What does a Flavourist do?
A flavourist at Treatt is an extremely broad role – no two days are the same - providing an integral link between several departments in the business.
The broader team and I are lucky enough to be involved in several checkpoints of the new ingredient process, from networking with ingredient suppliers, to ingredient development, to following the ingredient through to application.
Being a trained flavourist also helps me communicate with our customers using similar flavourist language and can support not only on customer visits but in providing bespoke solutions from ideation all the way to customer consumption.
Due to the impressive range of unique ingredients we have available to us at Treatt, the team is also able to provide the business with internal flavour creation capabilities, which allows us to create cost effective, signature flavours and allow us to be one step closer to FMCG companies. We often have our own projects to work on which rely heavily on new product development, whether these be customer, category or trend driven.
Trained flavourists provide Treatt with structured and consistent sensory support. I am also involved in descriptive analysis, flavour profiling of ingredients and generating information for product information forms. This allows me to work closely with other departments such as technical, quality, commercial, operations and category management.
How did you get started as a Flavourist?
My journey at Treatt began within the Agricultural Residues team, as a fresh graduate with a BSc Forensic Science degree. I soon discovered a keen interest in analytical science and moved into specialist roles within method development and analytical innovation.
Whilst in the latter role, I started analysing fresh fruit/veg material, beverages and Treatt products using headspace technology, and from there began to really explore flavour chemistry.
There is limited official training available for a flavourist, as most of the learning occurs whilst being immersed ‘on the job’ and is built on with experience.
Thanks to support from Treatt, I attended a three-week intensive Flavourist Training Course at the start of my career, organised by the British Society of Flavourists.
Following the course, I then had two years training with a consultant flavourist, as a trainee. This enabled me to learn the Treatt portfolio of ingredients in depth, with an immediate focus on citrus, HSF (Herbs, Spices and Florals) and natural chemicals. From this training, I was able to compile a reduced palate of key creative ingredients. I worked on several creative customer briefs in parallel with training, strengthening my knowledge in flavour creation. That was five years ago now and I haven’t looked back!
What have you been working on recently?
I work closely with our Applications team, as they often require us to produce cost-effective, true-to-fruit flavours to enable them with the full range of tools they need to fulfil customer briefs. I have recently been working on several exciting customer led briefs, working together with the team to provide innovative flavour combinations in suitable 1-pot solutions to meet our customers’ needs.
Not only do we work closely with external customers, but we’ve also been providing innovative solutions to our internal customers of the business, focussing primarily on the problematic aspects of the citrus market, producing solutions that allow us to be more agile in presenting sustainable solutions to our customers.
I am constantly exploring new ingredients and work with our innovation and procurement teams to evaluate anything they believe may be of interest, in the hope to expand our gold-standard pool of creative ingredients.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is working with multiple other teams across the business. This allows me to have a great insight into the wider workings of Treatt, and really understand the context and meaning behind what I do. I love the creativity aspect too, and relish working on new and exciting projects that support up and coming trends.
What are the key trends / what will impact beverage in the future?
Something we are continually exploring is the low and no trend. Beverages in this market are striving to remain alcohol free, whilst maintaining the mouthfeel of true alcoholic beverages to facilitate the consumer with the same experience. There is no silver bullet with this one from a flavour perspective – we look at combining trigeminal ingredients to create a fine balance between heating and cooling to achieve that desired alcohol ‘burn.’ Non-alcoholic beverages are produced in several ways, but a typical dealcoholisation method can sometimes result in a loss of aroma and/or flavour delivery. Our job is to ensure we can replace or mimic some of these missing attributes. It’s a trend that will continue to be a challenge, and solutions will be constantly evolving within the flavour industry.
Any tips for someone thinking of becoming a Flavourist?
My advice would be to explore everything around you. Really think about what it is that makes up the flavour of everything you are consuming, whether its beverage or foodstuffs. This will in turn fuel your creativity and passion for all things flavours. I would also suggest joining the British Society of Flavourists (BSF) – there is a huge amount of content available from regular seminars with industry experts to ‘Flavour Talks’ podcasts. The BSF training course is also great starting point to jumpstart a career in flavour, I learnt a lot from some deeply knowledgeable members in the industry, and I would highly recommend attending.
What’s your favourite drink?
My go-to is always a Gin & Tonic. I am forever exploring new combinations, whether it’s a new flavoured gin or latest tonic on the menu. I love the interaction of botanicals and have a real admiration of how different tonics are matched to enhance specific gins, and further garnished appropriately to provide the consumer with a unique experience.
Making the world taste better
We know what it takes to create a beverage that will stand out for all the right reasons, whether you’re reformulating a product, or developing a new one. Contact one of our team today.