Responsible sourcing for natural aromatic ingredients: The biotech solution

The flavour and fragrance industry has always been looking for natural ingredients – even more so these day in order to meet consumer demand. Sustainability, renewability, competitiveness; there are many parameters that have been challenging to meet with traditional natural ingredients. Gaël Boyenval, director of business development for F&F at Evolva, shares how biotechnology is changing that perspective.

Evolva is a biotechnology company that was founded in 2005 as a contract research organisation (CRO) mainly working with the pharmaceutical industry. Our role was to develop specific strains of microorganism that were producing the required molecules. Our business model started shifting towards a commercial organisation in 2010 with the development of our own natural functional ingredients for the F&F, personal care and supplement industries.

While we were developing our own ingredients, we were still engaging in partnerships with other industry leaders such as IFF with natural vanillin and Cargill (now under Avansya, a joint venture between Cargill and DSM) for EverSweet, a natural high-intensity sweetener.

Biotechnology relies on fermentation to make natural ingredients. Fermentation has been used for centuries to make products such as beer or wine. In this process, yeast converts sugar into alcohol – biotechnology relies on the same principle to convert sugar into other molecules. The intellectual property and added value of Evolva resides in the development of microorganisms (yeast, bacteria etc) to metabolise sugar into a specific molecule of interest (valencene, nootkatone, vanillin etc) instead of alcohol.

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