Foodarom Group Inc.
Fruity, savory, sweet, bitter, buttery — name the flavor and just like a designer fashion label or marketing agency, Foodarom Group Inc. brings it to life with thousands of formulations and a diverse team of experts. Based in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Foodarom is a custom flavor designer and manufacturer serving the food, beverage and nutraceutical product industries with complete flavor formulation and support. Foodarom’s countless flavor profiles help labels reach a target audience with memorable flavors that spark their interest and imagination.
Foodarom recently celebrated its nine-year anniversary. Pierre Miclette, now president and general manager of Foodarom, and John Murphy, vice president of sales and marketing, founded the company in 2006. Shortly after graduating from the Université de Sherbrooke with a degree in biotechnology, Miclette started working right away in the flavor industry in greater Montreal.
“Quest International was looking for a junior flavorist and I joined the company and started their training program in Holland and the U.S., specializing in beverage industry flavors,” recounts Miclette. “I worked in the U.S. for seven years and then went back to Canada and worked for a small French company for about nine years.”
A whole new world of opportunity
After working for several years in Canada and the U.S. for major corporations, Miclette began to realize there was a different way to do business and the only way to do that was to start his own company. “I joined John Murphy, a longtime friend and colleague of mine, and we formed Foodarom,” says Miclette.
Since forming in 2006, Foodarom has taken an entirely different approach in the flavor industry with an open-lab policy, particularly in how the business interacts with customers, something that Miclette says was lacking in the specialized industry. “The flavor industry is very much a b2b business. Although smell and taste are part of daily life, the consumer is very disconnected from where these things come from,” he explains.
Miclette saw this as an issue and wanted to show and teach his customers more. “We support research and development in a very personalized way with our customers,” he explains. “We try to teach what flavor is all about and the true science and art behind what makes a great flavor — that’s what really sets us apart. We offer explanations, classes and all of the education that we believe is crucial if we want our customers to be confident in understanding flavor.”
For this reason Foodarom has focused on investing in the technical side of the business. “Even our sales staff are technically minded and educated,” says Miclette. “Nowadays you need experts on the ground to talk to the customers and offer our approach.”
Miclette says Foodarom is like a marketing agency for flavors. “We design, tailor and meet the customer’s need for flavorings. We’re the first to offer this type of approach and a global view of the flavor industry and how the environment around a flavor needs to be optimized,” he says. “It’s more than a matter of the right flavor; it’s the right flavor with the right environment. For example, if you’re baking a cookie and it needs to be baked at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, the flavor has to sustain in this process. It might not survive the cooking process, so we make sure that we respect the environment of the application, which is where we’re quite different.”
This approach has made way for swift expansion for Foodarom. Today the company has more than 95 employees located at a home base in Montreal, all the way to San Diego and a brand-new branch in Germany. “We’re expanding in sales by 25 to 35 percent every year,” reveals Miclette. “We’re still Canadian owned, but we’ve expanded globally to be close to our clients, which are all over North America, Europe and now Asia. We have plans to expand more on a global scale.”
Foodarom delivers custom flavors for the food and beverage industries, but some of the company’s biggest customers are in nutraceuticals. “This sector is growing because people are no longer eating to eat, they’re eating for a purpose,” explains Miclette. “We’re well-known for being able to offer solutions and act as a problem solver for customers in this sector.”
Flavor development on the move
So how does one go about creating a new flavor, be it for a beverage or a nutraceutical product? Miclette parallels Foodarom’s business model to a marketing agency: “A customer contacts us with an idea — something they want to launch in the marketplace,” he explains. “We work to create the best flavors that suit the application with our knowledge of market trends and consumer preferences. After this we even coach the customer as far as the formulation of the final product.” And customers can rest assured that the actual flavor formulation will comply with all Food and Drug Administration, HACCP, CFIA-ACIA certification and standards, as well as TGA Health Safety compliance, allergen-free and produced with certified-organic ingredients.
Foodarom has expertise in aromatic education, made-to-measure flavors, functional flavors and data analysis and market trends. The company always has its eye on the next big thing in the industry and has shared some interesting flavor trends to watch in 2016.
Foodarom says bitter (anything from orange to cranberry, vermouth and even artichoke highlighted in bitter cocktails), holistic (foods with herbal and botanical flavors in functional beverages featuring hibiscus, maca and elderflower), nostalgic (retro flavors that bring you back to your childhood) and beauty flavors (flavored with super fruits and veggies with star ingredients such as beets, kale, broccoli and even purple potatoes) are on the rise in 2016.
In the traditionally sweet ice cream category, Foodarom’s market research reveals that a new breed of flavors is hitting the frozen dairy aisle. Move over rocky road and caramel swirl, basil-tomato-toasted pine nut and red velvet beet are shaking things up. “The move to savory ice cream is natural and probably overdue,” says Melissa Aubert, flavorist in the Foodarom San Diego flavor lab. “Savory flavors have a long history in cheeses. Just look at the popularity of pepper jack and horseradish cheddar.” She says it was just a matter of time before creative chefs and producers began marrying the distinct creamy and toothsome properties of ice cream to savory and umami flavors.
These are the kind of market trends that Foodarom invests a great deal of time, energy and resources into understanding so it can offer its customers leading solutions in the flavor business. “If you’re looking to work with a team of truly passionate individuals, dedicated to what they do, come to Foodarom,” says Miclette.
For signature flavors that pack a punch, customers continue to call on Foodarom’s leading expertise and exciting approach to custom flavor creation and design. Foodarom Group Inc. will continue to “put the WOW” in its customers’ products.