Family-owned Firmenich, which has its headquarters in Switzerland, ranks as the number two flavour and fragrance firm in the world.
Its new office and laboratory facilities span 500m2, and are located in the DuBiotech business park. The aim is to be better placed to tailor its flavour and fragrance offerings to local taste. It is targeting both manufacturers based in the region and multinationals that operate there.
In the flavour part of the business, the Dubai-based team will work on solutions for sweet goods, beverages and savoury applications. It will tap into the company’s expertise all over the world, for marketing, sensory and technical knowledge. Popular applications are likely to be juices and dairy products, and solutions will include citrus, natural ingredients and taste modulation.
In fragrances, the team will cover sales, marketing and development of fine fragrances for the Gulf Region.
A spokesperson for Firmenich confirmed to FoodNavigator.com that the company has been active in the Middle East for some time, but did not have any premises in the region before.
Gulfnews.com quotes Louis Lecoeur, General Manager of Firmenich in Dubai as saying: “We've looked at different countries and we found that Dubai is probably the best place to have an office…One of the reasons we came here is for the 100 per cent ownership.”
He was also upbeat about the potential of the Middle Eastern market, quoted as saying “A Saudi woman or an Emirati woman uses perfume ten times more than a French woman.”
Being privately-owned, it does not release geographical breakdowns of sales, but its annual turnover in the year ended June 2009 was CHF2.642bn.
Firmenich is not alone in recognising the potential from the Middle Eastern market. Symrise also set up a new sales branch and application centre in Dubai last year, to be closer to its Middle Eastern customers.
Torsten Wiltosch, the head manager for the site, said: “Over the past few years, we’ve established a large number of new contacts and clients in the Arab world. And we see a lot of potential for future business in this region, which is why we’re investing in close personal contact.”
Beverage and food ingredients firm Doehler also opened a new applications centre in Dubai last year, after having had a sales office there for several years. It decided to expand its presence due to the market opportunities identified in the region.