The German flavour and fragrance specialist announced its plans to build the new centre in Sorocaba March 2007, around the same time as it launched its citrus brand, Naturally Citrus.
Today, it is unveiling the set up in all its glory, including spray drying facilities three times the capacity it had before; and with the completion of two further construction phases by 2012, the site will have been expanded by some 300,000m2.
Global president of flavour and nutrition, Dr Heinz-Juergen Bertram, explained that the centre fits in with a company-wide strategy of direct access to important raw materials. This, he said, not only gives greater security in the supply chain but also aids transparency.
“The long-term partnerships we have had with important citrus processing sites in South America give us control over every aspect of the supply chain, so we can vouch for sustainability,” he said.
Bertram revealed that, in addition to existing relationships, Symrise is actively looking for more cooperations with citrus processors, growers, researchers and NGOs.
In a recent interview with FoodNavigator.com, Dr Claus Oliver Schmidt, senior VP of global innovation for flavour and nutrition, said that wherever possible Symrise uses raw materials grown close to its production plants.
While one may argue that there is still a need to transport the material elsewhere, the company has developed a way to transport it in a solid, very highly concentrated form.
The system is called SymTrap, and it involves installing absorption columns on the farmers’ sites so that they can do the first stage of processing themselves – that is, taking out the water and thereby improving the flavour yield.
The result, Dr Schmidt said, is “only a couple of kilograms from a tonne of water”.
SymTrap is also said to have benefits for recapturing top quality flavour components, which are usually lost with industrial processing.
The Sorocaba centre includes a production plant for the company’s priorietory technologies, such as SymTrap; as well as a pilot plant. Other equipment geared towards sustainability includes an environmentally-friendly thermal oxidation facility.
It also has distillation equipment so that citrus specialities can be made on a production scale. The Global Citrus Competence Centre will be occupied with the development and manufacture of citrus flavourings and products like terpenes, washings and extracts of oils, folding of citrus oils, specialty oils and fractions, dry emulsions, juices and extracts.
Hans Holger Gliewe, president of Symrise’s flavour and nutrition business in Latin America, said that Brazil now yields twice as many fruits as Florida, and 50 per cent of the world’s oranges now come from there.
The United Nation’s FAO projects that global orange production will be64 m metric tonnes in 2010.
In addition, it is helpful for Symrise’s citrus operations to be within easy reach of Argentina, which is a major centre for lemon processing.