SAAFFI seminar returns to a live event

By Abby Vorster

The 21st annual SAAFFI seminar and workshop lived up to its reputation of being a ‘must-attend event’ on the fragrance and flavour industry’s calendar. This year’s theme was ‘bend or break’ with the programme centred on resilience and flexibility in the industry.

After two years of meeting virtually, the SAAFFI seminar returned to an in-person format on 16 March. Delegates met at Gibs Conference Centre in Johannesburg to learn about and be inspired by the resilience of the fragrance and flavour industry. 

Even before the pandemic, KWV had faced adversity when its bottling plant in Paarl went up in fire in 2018. Brian Grey of KWV presented an interesting talk on how the brewing company overcame the fire followed by navigating the pandemic, which left South Africa’s alcohol industry fighting for survival. Grey also explored new challenges on the horizon, like the alcohol-free trend among Gen Zers, who are concerned about their wellbeing and the impact of alcohol on their mood, mental health and alertness. 

Novel ingredients and applications

Another interesting presentation was Grant Momplé’s entitled Marching Forward to our Past. Momple founded Plant Inc in 2018 with business entrepreneur, Robin Grobler. The company has a drive to infuse modern living with functional botanicals for better wellness and health management. Momple has vast knowledge and experience in this field which he shared with delegates at the seminar. 

He explored the explosion of the cannabis trend, which is evident in everything from health supplements and medicinal products to functional foods and beverages. Momple said that over 65% of canna-based products on the SA market ‘are dishonest’. 

The fermentation trend and a growing interest in minerals and micronutrients, with a particular focus on antioxidants, were also discussed. Momple shared examples of how these novel ingredients are used in cosmetics and food and beverage applications. 

Fragrance and flavour trends

The full-day SAAFFI seminar programme featured an impressive line-up of speakers, a hands-on workshop, an inspiring motivational presentation and a networking cocktail event, where various interesting tastes and aromas were showcased. 

Bettina Bicknell of Symrise examined flavour trends with a focus on Trendscope, which is a proprietary tool of the company. 

The importance of a local presence in Africa was discussed by Mane’s Gabriel Lalande in his presentation on 2023 fragrance trends. Lalande stressed that Johannesburg is not Lagos. Being on the ground in key markets in Africa, Mane has successfully developed several desirable products for Africans. Examples include Queen Elisabeth Shea Butter hand and body cream and Fizz Detergent for Aspira Nigeria. Gyebi Duodu of the University of Pretoria spoke about the role of flavours in bending the nutrition transition curve in Africa, while Marcel Broodryk of Puris Natural Aroma Chemicals explored the intersection of biology and technology and the implications for the fragrances and flavours industry.

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