The German chemical company aims to enter the flavours and fragrances market with biotech-based natural vanillin, valencene and nootkatone
BASF has made two big moves in the biotechnology sector. By acquiring Isobionics, an innovator in biotechnology serving the global market for natural flavours and fragrances (F&F), and through a cooperation agreement with Conagen, a biotechnology researcher, BASF has entered the market for natural F&F ingredients.
Being known as a leading supplier of synthetic aroma ingredients, the company now broadens its portfolio with natural ingredients such as vanillin, nootkatone and valencene. BASF intends to advance the technology for biotech-based aroma ingredients by combining its own R&D excellence and broad market access with the know-how and expertise of Isobionics and Conagen.
"Reflecting the potential of changing consumer habits and the scarcity of natural ingredients, the strengthening of our biotechnology footprint is at the heart of BASF's strategy," said Melanie Maas-Brunner, who leads BASF's Nutrition & Health division.
BASF has signed a cooperation agreement with Conagen, a research leader in the field of biotechnology. Through this partnership, BASF will be able to serve the market with natural vanillin, one of the aroma ingredients with the highest market demand.
The natural vanillin that BASF initially markets is based on ferulic acid sourced from rice and therefore named Natural Vanillin F. With its clean vanillin character, Natural Vanillin F is ideal for all flavour applications, such as chocolate, strawberry and caramel, while maintaining an "all-natural" labelling.
Conagen has strong R&D and commercialisation capabilities for fermented ingredients. Fermentation is an ancient cultural technique well known from processes like brewing beer and baking bread. It uses microorganisms like e.g. bacteria or fungi to convert one substance into another.
BASF's Nutrition & Health division furthermore recently established a global business unit dedicated to the research and production of enzymes, which can be used as natural processing aids or ingredients for a large variety of applications in food, feed and technical industries.
"The Flavour & Fragrance industry is experiencing an increasing need for natural ingredients," said Julia Raquet, who heads BASF's Aroma Ingredients business. "But fluctuating product quality, availability and sustainability are constant challenges for our customers. By entering the market with biotechnology-based aroma ingredients, we intend to provide our customers with high-quality products to respond to the current market challenges."
"BASF is known for its high-quality standards, traceability and excellent regulatory know-how," says Toine Janssen, founder of Isobionics. "By combining our biotech-based product portfolio and strong development pipeline with BASF's expertise and its global market reach, we can provide the natural aroma ingredients market with even more innovations – and boost our growth."
Isobionics is a biotech-based aroma ingredients company, located in Geleen, the Netherlands. The company develops and produces a wide range of natural ingredients for the F&F market with a focus on citrus oil components such as nootkatone and valencene. Isobionics, with all its employees, will become part of BASF's Aroma Ingredients business.