Anniversary Of
Russian Flavor Manufacturing

Food Ingredients Business No. 12 – 2008


Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant: taste traditions and recent trends

The history of food flavorings production in Russia is the history of Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant. There are no comparable domestic enterprises on our country's market for food-ingredient producers: the 70 years of the enterprise's history span a long way from a minor-sized cooperative to a state-of-the-art production enterprise, part of a large holding.

70 years in service

Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant was founded in 1935 based on the Politkatorzhanin production cooperative enterprise that manufactured extracts of wild-growing berries – cranberries and lingonberries. The decision of the People's Commissariat of the Soviet Government on the necessity to relieve the food branch of industry from dependence on the import of raw stock laid the foundation for the creation of the domestic production of food essences. In order to solve this complicated task, laboratories and design bureaus were organized with the engagement of Lensovet Leningrad Technological Institute and Leningrad State University.

The Plant’s regular planned development began from the moment when it was handed over to the People's Commissariat for the Food Industry. Since that time, the Plant became known to domestic manufacturers of food products as Leningrad Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant or simply Lenkhimpishchearomat.

The products manufactured by the Plant have been popular and appreciated by the domestic consumer for 70 years already. Most people from their very childhood remember the taste of Lemonade and Cream Soda drinks and Duchess Pear and Barberry candies. In the USSR, the delicious products were manufactured exclusively based on flavorings by Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant.

Plant today

Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant is a multifunctional association including, apart from production services, specialized laboratories for flavorings development and application, departments for flavorings promotion in different food-industry branches (drinks production, confectionary, dairy, oil-and-fat, snack and other branches). Availing itself of vast scientific and technical potential and a state-of-the-art research base, the enterprise carries out the complete cycle of flavorings creation, from development to industrial manufacture.

The Plant is Russia's largest enterprise producing flavorings for all food industry branches, continuously renewing its manufactured-products portfolio with account for the current trends of the Russian consumer market. Manufactured products rightfully compete with imported foreign analogues in terms of both quality level and price. The Plant's doubtless advantages are its quick response to customer requests concerning the adjustment of various flavoring tastes, a tight timeframe of production-order execution and flexibility in the solution of commercial issues. Taking into account the activation of consumer demand in the country as well as the current trend towards the manufacture of products using natural ingredients, the enterprise continuously improves its production process, applying cutting-edge R&D deliverables for the creation of marketable tastes and flavors. Relying on the adopted program for modernization of the production lines currently in place, we plan not only to reduce the prime cost of our manufactured products but also to use cutting-edge flavoring production technologies meeting the highest environmental-friendliness requirements.

Continuous expansion of the portfolio and sales volume increases are possible subject to the existence of a strict system of quality control at all production stages, from incoming raw-stock analysis to the end-product batch.

The enterprise quality management system has been certified for conformity to the ISO 9001-2000 international standard requirements by TUV NORD CERT GmbH & Co.KG (Germany). Adoption of the international quality standard system and its successful functioning are official proof of the fact that the processes of product development, marketing, manufacture, storage and sales, as well as the Plant’s provision with material resources, fully conform to the global level, ensuring the predictable and reliable quality of our products. All of these measures have promoted an increase in consumers' and trading partners' confidence in the enterprise.

Wide assortment of tastes

A traditionally-strong area of work of Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant is the manufacture of flavorings for confectionary products and drinks production. The Plant offers to the manufacturer a wide portfolio of vanilla, cream, milk, fruit, berry, nut group and other flavorings for all types of sugary confectionary products and pastries. The new flavor assortment is continuously expanded, with the traditional and popular items (Baked Milk, Vanilla Cream, Barberry etc) invariably available. Apart from the thorough approbation testing of flavorings using product model samples, application laboratory specialists develop individual recommendations for confectionary enterprises with account for the specificity of their production cycle for the more effective adoption of flavorings in exclusive products. For the creation of composite taste and flavor bouquets of different confectionary masses, composite flavorings are offered as well as compositions with juice concentrates and other natural ingredients.

To drink manufacturers, the Plant offers a whole assortment of flavors (over 120 items) for the production of any drinks: sugar-based and low caloric, soft, low-alcoholic and long drinks, clear and clouded, carbonated and still, kvass, juice-containing and tea drinks.

