Firmenich inaugurates new regional HQ at Dubai Science Park

Firmenich expands its science and innovation capabilities with a new Creation & Development Center which will provide services to customers in more than 60 countries across the Middle East and Africa region


Rohma Sadaqat

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Published: Wed 23 Mar 2022, 7:49 PM

Firmenich on Wednesday inaugurated its new regional hub at the Dubai Science Park in the presence of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman of Emirates Airline and Group, and Chairman of Dubai Holding.

The company’s newest Creation & Development Center further expands on its science and innovation capabilities. Using cutting-edge technologies, it will service customers in more than 60 countries across the Middle East and Africa region. The center also comprises a state-of-the-art research and science facility.

Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: "Dubai continues to reinforce its status as a global hub for advanced technology and innovation in various sectors. Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the emirate has created a highly growth-friendly environment that has attracted leading global, regional and local companies as well as promising entrepreneurs to create an ecosystem that drives sustainable development."

He added: "Dubai provides a supportive platform for global companies to establish their businesses and expand across the region and the world. Over the last few decades, Dubai's economic diversification strategy has opened new growth horizons, fostering dynamic industry clusters in vital sectors such as science, research and development, which have both broadened and deepened Dubai’s economic and industrial base and transformed it into a centre for innovation.”

Firmenich’s advanced creation and sampling laboratory will allow the company to deliver high-quality and innovative ingredients for fine fragrances and consumer fragrances - used in body care and home care products - as well as a variety of F&B flavours designed for consumers in the region. The company aims to accelerate innovation and global expansion with enhanced access to key markets and evolving trends, while reducing the time to market for new products.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Gilbert Ghostine, global CEO of Firmenich, explained that scientific innovation, as well as a track record of responsible business, has guided Firmenich’s path for more than 125 years. “Science and innovation are the engine of our growth; we invest approximately 10 per cent of our annual turnover in research – that is why we have over 4,000 active patents. We are harnessing our innovation leadership in key areas, from sustainable solutions for nutrition, health and hygiene, to climate change and biodiversity.”

He explained that the new 38,000sqft facility is built on Firmenich’s Lab 4.0 vision, powered by artificial intelligence, and includes a fully automated warehouse that can stock up to 40,000 products.

“Our connected compounding robot has the ability to create fragrance samples in less than a minute,” he highlighted. “We are using artificial intelligence to augment our creativity by enhancing formula creation, selection, and optimisation; strengthening human creation by leveraging the digital revolution; and consolidating efforts around data, technology, and innovation to add value to human creative development. Thanks to our state-of-the-art setup, we will grow faster and bigger.”

Massimo Baggi, ambassador of Switzerland to the UAE and Bahrain, also spoke about Switzerland and the UAE’s long-standing bilateral relationship and how it has been of significant economic and cultural value to both countries.

“We strive to enrich this partnership and continue the advancement of several sectors with the fruitful exchange of knowledge, technological resources and talent. Firmenich’s expansion in Dubai contributes to this objective and we are proud to be able to inaugurate this plant in the presence of our Finance Minister, Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer. The new regional headquarters will introduce even more technologies developed in Switzerland to nurture innovation and make a greater impact by leveraging investment and scientific research,” he said.

Gilbert Ghostine also noted that the new facility will be a key element in the company’s global efforts to respond to important global consumer trends. There has been a shift in the last few years driven by what we call the ‘conscious consumer’ - this is someone who is more concerned with enhancing their own personal wellbeing, but also for the planet. They want better, healthier foods that are sustainable and traceable.

“In fact, this shift accelerated under Covid,” he said. “For example, our studies found that the number one change people wanted to make in their food & beverage choices was to reduce their sugar intake. However, one of the biggest trends – or revolution, really – that began before the pandemic and which has accelerated since has been towards plant based proteins in everything from meat and seafood to dairy.”

This is again primarily out of concern for both environmental & personal wellbeing, driven by a new Flexitarian movement. A Flexitarian is someone who’s not strictly vegan or vegetarian – in fact they still enjoy eating meat and dairy – but they are intentionally shifting to more plant-based alternatives to replace animal products within their diet. The very size of this Flexitarian movement has the potential to make a significant positive impact on the environment, and reduce GhG-heavy, resource-intense animal production.

“It is our commitment to serve this need and our Firmenich Lab 4.0, will design the fragrances and flavors of tomorrow, at unparalleled speed. Artificial intelligence will help us develop creations and solutions faster and our connected compounding robot has the ability to create fragrance samples in less than a minute," Ghostine said.

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