Ahead of their presentation at Future Food-Tech Alternative Proteins, we were pleased to speak with Flavio Garofalo, Global Category Director Savoury Flavours and Natural Ingredients, and Paul Lees, Senior Development Chef, about the processes and inspiration behind their plant-based alternative proteins.

Where do your priorities at Givaudan lie in mimicking meat vs creating new novel foods?

Flavio: At Givaudan we take a holistic approach to innovation and this is certainly the case for supporting our customers with the development of plant-based foods. This means our priorities lie in all of the areas where we can positively affect the performance of a product, areas such as making products taste delicious, masking the off-notes that come as part of many plant-based proteins, bringing authenticity and visual appeal, and importantly, helping to make products good for you and good for the planet. Having mentioned that, we see a huge volume of requests for meat mimicking, and therefore this is where the priority lies. But we chose to present novel foods, to help inspire the industry onto the next big wave of innovation.

What role do chefs play in your innovation strategy at Givaudan to develop new tastes and experiences?

Flavio: At Givaudan we have exceptional chefs on our teams in all regions of the world. These culinary artists work hand-in-hand with our flavorists, applications experts and customers bringing creativity and unique skills to the table. From creating gold standard products and helping translate them to marketable consumer products, to inventing new concepts, each day our chefs are in the middle of the innovation process.

Can you share any recent successes where chefs have helped inspire and create delicious-tasting plant-based meat alternatives and redefine traditional meat products?

Paul: Givaudan has been running a programme called Chef’s Council for over 15 years that focuses the creativity and inventiveness of our chefs and teams of world renowned external chefs on specific areas of development. In 2019 we assembled an amazing group of chefs to consider – and create – plant-based alternatives to traditional proteins and put these “centre of the plate”. This week-long deep dive led to some unbelievable creations and we’re looking forward to describing them at the upcoming Future Food-Tech Alternative Proteins event.

What challenges did you need to overcome to combine your chef’s ideas and innovations when bringing Givaudan’s ingredients/products to the consumer / to market?

Paul: Working alongside our external guest chefs at the Chef’s Council we use what we call “Chef to Shelf Translation”. Taking the inspiration from the external chefs, we create a dialogue around the brief and then create dishes using local ingredients and regional cooking techniques to provide new inspirations in taste. From there we move into flavor creation where the Givaudan team assesses the inspirational dishes for the taste effects with a focus on understanding the contribution of taste in the overall profile; we then recreate these effects using Givaudan ingredients and products in market ready consumer concepts.

At the Chef’s Council some of the challenges that we needed to overcome were replicating different and authentic cooking techniques, texture, juiciness, colour as well as flavor. These challenges were all made so much easier by using the vast array of ingredients available in the Givaudan ingredient portfolio and then bringing it all to life through culinary creativity. Working together, the Givaudan chefs and flavorists translate all these learnings into customer relevant products and incorporate our taste ingredients that provide true culinary authenticity in plant-based innovation.

At Future Food-Tech Alternative Proteins, you’ll be presenting “Look Differently At The Opportunity: Are We Focusing Too Much on Mimicking Meat?” Why is this an important and timely conversation for the industry? What insights or examples will you be sharing?

Flavio: There is no question that meat alternatives are a key element of the future of food and we do a great deal of work in this area. In fact we’ve pioneered novel approaches for creating great tasting, sustainable meat alternatives. In this presentation we’d like to explore the immense opportunity that exists outside of the meat-alterative realm, in essence, the rest of the “pie”. We’ll explain our culinary approach to tackling the complexities of product creation and share some forward looking ideas that help drive the conversation.

Flavio Garofalo
Global Category Director, Savoury Flavours and Natural Ingredients
Paul Lees
Senior Development Chef

Flavio Garofalo, Global Category Director Savoury Flavours and Natural Ingredients and Paul Lees, Senior Development Chef, will be presenting the session ‘Look Differently At The Opportunity: Are We Focusing Too Much on Mimicking Meat?’ at the upcoming Future Food-Tech Alternative Proteins summit on June 22-23.