In 1949, the USSR launched the production of a number of drinks that remain popular to this day, including: Lemonade (based on the Lemonade-drink blending composition according to the Plant's recipe), Pear Taste (based on the Pear Taste flavoring), Duchess Pear (based on the Duchess Pear flavoring) and Cream Soda (based on the Cream Soda flavoring). The developed recipes involved the use of sugar. However, since increasingly more people are taking heed of food products’ caloric content, Plant specialists have developed sweetener-based analogues of said classical flavorings for the production of drinks that enable reproduction of the same taste familiar since childhood but with no sugar used.

The popularity of the tastes offered by the global brands Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola (accounting for up to 50% market share in Moscow and St. Petersburg) among today’s youth has inspired Plant specialists to create a Cool Cola line of drinks: Cool Cola Nut, Cool Cola Lemonade etc.

Compositions based on natural green and black tea extracts to the full extent possess all the useful properties of the daily consumed hot drinks.

Taking into account our national idiosyncrasies, specialists have developed original combinations of tea concentrates and fruity set flavorings in the collection of the so-called "summer" series of flavors. The balanced composition of astringent green tea overtones with the flavor of fresh strawberries or ripe feijoa render the products attractive to many consumers. Offered to those preferring traditional tastes is the harmonious combination of the black tea taste with raspberries, cherries or peaches.

Noticeable in the contemporary food-production market is the clear trend towards taste-set penetration from one branch into another. Thus, the tastes characteristic of confectionary products and drinks are present in ice cream. In accordance with this trend, the following ice cream flavorings have been created: Apple and Cinnamon, Icy Kvass as well as compositions based on green and black tea extracts. Additionally, the Plant's product portfolio takes into account the needs of the manufacturers of dairy products, margarines, spreads, mayonnaises, ketchups and other sauces, flavored vegetable oils, snack products etc.

The notion of "added value" has firmly asserted itself in the contemporary dictionary. Nowadays, the main objective of food-product manufacturers consists not only in quenching the consumer's thirst and hunger, but also in exercising a benevolent effect on his/her health and overall wellbeing.

Taking into account the global trends, Plant specialists are seriously engaged in the development of flavorings that include added-value functional ingredients for different areas of the food industry.

Success and recognition

The successful activities of Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant have received well-deserved recognition. The Plant is a laureate of the All-Russian Public Award Russian National Olympus in the major industrial enterprise team category (2004), a laureate of the Russian Federation highest public award in the sphere of food production For the Abundance and Prosperity of Russia (2001), winner of the competition among firms supplying raw stock for the brewery and soft drinks industry at the Beer Auction in 2001-2003 and in the competition Gold Ingredient: Northern Palmyra at the exhibition Interfood in 2003.

The high quality of the Plant's products has been acknowledged with gold medals at the following international exhibitions: Beer in Sochi in 2002-2004, World of Ice Cream and Cold in 2004 and 2008, Food Ingredients, Additives and Spices in 2007 and others. The Plant cooperates with the largest food industry enterprises of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the Baltic states. The wide network of dealers and trade representative offices in different cities of Russia, the CIS and the Baltic states ensures the timely delivery of products. The enterprise's well-developed logistics structure also enables uninterrupted supplies under direct contracts with clients.

In October 2007, Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant became part of Phoenix Group holding company founded by the well-known St. Petersburg businessman Yakov Yeroshevsky and bringing together industrial and servicing enterprises operating in many different areas.

Food flavorings: fashion and classic

Marianna Kuznetsova, Deputy Head of the Department for Flavorings Promotion in Drinks and Dairy Products of Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant, speaking of the enterprise's work.

– Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant was the first and for many years – the only manufacturer of food flavorings in our country. Currently, the Plant has to compete in its market segment with both foreign and Russian companies. How difficult is it to work under such conditions?

