. Some successful flavours for Aromatech include a bitter soda, and Chefi soda, described as "very ripe apple cider". For West Africa, however, Aromatech has created different flavours, such as the corrossol fruit, bissap (hibiscus flower), 'monkey's bread' (baobab fruit). The taste of vimto, originally an English soda, is also appreciated here, as is hot ginger. But when broadly comparing African preferences with European, the main difference is in concentration levels. "Any flavoured product in Africa would appear two to 10 times overdosed for the European palate," said Gautier. Djazagro offerings In addition to the Algerian flavours list, Aromatech will be presenting all its typical African flavours, plus recent developments to meet global trends such as exotic, superfruit, and organic flavours. Aromatech claims to be the first French company to offer a complete range of organic sweet and savoury flavours, which it started developing in 2000, and its references now number more than 500. The company will also be presenting its knowledge of worldwide trends, a marketing survey, and specific studies on biscuit and beverage applications. Working hand-in-hand While many ingredients companies are now offering tailored and technical solutions to their European customers, the need to supply more than just the ingredient is more pronounced in Africa. "Generally we have to provide a full solution including help with the recipe and the processing of our customer's finished product," said Gautier. Not only does this challenge the company to develop capabilities in all food sectors, however, but there is also scope to work closely with top management to help shape their project, and even proposing new ideas and concepts. "This way you have a direct contact with R&D and all departments of the company, and you can share information, comments and opinions very quickly," he said. Into Africa Africa now accounts for seven per cent of Aromatech's annual turnover - but this figure has is the result of 15 years involvement in the continent. "We are not in Africa only for a cone-shot business reason," said Gautier, "but rather on a long term strategy." The company made its debut in Africa in 1992, when it opened its subsidiary in Tunisia. It established the Algeria subsidiary a decade later, and has since developed business in Morocco, Libya and Egypt through exclusive agents. In 2005 it strengthened its presence further by establishing Aromatec Africa, a sales office in Tunisia with a team that travels to some 15 countries. Today it covers all West African countries between Nigeria and Senegal.