T. Hasegawa – 2021 Flavor & Fragrance Leaders and Newsmakers
Tokyo, Japan 2020 Sales: ¥50,192 milliona
From developing new flavor formations to expanding company personnel, T. Hasegawa’s unwavering focus allowed for consistent growth across platforms. Keeping its finger on the pulse of consumer needs and market trends has led to new technology and opportunities for flavor solutions.
A major launch for the company in the last year is the debut of Boostract, a new natural flavor modifier. The T. Hasegawa team also quickly realigned during the pandemic with new efforts and emphasis placed on growing markets including plant proteins, dairy products, CBD products, beverages and sports nutrition.
T. Hasegawa’s passion for flavor innovation led to the acquisition of Mission Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., expanding its reach to the U.S. market and adding to its extensive portfolio. Tapping into the essential needs of the ever-evolving F&F market is the primary point on company’s agenda, while also limiting global impact in the process. All of this and more will be touched on in T. Hasegawa’s commentary.
President and COO, T. Hasegawa Co., Ltd.
CEO, T. Hasegawa USA, Inc.
What was your company’s biggest business accomplishments in the last year?
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, 2020 was a year of growth for T. Hasegawa. Over the past 12 months, we have strengthened our team and capabilities, grown our customer base and even expanded the reach and efficiency of our business with a recent acquisition and new operational facilities.
Our talented team remains the heart of T. Hasegawa and we have expanded our staff over the past year with additional sales personnel, production managers, R&D and customer service. These new positions are a key part of our omnichannel strategy to drive better customer relationships and broaden our world-class flavor development and applications. One of T. Hasegawa’s key strengths is interfacing with our customers—our employees are passionate about helping our customers succeed by solving problems, maintaining open communication and becoming a true partner that helps develop effective food and beverage flavor solutions. We continue to invest in ways to empower our team and help build well-coordinated client partnerships that are culturally compatible.
In Q4 last year, T. Hasegawa USA expanded its reach in the U.S. market with the acquisition of Mission Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., in Lake Forest, California. This acquisition leverages existing technical capabilities at both companies to better serve our customers with a broader range of flavors within dairy, bakery, plant-based meat alternatives, fruitfilling and confectionary categories. Mission Flavors is known for its leading chocolate, vanilla and citrus extracts, and we are pleased to add these to our extensive portfolio of flavors. Overall, by combining capabilities and technology from both T. Hasegawa and Mission Flavors, we can provide our customers with the value proposition of total category expertise, expanded flavor options, flavor modulation solutions, organic certified flavors, increased speed-to-market and more.
Later this year, we plan to break ground on a new facility in Rancho Cucamonga, California that will serve as an expanded production workspace. Our current facility in Cerritos, California will continue to serve as our world-class innovation center while we expand our flavor development and applications footprint with additional chemist labs and state-ofthe-art equipment.
What were your biggest technical advancements for the last year?
T. Hasegawa has made major advancements in flavor modulation technology over the past year, including the U.S. launch of Boostract, a new natural flavor modifier that revolutionizes the way consumers experience food and beverages. Boostract adds or enhances kokumi, increasing the richness of taste while maintaining balance between different flavors. This exclusive technology by T. Hasegawa allows us to help food and beverage brands deliver a consistent experience to consumers, enhancing flavor and amplifying taste characteristics, in addition to boosting kokumi. Boostract has also proven to be an effective masking agent, eliminating unwanted flavor notes in select food products while boosting the desired flavors in others. We focused on building this technology platform out and the positive response from our customers has been overwhelming. Some of the world’s biggest food and beverage brands have been impressed with the capabilities of Boostract and have already started on product development using this technology.
Over the past year, we have also increased our technical expertise in reaction flavors, with a key focus on plant-based proteins. This market segment only continues to grow exponentially and relies heavily on the technical advancements of flavor development to deliver a realistic, satisfactory taste experience for consumers. Another key area of technical advancement this year has been spray dry encapsulation. We have greatly expanded our capabilities in spray dry, as demand continues to grow exponentially for this delivery system. In fact, demand has grown so drastically for spray dry during 2020 that we’re continuing to invest resources in this area, including expanding the expertise of our team and adding new equipment to keep up with demand for spray dry flavors.
What key sustainability goals did you accomplish over the last 12 months?
As we continue to grow our global impact, T. Hasegawa strives to minimize its environmental footprint via a range of programs, practices and initiatives aimed at reducing waste, conserving energy, recycling, air quality management and more.