– It is no doubt difficult, one cannot feel at ease the way one used to. However, competition disciplines.
During Soviet times, the entire food industry of the country worked using flavorings by Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant. At that time, the consumer had somewhat different taste preferences. Thus, there were but a few taste varieties of manufactured ice cream that are now regarded as the classics: chocolate, crème brûlée, vanilla, cream and Glace Plombières. Currently, there are a wide multitude of varieties represented at every ice cream stand, tasting of kiwi, mango, melon and any imaginable combination of all sorts of exotic fruit. It goes without saying that such products are not to be manufactured without the use of flavorings. Not only consumers' preferences are prone to change: production technologies are improved and new raw-stock components appear. All those things are to be taken into account during the manufacture of taste and flavor additives. In order to be in-demand and relevant, one needs to continuously develop. Competition urges us to work better and more efficiently, accommodating clients' wishes.

– How different are the tastes of Russian consumers from those of foreigners?

– Yes, they do differ considerably.
Speaking more specifically, the Russian idea of strawberry taste differs greatly from that of Germans and still more from that of Americans. The same is true with cranberry. In Germany, cranberry taste proper is virtually unheard of, with the corresponding flavoring called Cranberry and Lingonberry and tasting of unidentified forest marsh berries. The American cranberry taste is totally different from what we are used to. Chemical & Food Aromatic Plant is a research and production association: we conduct independent marketing surveys, determine which taste sets may be of interest in the coming season, independently develop, manufacture and sell a specific flavor. Knowledge of our Russian people's tastes is our "secret weapon," our advantage in our struggle with foreign competitors. .

– Are there differences in taste preferences depending on the region where the person lives?

– Yes, no doubt. For instance, for residents of southern regions, the sweeter is the better. Accordingly, we send to those regions a selection of flavors that makes the products sweeter. In Siberia, more "serious" tastes are popular such as tonics, in Central Asia – creamy flavors. We have thorough knowledge of the regional preferences and take them into account in our work with clients.

– Which taste trends are most relevant today?

– The healthy lifestyle trend is on the rise in our country. In this respect, tea drinks, such as cold tea with different tastes, perfectly meet the consumers' expectations. The taste may be that of cranberry, lingonberry or raspberry, which is the taste most habitually associated with tea drinking. You know, it has always been a Russian tradition to drink tea with varenye, strained berries etc. Such a taste evokes positive emotions and appeals to the consumer.
Invariably in high demand are the classical tastes, those of our favorite fizzy drinks –Duchess Pear, Buratino, Cream Soda, Sayany etc. For Russian people, a fizzy drink is a "mentally-charged" beverage, the same as cola is for Americans. They have been drinking cola for a hundred years and are proud of it, so why can’t we be proud of enjoying our fizzy drinks? Citrus tastes are always in high market demand, irrespective of current fashion or season.

– How greatly are specific taste preferences dependent on the season?

– The production of drinks is actually a markedly-seasonal business, with demand for flavoring increasing by the summer. However, cold teas and kvass-flavored drinks are highly demanded in both summer and winter, independent of the season.

– Consumption of flavorings is growing considerably both globally and in our country. What underlies this process, in your opinion?

– On the one hand, food-product and drink-production volumes increase with demand for food ingredients, inclusive of flavorings. On the other, new kinds of products are created and actively produced that necessarily include flavorings. One example is milk-containing products with a complex raw-stock composition where milk fat is substituted with vegetal analogues.
In order to impart a traditional taste to such dairy products, flavorings are added to them. During the production of low-caloric drinks, one also needs to use flavorings adapted to the particular recipe and the specific sweetener.

– About a year ago, the enterprise was undergoing dramatic changes, the Plant having become part of Phoenix Group holding company. Has the Plant development strategy changed?

– In reality, no global changes occurred, our activity area having remained the same. Each executive manager naturally has a personal vision of development, but this has not affected our work with the client in any way. During this time, production equipment was updated with the marketing scheme repeatedly revised. This has improved our work by increasing its efficiency.
The Plant continues its reliable operation, manufacturing high-quality products. In particular, the latter fact was confirmed by the Plant quality-management system audit recently conducted by specialists of TUV NORD CERT (Germany).

– All economic branches are worried and anxious because of the economic crisis. Has the crisis affected Plant operations?

– We have already experienced certain effects of the crisis. Our consumers, food industry enterprises, have found themselves in a complicated predicament. The monopolists supplying the core raw-stock (flour, sugar etc) demand from food industry enterprises special advance payment conditions, and we have already been receiving requests to delay payment for our products. So far, this has had no effect on Plant operations.

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