SOUTH KOREA – IFF has opened its first dedicated food and beverage lab in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea, reinforcing its commitment to be the premier partner in innovation.

The flavour and fragrance giant says the new facility seamlessly brings together flavour and ingredient expertise with food design capabilities to deliver the best-in-class innovations to customers in South Korea.

“Significantly adding to South Korea’s vibrant food and beverage landscape, the new centre will support beverage, culinary, snack, and dairy manufacturers with greater speed-to-market through insights-led innovation,” IFF said in a statement.

“Manufacturers will have access to advanced lab technology, and the expertise and knowledge of IFF’s team of food designers.”

The centre features dedicated customer co-creation design spaces and a dairy and beverage ultra-high temperature (UHT) pilot plant for small-scale product pilot testing.

It also houses a professional culinary kitchen, where IFF’s team will develop savoury seasoning solutions for instant noodles, snacks, and local sauces.

“This innovation center marks an exciting milestone, showcasing our dedication to pioneering innovation and enhancing accessibility for our valued customers,” said Dr Li Yongjing, president, of Nourish, Greater Asia, IFF.

“This investment underscores our commitment to ensuring that our customers can swiftly adapt to the demands of a rapidly growing market and evolving consumer preferences.”

IFF is launching its innovation centre to support South Korea’s food and beverage market. It is currently valued at USD 77 billion and is projected to sustain a 4 per cent annual growth rate from 2023 to 2026.

Millennials and Generation Z constitute 37 per cent of South Korea’s population, according to data from Euromonitor.

This demographic, especially Generation Z is reported to exercise significant influence in the market and is known for seeking convenience and experimenting with their food choices.

As a leading supplier of xylitol and protein solutions in South Korea, IFF is uniquely placed to help food and beverages in the country align their products to current market needs.

“Leveraging its deep understanding of local taste preferences and market requirements, the new lab will play a pivotal role in satisfying South Korea’s need for health and wellness, and functional products,” the IFF statement concluded.