In 2020, T. Hasegawa, Co. became an official participant in the United Nations Global Compact Signatory, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. This extensive program calls on companies to align strategies and operations that advance societal goals in human rights, labor support, environmental sustainability and anti-corruption.
In addition to our commitments to the U.N. Global Compact, T. Hasegawa Co., Ltd. is specifically focused on protecting human health and the environment through our membership in the IFRA-IOFI Sustainability Charter. Our current facilities meet or exceed compliance with AQMD regulations, including carbon absorption beds, regenerative thermal oxidizers and thermal catalytic oxidizers. These state-of-the-art air cleaning and filtration technologies are also fully integrated into the plans for our new production facility in Rancho Cucamonga, California. In addition to maintaining clear air quality and odor control for our employees and local community, we also have implemented recycling programs at our facilities to minimizing the use of plastics in R&D, production and administration.
Our continued expansion of manufacturing facilities that are becoming certified ISO14001 shows the dedication we have focused on environmental management.
How would you describe the state of F&F as the world slowly emerges from the pandemic?
The pandemic clearly proved to be more than just a temporary disruption. As the year progressed, it has become apparent that COVID-19 has fundamentally shifted consumer behavior over the past year and will continue to shape food and beverage habits for years to come.
Flavors became incredibly important during the pandemic. Our customers noted an increased focus on international flavors as a source of excitement and an anecdote to boredom for millions of Americans stuck at home, unable to travel or even commute to work. At-home recipe experimentation grew as consumers sought to replicate favorite restaurant dishes at home, and this culinary passion is likely to continue in the future, even after the pandemic.
Unsurprisingly, snack foods became a major focus of flavor innovation over the past year. We anticipate this trend will continue long after the pandemic, as many consumers remain working from home for the foreseeable future, or even permanently, in many cases. CPG companies are leaning more heavily into unexpected snack flavor combinations which consumers are eager and willing to try new snack flavors at home. Snack foods are all about comfort and convenience, but the biggest shift in innovation is focusing on elevating classic flavors with premium upgrades or ingredients. Consumers looking to relieve stress and build comfort during the pandemic also increased flavor development of indulgent favorites like ice cream and beverages.
The early part of the pandemic also emphasized the importance of shelf-stable and frozen foods. Consumers minimized their grocery shopping frequency and purchased larger quantities of shelfstable and frozen foods. This trend reinforced the importance of flavor development and technology, like T. Hasegawa’s Boostract to deliver a consistent, high-quality experience with food or beverage item weeks, or months after purchase. Our customers have taken notice and now flavor consistency and experience is a key focus of innovation in 2021.
Looking to the future, we are already seeing a recovery in the foodservice category. There is pent-up demand for restaurant dining in cities that are reopening across the country, and consumers are looking to use their disposable income to regain normalcy by dining in restaurants. There was some stagnation of new product development in foodservice for the first six-eight months of the pandemic, but we’re beginning to pick up development at an accelerated rate. As restaurants begin operating at full capacity, they are looking for new product offerings and our R&D and applications teams are working to meet that demand with product development specifically for the foodservice category.
Vice president, Research & Development at T. Hasegawa USA, Inc.
What were the biggest advancements (technical & business) for your division in the last year?
Certainly, the launch of T. Hasegawa’s proprietary flavor modulation technology and Boostract were technological highlights over the past year. With the introduction of Boostract and other recent technologies, T. Hasegawa is leading the industry in flavor modulation and augmented mouthfeel.
We have extended our team’s expertise in flavor modulation to align with shifting customer demands in plant protein, dairy products, CBD products, beverages, sports nutrition and much more. Boostract and other cutting-edge modulation technologies are expediting the new product development timeline, while elevating the taste experience for our customers.
Looking ahead, what are the key trends that will shape future innovation for your sector?
Meat and dairy alternatives, along with other plant protein products, are continuing to grow and innovation around these areas will continue to develop. We are innovating to improve product taste and sensation for plant-based meat replacements, as well as plant-based beverages. We continue to develop and broaden our innovative Boostract line, along with additional proprietary flavor technology, which will be used to improve these products both in taste and mouthfeel.
Our specialized flavor chemists often use Maillard reaction technology to make savory flavors. Realistic meat and processed flavors can be made using this technology by simulating the ingredients and conditions of authentic cooking. Our culinary chef perfects the taste attributes that our customers are desiring by developing recipes or cooking experiences to match various trending cuisines that will work across a wide variety of frozen, pre-packaged and chilled food categories.