Partnering on the future of food: Givaudan launches new food industry innovation platform

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30 Nov 2018 --- Swiss-headquartered flavor giant Givaudan is to open a new innovation platform for the food industry. Coined MISTA, the new platform will seek to help start-ups and established corporations to optimize ideas and products, scale-up projects, search for partners and build dynamic teams to meet the constant challenges of the food industry.

MISTA is more than an incubator or accelerator, according to Givaudan, as it advances innovation by helping companies develop new ways of thinking through a hyper-connected platform with a more collaborative and inclusive approach. Joining Givaudan as founding members of MISTA are Danone, Mars Inc. and Ingredion Inc.

From alternative protein to health and well-being and biotechnology, MISTA helps companies develop new strategies, says Givaudan. Opening early next year in San Francisco, the MISTA Optimization Center (MOC), will provide access to a product development facility, equipment for pasteurization and fermentation, experts providing market and leadership development strategies, as well as input from world-renowned culinary and food scientists.

“MISTA, which means ‘tasty morsel’ in Sanskrit, is all about the creation of a new business model focused on product innovation and development for the food and beverage industry, with the intention and capabilities to create the future of food,” says Scott May, Vice President of Innovation at Givaudan and Head of MISTA. “Today’s food systems are so complex, and the challenges so large that no single company can address them alone, and that’s where the concept of MISTA really comes to life.”

A number of strategic partners with world-class capabilities from across the food industry will also join as founding members. 

The announcement of the MISTA platform comes in the year that Givaudan marks its 250th anniversary and continues to grow in the flavor space and beyond.

Amid a more holistic approach from the leading supplier, the move closely follows Givaudan’s launch of a new approach to sugar reduction that seeks to deliver “fully satisfying, reduced-sugar products without added sweeteners.” 

The approach combines the use of a new proprietary sensory language, novel ingredients and an understanding of sweetness and satisfaction to deliver up to 50 percent reduction in sugar while maintaining consumer preference. The sugar reduction challenge is about closing the gap and restoring the overall experience offered by “full sugar.” 

Earlier this year the company also acquired natural extracts supplier Naturex and just last month FoodIngredientsFirst spoke with Henning Hartnacke, President EAME, who explains how Givaudan has evolved far beyond its roots and is considered the world’s largest company in offering taste solutions.

Collaborative and inclusive approach
MISTA is one of a number of initiatives being launched by Givaudan aimed at building a more collaborative and inclusive approach to innovation with new types of partners – part of the Partnering for Shared Success pillar of Givaudan’s 2020 strategy of “Responsible growth. Shared success.”

The MISTA team plans to target 20 start-ups to bring into MISTA’s hyper-connected platform within the first year, with roughly ten of those start-ups located on premises at its San Francisco headquarters. 

 “Collaboration is at the heart of our innovative approach. As one of MISTA’s founding members, we are looking forward to partnering with the best and brightest to address some of the food system challenges of our time,” says George Graham, Vice President of Mars Advanced Research Institute.

 Tony DeLio, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Chief Innovation Officer at Ingredion, explains how the food industry is changing at an accelerated pace, which brings tremendous opportunities for companies with a technology mindset to drive innovation and growth.  

“The future is about collaboration and we look forward to actively engaging with food companies wherever they are in their stage of growth to help meet changing consumer preferences and market trends. We’re excited to add our expertise in the ingredients space with the capabilities from other leading food companies to pioneer new levels of product innovation with MISTA.”

“Food companies continue to be disrupted at a fast pace with accelerated innovations and changes in the marketplace. To adapt and stay relevant for its current and future consumers, Danone has made growth a priority and is exploring new ways to innovate, alongside with building an agile and creative culture across functions. In such a model, connecting with our communities is a must,” adds Takoua Debeche, EVP Research & Innovation at Danone North America.

“We see MISTA as an important outpost for us to connect with a broad community of entrepreneurs, and have the ability to test, learn and iterate around new consumer-centric opportunities.”

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