FEATURE21 September 2017

Sensory overload

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Consumer insight and research drives business strategy and innovation at International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) in its quest to create sensory experiences across product categories for consumers. Rob Gray speaks to its global head of insight, Stan Knoops


Ah, the sweet smell of success. Did you know that being an innovator in sensorial experiences can be big business? Very big business. For 2016, US-headquartered International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) posted full-year net sales of more than $3.1bn – a figure not to be sniffed at, if you’ll excuse the pun. There are plenty of dollars to be made out of scents. 

IFF, which has 7, 300 employees and operates in 35 countries, is divided into two main business units – unsurprisingly, flavours and fragrances. The latter generates a slightly higher proportion of overall revenue and is split into two businesses: fine fragrances and consumer fragrances. Fine fragrances is focused on the perfumery market, whereas consumer fragrances works with FMCG companies – such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Henkel – in categories including fabric, hair and home care, developing fragrances ...