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Every bit is useful

Innovation, Development & climate

One of the UN’s most important goals is to aim for responsible consumption and production. A small contribution to this is made by using raw materials more fully – for example through upcycling. For Symrise, this includes utilizing natural substances that would otherwise be thrown away or not even considered valuable in food production, for example. Three cross-divisional projects show how.

Recognizing side streams

To completely utilize a raw material, the side streams first have to be analyzed, then the valuable elements identified and extracted – and should then be put to good use. The Symrise segment Nutrition gets a lot of these side streams from the production of meat (ADF/IDF and Diana Food), fish and shrimp (Diana Aqua) and fruits and vegetables (Diana Food). Diana Nova, the innovation incubator for the segment, has initially chosen 50 side streams thus eight of them makes up around 80 % of all side streams – such as red beet, celery or carrot pulp, egg or shrimp shells or also chicken bones. The researchers investigated their chemical and nutritional-physiological characteristics and checked whether they were appropriate for upcycling. They also considered possible environmental impacts and business potential.

The results – eight products up to now – are not only interesting for the food and animal feed industry. The Symrise business unit Cosmetic Ingredients, for example, can use some of them in cosmetics, like a cranberry side stream consisting of pulp and seeds. The antioxidant, calming, antimicrobial and purifying properties of the fruit can help not only from within in the form of juices and powders but also applied externally as elements of creams.

Unusual overlap 

In the world of perfumery, many of the finest fragrance ingredients come from nature. Blossoms and other parts of flowers, trees and plants are processed using age-old techniques into resins and oils. It was only fairly recently that synthetic ingredients increasingly made their way into perfumes. Today, as consumers embrace a healthier lifestyle, they are again looking to the plant world in all aspects of their lives – with the focus on highly sustainable and circular supply chains.

Symrise has always been on the forefront of sustainability. The most recent endeavor is the highly innovative and unique Fine Fragrance “Garden Lab”, created through a cooperation between Nutrition and Scent & Care segments, based on an idea from the company’s own perfumery school. The starting point is the in-house developed Symtrap technology which processes aqueous phases from vegetable production in France. The remaining highly aromatic liquid, which would usually be disposed of, can be processed in very natural aroma molecules and be utilized in Fragrances.

Because the project contributed multiple never-before-used ingredients to the fragrance portfolio, many fine fragrance perfumers needed to experiment with them to discover how they worked in a fragrance formula. They discovered truly amazing results. For instance, a new geranium note was developed from artichokes and will be mixed into soon to be launched women’s and men’s perfumes; earthy and nutty notes are processed from asparagus; mossy and mineral notes from leek and animalistic notes from cauliflower; even onion, which most people can’t imagine at all in a perfume, is used for a fruity note.

Developing natural flavors 

Food manufacturers use maltodextrin in many products. The mixture of sugar components, which is mostly extracted from cornstarch, has little taste. It functions as an energy source, thickener and carrier for other ingredients. It’s also a component in a variety of cosmetics. As they are doing for many other materials, companies in this industry are also looking for alternatives to maltodextrin. In 2015, the Flavor segment at Symrise and a major customer from the food industry jointly developed a technology that has been used to process onion pomace – turning the pressed leftovers of the sweet and spicy vegetable into a natural carrier of its flavoring components.

The proprietary technology ensures that the byproduct from the onion process is used efficiently. Previously, it was mostly used as natural fertilizer. At the same time, the technology enables to develop wholly natural taste solutions that also make clean label possible, as there is no need any more to add maltodextrins as a carrier for flavor. At the moment, the Flavor team is working on trying out other vegetables for these purposes.

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