The Swiss flavour firm has had a relationship with San Diego-based Senomyx since early 2008 for the research, development, commercialisation and licensing of flavour ingredients for a cooling effect.
They also signed an agreement last November giving Firmenich exclusive rights to commercialise the S2383 flavour enhancer for sucralose in beverages, foods and oral health care products.
Now the partners have a new agreement for Firmenich to commercialise more sweetness enhancers, this time for sucrose, fructose and rebaudioside (from stevia).
For an initial period of five years, with the possibility of renewal thereafter, Firmenich will have the exclusive rights to the new enhancers for all food categories for which Senomyx does not already have licensing agreements.
Emmanuel Frenck, Firmenich’s VP global marketing for the flavours division, declined to name other license-holders but told FoodNavigator.com that his company does not have the rights in non-alcoholic beverages or in sugar confectionery.
Frenck explained that the sweetness enhancing molecule does not have a flavour per se and does not modify the properties of the product. Rather, it enhances the perception of sweetness by the person tasting it.
Firmenich could include this molecule in formulas alongside other molecules that make up a particular flavour.
The use of sweetness enhancers is expected to aid the development of products with a better nutritional profile – such as those with reduced sucrose. It could help reduce costs as less of the sweeteners need to be used. This is especially pertinent for rebaudioside, a new sweetener which currently comes at a relatively high cost.
Reb A research
Firmenich has already been working with rebaudioside in partnership with PureCircle, to mask the bitter off-notes that can occur.
Frenck said that the sweetness enhancing and the bitterness masking technologies could be applied together.
Senomyx and Firmenich are to share the research costs associated with the new enhancers.
Firmenich will also pay Senomyx a license fee and royalties on sales of products developed under the collaboration.