How working at a global leader in taste solutions has enhanced my career

profile picture of Alistair Clark: white man, in blue shirt, with glasses and a beard. Mousy brown hair. When you are passionate about all sorts of food, cooking recipes, great tastes and exotic spices joining a global food manufacturer following my graduation in Food Technology was a great introduction to the food industry.  I wished to work on as many products as I could: best-selling sauces, worldwide known dressings and why not even drinks? I could already picture telling my friends & family all about how certain products were made. A bit like winning the golden ticket in Roald Dahl’s ‘Chocolate Factory’! In reality this was only partly true.

On entering the food industry I discovered that almost all food & beverage manufacturers have ‘taste suppliers’, and that most of these suppliers had two core competencies: scents & tastes. This niche industry is called the F&F industry, as in ‘Fragrances & Flavours’.

Here are 3 reasons, why joining a ‘taste supplier’ has enhanced my career.

1. Big consumer brands and taste suppliers: a successful partnership and a 360 overview for your career

Big consumer brands quickly understood the benefit of co-creating solutions with ‘taste suppliers’. These companies own an incredible variety of ingredients (naturals and synthetic) and have an in-depth knowledge of taste combinations developed by expert flavourists over many years and across markets. (Givaudan has a long history of 250 years!)

If you think about everything that a food manufacturer must oversee in the process (marketing, design, packaging, advertising, manufacturing, commercialisation and supply chain through a network of partners…) this gave the opportunity to others to fully focus on taste attributes. I had the chance to join both sides in my career: starting within a global consumer goods business and then joining the global leader in Flavours: Givaudan. It gave me a full overview of their respective businesses and definitely brought a plus in my career.

2. Getting inside a flavour house is discovering a ‘whole new world’

Building on its global leadership position in flavours and taste, Givaudan’s ambition is to create food experiences that do good and feel good, for body, mind and planet. With an expanded portfolio of products across flavours, taste, functional and nutritional solutions combined with a deep knowledge of the food ecosystem from great taste to visual appeal, shelf-life management, texture and colouring, Givaudan’s passion is to collaborate with customers and partners to create sensory experiences that surprise and delight.

Above all Givaudan’s purpose is to ‘create for happier, healthier lives with love for nature’. To deliver on this purpose we have set ambitious goals in four areas: Creations, Nature, People and Communities. By living our purpose we will continue to be a successful, sustainable business.

3. What I have learnt at Givaudan that I would not have elsewhere

One great advantage of working at Givaudan is that, as world leader in our industry, we get to work closely with many of the leading food and beverage companies on the development of their products. This creates tremendous variety and an oversight of the whole industry, from Retailers through Manufacturers and Ingredient Suppliers. I have a fantastic network of contacts from working closely with so many and varied companies.

We have state of the art facilities, both locally in the UK and at our Regional Innovation Centre in Switzerland so are at the forefront of the latest developments and future technologies. However, we are not just engaged in the technical aspects of product development. Our projects involve working closely with our Marketing and Consumer Insight team and Culinary team (i.e. top chefs) as well as science and technology, to produce the best tasting products.

About the author:

Alistair Clark graduated from the University of Reading in 1994. His passion for food and science logically led him to study Food Technology. For this curriculum, he chose to enrol at the University of Reading as to him it had the best reputation, offered excellent courses in food studies, modern facilities and a green park style campus. Alistair is now Savoury Applications Manager at Givaudan in Milton Keynes, UK.

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