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Collaborations and the Golden Rule

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: February 11, 2008, from the February 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 7 of 8

GCI: What is IFF’s assessment of the growth potential of fine fragrance, and what do you see for the market as a whole for both the short- and long-term?

Judith Gross: We’re very confidant that the earthquakes that have been shaking the fine fragrance markets over the last few years—the concentration that I was talking about, as well as the increased number of launches [and] what’s happening in beauty care—are really amazing opportunities for IFF to continue proving the understanding that we have of that emotional connection that fragrance makes with consumers... We really believe that [since] some countries now [have] access to luxury and access to self indulgence, which is what fragrance offers.

This is another major opportunity, and when I see the work that our consumer insider department has been doing over the past three years—in just what goes on in Russian consumers’ minds, for instance—I really see this as a great pocket of opportunity and growth both for IFF [and] for the fine fragrance world [in general]. It’ll be the same thing with Asia, [but] probably not at the same speed with all the Asian countries. China will probably not start with premium fragrances or fine fragrances, whereas, the beauty care segment will really have exponential growth over the next two to three years. So, there’ll be different speeds of growth outside of Europe and the United States, and it’s an amazing opportunity for our perfumers, also, to learn new things about markets that will inspire them probably in very different ways.

GCI: As those markets open up and perfumers experience those markets, do they explore more native raw materials for each of those markets or regions?

Judith Gross: Absolutely, and this is something that IFF has really both anticipated and has been wanting to build on extremely seriously over the last few years. Almost a decade ago now, [IFF acquired] a company called LMR [Laboratoire Monique Rémy], which was the Rolls-Royce of natural raw materials, I would say. If you asked any perfumer in the world where he would get the best rose, the best jasmine, the best narcissus—they would say at LMR. When it were purchased by IFF, [it began] to create crops with new materials, which have never been used in perfumery and which will probably contribute to enlarging the perfumers’ palettes. Another thing we do is [uphold] very key connections with some of our strong regional customers—in Brazil, in China, in other Asian countries [and] in Eastern Europe. We are also working with them on developing a very strong regional knowledge, which will also be based on regional inspiration and regional raw material inspiration.