Firmenich’s Jerry Vittoria with Sumit Bhasin
of P&G Prestige.

Back in the United States for the first time in many years, the 2012 World Perfumery Congress (WPC) was held at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut from June 12-14.

Fragrance houses, perfumers, finished goods companies, ingredient suppliers and a variety of other fragrance professionals gathered at the conference to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the worldwide fragrance industry.

Hosted by the American Society of Perfumers and Perfumer & Flavorist magazine, the three-day conference and exhibition aimed to promote the art and science of perfumery, while exchanging knowledge in a pro-industry manner and supporting professional growth.

This year’s program included a rich assortment of fragrance experts, including those from small and medium enterprises, multinationals, key industry organizations, market research organizations and academia. Each panel of experts delivered a wealth of valuable information on the issues affecting fragranced consumer goods around the world and industry regulations, as well as perfumers and their ingredient palettes, and more.

On June 12, Jack DiMaggio, president of JAD Associates, moderated a session called “Reinventing Fragrances: New Global Strategies for Growth,” which focused on the new premium-mass paradigm and shifts in consumer perception of quality, value and luxury.

Irina Barbalova, head of global beauty and personal care research at Euromonitor International, addressed the economic contexts that are shaping the fragrance industry’s supply and demand.

“Mass market growth was more resilient, but premium still overtook in 2011,” said Barbalova. “The U.S. accounted for a third of premium category growth, whereas Brazil accounted for 70% of mass category growth. We’ve seen an interesting growth of unisex fragrances, and a focus on limited editions, which seem to create extra buzz for a brand. We’ve also seen a return to the art, heritage and authenticity of fragrance, as well as the consumer’s desire for individuality, which explains why the niche market is becoming increasingly overcrowded.”

Looking ahead, Barbalova notes that the power shift to emerging markets will continue, and that the multi-channel strategy is certainly the best way to move forward.

At the “Wake-up Call Commencement” on June 13, Joseph Huggard, managing director at The Huggard Consulting Group, highlighted the global significance of fragrance.

“Four million jobs globally are directly dependent on the fragrance industry,” said Huggard. “Our industry has real societal value.”

A panel titled “Cracking the Fragrance Code: Consumer and Brand Intelligence” featured Marcella Bartoletti, global fragrance strategist and advisor for MABA—Sense the Magic Happen; Sumit Bhasin, director of global innovation for P&G Prestige; and Leslie Smith, senior vice president of research and development for Coty, who discussed changing consumer habits and how to achieve success in both local and global formats.

“We have a tremendous opportunity in fragrances, and there is huge potential,” said Bhasin. “We need to consider how the fragrance accentuates the functional attributes of the product, and we need to go from a conceptual view of sustainability to looking at how it really affects people’s lives. We should also be more proactive at how we look at self-regulation.”

Smith agreed with Bhasin, and noted that finished goods companies need to engage the authorities directly regarding regulation.
On the topic of eco-friendly initiatives, Smith added, “Sustainability does not sell products—yet. But 10 or 20 years down the road it could be a law, and drive the business.”

The “Cracking the Fragrance Code: Creation Intelligence” panel featured the executive insights of Michael Carlos, president of Givaudan’s fragrance division; Christophe Maubert, president of Robertet’s fragrance division; Nicolas Mirzayantz, group president of fragrances for International Flavors & Fragrances; and Jerry Vittoria, president of fragrances, North America for Firmenich, on the topics of new technologies and creative processes driving the future.

“Our industry is considered an opaque supply chain, and we need to work on our transparency without losing out intellectual property—we need to restore creativity,” said Maubert. “We should take the short life cycles of fragrances as an opportunity to take more creative risks.”

Vittoria added, that “with more transparency, we [fragrance houses] could be a more trustworthy partner to stake holders. We have a lot to learn from our customers, and having an open dialogue is critical.”

Mirzayantz spoke about applying new strategies to please the rapidly-changing consumer.

“Consumers are looking for real-life experiences, and they want longer-lasting fragrances and freshness,” said Mirzayantz. “Using micro-encapsulation technology creates a new level of experience for consumers and enables instant gratification. We are also relying on nature for the inspiration and sourcing of our product—sustainability is a positive trend that we need to accelerate.”

Carlos also commented on the use of new fragrance technologies. “A lot more green chemistry and bio-technology will bring about change to compensate for the constraining of raw materials and ingredients,” said Carlos. “It is important to secure our supply of ingredients to support the creativity of the perfumers.”

To discuss the topics of ingredients and R&D, a panel called “Synthetic Ingredients: The Future of the Perfumer’s Palette” was moderated by Dennis Maroney, perfumer at International Flavors & Fragrances, and included panelists Ahmet Baydar, senior vice president of global research and development at International Flavors & Fragrances; Robert Bedoukian, president of Bedoukian Research; and Laurent Mercier, vice president of global sales at Firmenich.

“There are many challenges for perfumers, including constantly needing new ingredients while trying to keep cost down,” said Baydar. “A lot of ingredients that we use today may not be available in the future due to regulatory demands.”
Bedoukian addressed the need for different types of ingredients in order to fully foster creativity.

“We need both naturals and synthetics to meet the needs of the consumer today,” said Bedoukian. “There is a lot of flexibility in what one can do with synthetic ingredients, and they can fill roles that naturals can’t. It is important to educate consumers on the positive side of synthetics.”

At the conclusion of this year’s event it was announced that the next WPC conference is set to take place in Deauville, France in 2014.

Givaudan’s Felix Mayr-Harting, Karen Elliott and Michael Carlos with Rajeshwari Srinivasan of Titan Industries (2nd l.). Mast’s Megan Crokos and Benedicte Bron (r.) with Vincent Kuczinski, Celine Roche and Michel Mane of Mane. Robertet’s Rhona Stokols and Christophe Maubert with Coty’s Ruth Sutcliffe and
Yvette Ross of IFF.
IFF’s Nicolas Mirzayantz, Dionisio Ferenc (2nd r.)
and Juliana Gomiero with Luis Bueno and Denise Figueiredo of Natura (c.).
Takasago’s Jeff Arway and Aditi Bhanot. The Estée Lauder Companies’ Trudi Loren
and Luxury Solutions’ Dale Dewey with
Frederic Jacques of Mane and Dwight Loren.
8 WPC 9 WPC 10 WPC
Givaudan’s Rose Eckert, Frederic Pignault,
Cos Policastro, Oriol Segui and Yara Karmiloff.
Intermed’s Dimiter Stefanov and Neil Colley. drom’s Ferdinand Storp, Markus Schiek and Robert Stapf with Mailes Haack of Beiersdorf.
11 WPC 12 WPC 13 WPC
IFF’s Veronique Ferval and Sophia Grojsman with Jean-Claude Delville of drom. Givaudan’s Olivier Gillotin, Calice Becker
and Rodrigo Flores-Roux.
American Society of Perfumers’ Renata Girnius with Melanie Williamson and Julien Maubert
of Robertet.
14 WPC 15 WPC 16 WPC
Firmenich’s Fred Keifer, Glenn Sabat,
Frauke Galia and Tony Reichert.
Mane’s Syed Shamil and Jim Krivda. Agilex’s Lois Evans with Bertrand Lemont
and Laurent Le Guernec of IFF.
17 WPC 18 WPC 19 WPC
Givaudan’s Margaret Opsasnick, Karen Flinn, Bert Studinger and Geraldine Nicolai. Coty’s Laurie Welsch with Yara Karmiloff
of Givaudan.
Renessenz’s Alain Frix and Gulcicek’s
Michel Gulcicek with Ahmet Baydar of IFF.

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