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Through its unique and in-depth research on the Chinese consumer, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (NYSE: IFF)
IFF's Sensory and Consumer Insight experts recently completed an ambitious research project. They examined the entire Chinese market to understand more about the geographic and demographic segmentation of the country and the differences in consumer behavior and expectations. The result was the “Five Faces of China,” a comprehensive study that defines the major population segments of this diverse country. The research details the living conditions, beliefs, and economic status of each “face.” But most important to IFF and its customers, it focuses on the type of consumer products each group purchases or aspires to purchase and their key drivers in selecting those products.
“Normally our research projects only cover one or a few regions in China, but through our Five Faces of China research we have a clear picture about the Chinese market as a whole. This puts us ahead of what our competitors are doing,” said Lily Chen, Sensory & Consumer Insight Manager for China.
The Five Faces of China research is already having a positive impact on IFF's business in China by providing invaluable insight for its creative teams, marketers, and sales force. With customers, the research is a unique point of difference, demonstrating the deep understanding of Chinese consumers that IFF possesses. In fact, IFF brought the research to life by constructing mock home displays of each face in its Technical and Creative Center in Shanghai for customer visits.
“Through this research, we can clearly define by category our customers' target end consumers and understand the different demands for flavors and fragrances and products across these categories,” Chen said. “This is one more tool IFF can use to create the flavors and fragrances that make our customers' products a success in the marketplace. Multinational companies looking for help while entering this exploding but somewhat mysterious market and local and regional powerhouses are finding our research to be significant and valuable.”
Consumer insight like the Five Faces research is only one aspect of what IFF's Shanghai center offers. By uniting commercial, creative, and application expertise under one roof, IFF develops the best flavors and fragrances for the Chinese market. The center boasts state-of-the-art technology and laboratories, as well as a consumer research facility, which enables IFF's experts to study consumer preferences first hand and test new flavor and fragrance creations. This knowledge guides the center's perfumers, flavorists, evaluators, technical applications experts, and marketers in creating the right flavor or fragrance for every customer product. Since opening the center in 2001, IFF has become the leader in the confectionery, beverage (carbonated soft drink), bouillon soup (savory), shampoo, and shower categories in China.
The Shanghai center is part of IFF's long and successful history in China. The Company also has an ingredients manufacturing facility in Xin'anjiang, a flavor and fragrance facility in Guangzhou, and recently broke ground for a new $29 million specialty ingredients manufacturing plant in Hangzhou. The new plant will further solidify IFF's position in the Asian market and allow the Company to meet growing customer demands in the region and throughout the world.
IFF is well-known for its technical expertise in the flavor and fragrance world; the Five Faces of China research is an example of the Company's expertise in “soft technologies” such as marketing, consumer insight, and sensory understanding. IFF is committed to the continuing development of these areas of expertise in order to help our customers meet and exceed the expectations of their consumers and achieve success in the marketplace.
IFF is a leading creator and manufacturer of flavors and fragrances used in a wide variety of consumer products—from fine fragrances and toiletries, to soaps, detergents and other household products, to beverages and food products. IFF is dedicated to The Pursuit of Excellence in every area of its business, using knowledge, creativity, innovation and technology to continually provide customers with the highest quality products and service and superior consumer understanding.
IFF has sales, manufacturing and creative facilities in 32 countries worldwide and annual sales exceeding $2.0 billion. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.iff.com.