Process flavours are described as the building blocks of flavour compositions, which provide the initial taste donation for culinary and savoury products like soups, snacks and ready meals. Top notes, herbs, and more specific taste directions are added by food producers or flavour houses.
The decision to invest €10m in its facility in China was based on observed general market growth in the flavours market - particularly in Asian countries like China, where food preferences are evolving with the emergence of middle- and upper-classes towards more restaurant-style foods.
Gerard Hardeman, project manager for strategic projects, told FoodNavigator.com that traditionally process flavours were made by food producers and flavour houses - and indeed, such companies do still produce the majority themselves.
However this is not their main area of activity and they are increasingly facing a decision as to whether they will continue, or divest it so as to focus on their core competencies and buy in the building blocks instead.
Hardeman did not disclose the capacity of the new plant, but it is said to have doubled its previous capacity in China. DSM also has process flavour plants in the Mid West USA and in The Netherlands.
For now, 25 per cent of the China facility's output is earmarked for the Asian market, but DSM is certain that this will increase as growth in Asia is presently outstripping that of the more mature US and European markets.
For now, however, the remainder of the product is split equally between the US and European sales.
The decision to locate in China was not predicated on cost of production - indeed the majority of the raw material (yeast extract) is shipped over from Delft in The Netherlands.
But DSM has repeatedly stressed its commitment to China and other emerging markets, with a target of total sales from the country to reach US$1bn by 2010.
Presently Japan, Australia and Korea represent big markets within Asia - and producing process flavours locally gives better access to these. But China is undoubtedly growing as a final destination for ingredients - not least because big food producers like Unilever and Nestle are increasing the percentage of their product sales in China.
DSM's process flavours - which include products such as the Savorkey boiled taste profile, Maxavor roast taste profile, Gstex basic savoury taste provider, and Maxarome natural taste enhancer - are derived from non-meat sources and are clean-label - catering to the major trend towards more natural ingredients that are seen as a plus for final food products.
The savoury ingredients business is one of the leading producers of yeast extracts, on which process flavours are based; process flavours are produced using the Maillard reaction between a protein source, amino acid and reducing sugar.
DSM's new facility is fully-automated, with a continuous controlled process to deliver process flavours with very little variation compared to batch production, especially in the taste characteristics.