Since 1996, FlavorActiV has been supporting the brewing industry through taste panel training, online proficiency and GMP flavor kits. Let’s share some impressive stats: Each year, FlavorActiV trains, manages and proficiency tests more than 5,000 beer sensory panelists in 200 countries around the world. The company’s be doing all that for nearly two decades. In fact, its anniversary is coming up. How do we know? Well, FlavorActiV CEO Richard Boughton recently sent us a letter about the big celebrash that highlights the progress over all those years. Take it away, Mr. Boughton.
Hello Craft Brewing Business readers,
As many of our friends and sensory partners know, we are approaching quite a landmark in our company’s history — our 20 year anniversary. As I reflect on the past, there is a lot to be proud of.
We can start by remembering the 40,000 sensory participants trained worldwide. An impressive figure that reflects the industry’s belief in the value of focusing on sensory training and raising standards. By improving the sensory acuity of taste panels to optimize taste of products, we know this has led to improved quality and a major cost reduction in product failures and recalls.
Today, we work with most of the top 10 world’s largest brewers and beverage producers together with thousands more small and independent operations. This amazing success stems from one simple truth: We listen to and react to the ever-changing needs. We are supporting sensory and improving quality on a global scale and are proud of each and every person we have worked with to improve quality, from the humble home brewer to the global multinational.
Our core team now consists of 14 multilingual Global Sensory Managers, backed up by development, innovation, communications and logistics support in the U.K. We have our experts based in Europe, North America, Central and Latin America, Africa and Asia, not forgetting additional partner support organizations around the world. And we are now improving sensory quality in beer, wines, spirits, soft drinks, coffee, dairy, juices, waters … even venturing into oils and cocoa. All this requires considerable innovation and development on our part, but thankfully, our dedicated GMP Flavour Centre and hugely talented staff make this achievable.
A little more about our GMP Flavour Centre, as it is an important and unique aspect of FlavorActiV. Housed at Quay Pharma (a UK Medicines Regulatory and Healthcare products Agency licensed and certified producer of pharmaceuticals), our dedicated lab has been producing all FlavorActiV GMP flavurs (in improved blister packaging) since 2011. Only consistent, traceable, stable flavors will deliver the results required from taste panels, and because our partners wanted these improvements to our products, we delivered them.
But it’s not just having quality products. Integral to working globally and across multiple sectors is understanding cultural needs. This relates to how we communicate with and train customers, how we support them afterwards and how we meet a multitude of expectations. The surest way to make this happen is by having multinational, multilingual sensory experts (a key part of our recruitment drive), and between us, we speak more than 20 languages. An incredible asset to have!
In the last couple of years we have expanded the team considerably, bringing in Aruna Singh (based in South Africa), Dr Binod K Maitin (India), Cecilia Valdivieso Lopez (Mexico), Amanda Wang (China) and Sue Langstaff (USA). We have additional partners in Japan, Russia, Australia and Germany to further support our distribution channels and local knowledge. Supporting global beverage markets needs a global team — we are well on our way to having this.
To support all this our UK team has also expanded with Racheal Weait, Sarah Braisher and Peter Jackson (Customer Support) and Liam Singleton (Communications). And we expect to bring in more people soon to keep up with growing demand.
But we don’t like to spend too long looking back; instead, our focus is always on tomorrow and how we can better support our partners.
We do this in a number of ways: By constantly striving to develop and innovate our product portfolio to meet and anticipate your needs, for instance this year we have already brought in new flavors Honey, Mushroom and Fermented — with more in the pipeline; added new products to our portfolio, such as the Portable Sensory Booth; teamed up with leading voices and companies in new markets, as we are with coffee and cocoa, which will bring benefits to all our customers as our knowledge base increases and products further diversify; And continuing to listening to and working with you, as we have done so successfully for the past 19 years and expect to do for the coming decades.
Finally, and one of the most rewarding outcomes of our success, is that we now able to support a UK charity. Fifth Sense is the world’s first charity to support people with smell and taste disorders, and it was a natural partnership for us to lend our knowledge and expertise to support its members … Moving forward we will be working with the industry and Fifth Sense to help raise awareness in loss of tasting ability, as well as provide solutions to improve quality of life.
We are very proud of our team and how well we are equipped to support the industry’s sensory needs. And the feedback we get suggests they are just as happy with us. We look forward to speaking with you soon and working together to reach our common goal — improving sensory standards and quality around the world.
CEO of FlavorActiV