Investing in sustainable technology, a strategy that pays off for Firmenich

Swiss fragrance and flavour manufacturer Firmenich announced on Friday a 10.2% increase in annual sales driven by acquisitions and fine fragrances. Analysis of a business model that integrates sustainable technology as a key success factor.


A rebound driven by acquisitions and fine fragrances


The Firmenich group, which publishes its results on a staggered basis, said in a statement that it had achieved sales of nearly 4.3 billion Swiss francs for the 2020/2021 financial year ending in June.


Sales were up 16.8% including its acquisitions compared to the previous year and its organic growth was 4.7%.


Firmenich’s results were driven by its flavour division, as sales increased by 5.2% excluding currency effects. The flavour division supplies the food and beverage industry, in particular the beverage industry and sugar reduction solutions.


In addition, the fragrance and ingredients division increased its sales by 4.4%, driven by the rebound in fine fragrances.


The group, which is not listed on the stock exchange, however, said its adjusted gross operating profit fell by 5% year-on-year, due to acquisition-related costs and negative currency effects.


Last year, Firmenich bought DRT, a French company producing pine resin derivatives, in particular maritime pine grown in the Landes region. The aim of this action was to enable it to develop and consolidate its presence in renewable ingredients.


Sustainable technology and innovation, key success factors


In addition to the acquisition in 2020 of the world leader in the development and production of renewable ingredients, the Firmenich group has also recently developed and patented an energy-efficient and solvent-free extraction technology. This unique process – untested in cosmetics and perfumery – has already enabled it to create three novel sustainable extracts: a pear extract, a ginger extract and a green pepper extract.


This cutting-edge technology, called Firgood, uses only the water contained in the cells of the biomass. Once heated by electromagnetic vibration, the water carries the odour components to deliver the final pure extract.


Gilbert Ghostine, CEO of Firmenich, says: “This cutting-edge technology, which is extremely respectful of the environment, is a revolution for natural ingredients in our industry. It opens up new creative territories that have not been explored until now.”


But the company is not stopping there. Last June, Firmenich also announced the launch of the Scentmate digital platform, which uses artificial intelligence to support independent brands in the fragrance creation process. This platform reproduces the entire process of creating a fragrance online and in an accelerated way.


Ilaria Resta, President of Global Perfumery at Firmenich, said: “We are delighted to launch a pioneering fragrance solution tailored to entrepreneurs and independent brands. We have gone from concept to execution in less than a year, leveraging Firmenich’s best-in-class capabilities, including over 50 years of fragrance data, to revolutionise the way fragrance is made.”


The platform also features an assisted briefing process where users can indicate their needs, be offered “smart” selections and set their fragrances. Users can also access their compositions, have samples delivered within a few days, and place and track their orders.




Featured photo : © Firmenich


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The editorial team
Thanks to its extensive knowledge of these sectors, the Luxus + editorial team deciphers for its readers the main economic and technological stakes in fashion, watchmaking, jewelry, gastronomy, perfumes and cosmetics, hotels, and prestigious real estate.

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