‘Inspiring local customers’: Givaudan strengthens local presence with African investment

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

Givaudan wants its new flavours facility to bring it closer to African customers and consumers ©iStock/m-imagephotography
Givaudan wants its new flavours facility to bring it closer to African customers and consumers ©iStock/m-imagephotography
Givaudan has opened a new technical centre in Casablanca, Morocco, to serve the local market. FoodNavigator speaks to Antoine Khalil, commercial head flavours Africa & Middle East, to find out about the benefits of going local.

Flavour and fragrance group Givaudan inaugurated a new flavours technical and commercial centre in Casablanca, Morocco, this week.

The €1.06 million facility is part of the Givaudan’s 2020 high-growth markets strategy, which sees Givaudan increasing investment in high-growth markets in Asia and Africa. This strategy, Givaudan believes, will contribute to its targeted 4-5% organic sales growth, averaged over five years.

“This investment demonstrates our continued commitment to Maghreb and West Africa in line with our 2020 strategy of investing in high-growth markets. This CHF 1.2 million investment aims to strengthen Givaudan’s flavours leadership in the region,"​ Khalil told FoodNavigator. 

For the first time in Morocco, the company will offer a “full range of flavour application capabilities​” in a single location. Givaudan said the facility will serve customers from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Malta, Ivory Coast and Guinea operating in the savoury, beverages, sweet goods, dairy and snacks segments.

Regional flavours head Antoine Khalil said that the move would strengthen Givaudan’s relationship with regional food makers. “We believe it is very important to have local facilities as it allows us to partner closely with our customers in this region, enabling us to create the best quality flavours to delight consumers locally.”

The 600-square-metre facility houses application labs with specialised technologies along with commercial spaces for customer taste and smell demonstrations. The local capabilities will benefit from additional support for creation from Givaudan’s flavour development centre in Dubai and its regional innovation centres in the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Local know-how and speed to market

Importantly, Khalil said that a local footprint enables Givaudan to help speed the product development process, allowing its customers to bring products to market faster and more efficiently. “Our new flavours technical and commercial… demonstrates our commitment to delivering a superior customer experience in the region, helping our customers to go to market faster with our seamless creation, production expertise and capabilities.”

Givaudan ribbon cutting

Ribbon cutting:​ The facility was formally opened by – left to right: Samer Samaha, Commercial Director Magreb & West Africa, Massimo Baggi, Swiss Ambassador to Morocco, Sami Zerelli, President of the Swiss chamber of commerce and Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Marrakech, Antoine Khalil, Commercial Head Flavors Africa & Middle East

The investment also reflects the importance Givaudan places on understanding local consumer preferences, expectations and tastes. The company is committed to developing flavour solutions tailored to specific regional needs.

Khalil explained: “What people like to eat and drink is different depending upon where they are in the world, so an understanding of what inspires and delights local consumers is vital to creating great flavours that are right for each market.”

The African bullion segment is sizeable and “growing”​, Khalil continued. In order to meet the product development requirements of this category Givaudan has developed a database of country-by-country consumer insight. “We have extended consumer understanding [and] insights on the taste likings per country - the taste expectations from a bouillon - and accordingly we use our in house technologies and flavour expertise to create flavours that [meet the needs of] our customers and African consumers.

“The new 600-square-metre facility will enable Givaudan to meet our customers’ growing needs for innovative products and great taste experiences in the region more efficiently. The centre is designed to support our customers to capture growth opportunities.”

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