- International Flavors & Fragrances has rebranded with a new focus on unlocking growth opportunities, driving innovation, optimizing its portfolio to maximize value and accelerating business transformation, according to a company announcement.
- The company's new strategy, called Vision 2021, restructures the company into three divisions: nutrition and ingredients, taste and scent. The new organizational structure will roll out during the next 12 months.
- “Our Vision 2021 Strategy has been designed to leverage our newly combined organization, our broader product portfolio, increased naturals portfolio, expanded market access, broader customer base and greater innovation pipeline to drive total shareholder return,” CEO Andreas Fibig said in a written statement. “We are focused on disciplined execution and capital stewardship.”
While IFF is a global giant in the flavoring market, it makes sense for it to hone in on where it wants to focus. After all, IFF itself has undergone rapid change through acquisitions. Last year, the company bought Israel-based Frutarom Industries — a natural flavors and ingredients leader — for $7.1 billion. Two years ago, the flavor powerhouse bought Columbia Phytotechnology, also known as PowderPure, for an undisclosed amount. In 2017, it launched a new company, Tastepoint by IFF, from two other acquisitions: David Michael & Co, which it bought in 2016; and Ottens Flavors, which it bought in 2015.
These acquisitions made IFF an even bigger company with a new menu of capabilities. According to a presentation from the company's Investor Day last week, from 2017 to 2018, IFF jumped from the world's #4 company in flavors and fragrances to #2, with $5.1 billion in sales last year. The company now has about 39,000 customers, sales are up about 20% and the employee count has nearly doubled from 7,000 to more than 13,000. The Frutarom acquisition was the catalyst to this large-scale transformation, according to another presentation from its Investor Day.
As consumers are more interested in natural colors, flavors and scents in their food and drink, IFF is in a good place to grow its business. As it reorganizes to play up the three types of ingredients its customers are looking for, the company has many opportunities to showcase these synergies.
At the large IFF booth at IFT19 earlier this month, those synergies were on display. Tastepoint, PowderPure and Frutarom each had a dedicated section of the booth with samples, but almost every item included ingredients and technologies from the other areas of IFF. An example of this was pea protein meatballs with flavor maskers developed by IFF to cover the off taste and berbere sauce flavored by Tastepoint.
Eduardo Villagomez, IFF's new director of global vanilla product who led the Tastepoint team at IFT, told Food Dive the changes put the company in a better position to grow and have a more extensive suite of choices for its customers to choose from.
"We still have all that creativity," Villagomez said. "We still work in all the applications, all the new products, the old products, but on top of that we still have all that technology that IFF is behind. In the past, as separate companies, ... we might not have access to all of those resources. So now, it's just more tools that we can use and offer to our customers."
Not only have these acquisitions provided IFF with more tools, but it's also paid off financially. According to IFF's most recent earnings report, the company had record-setting quarterly sales of approximately $1.3 billion, a 39% increase over the first quarter last year.
Reorganizing and refocusing is something many food companies do to respond to goals and changes in their operation.
They can be spurred by bad news: Campbell Soup appointed a chief operating officer in April 2018 to improve its focus on its core soup and snacks divisions, and increase its presence in health and well-being. Earlier this year, Campbell Soup announced it had eliminated the position.They can also be the result of good news, such as IFF's recent success and Greek yogurt maker Chobani's decision to combine sales and marketing under a "demand" category that is more consumer focused.
The rebranding could help IFF move forward, transform its business model and provide more room for innovation. The public is increasingly looking for new and exotic flavors or products with more natural alternatives in the foods and beverages they consume, placing companies like IFF in an ideal position to provide more options for their customers to use to meet these needs. A new structure could help IFF do what is needed to grow exponentially — and help it close in on the world's top flavor and fragrance companies.