Suppliers Probe Perfumery Issues
NEW YORK — "Scale is innovation's evil twin," said Andrea Jung, Avon's chairman and chief executive, upon receiving the American Society of Perfumers' Living Legend Award two weeks ago. "We have to make sure the passion and artistry in this business is never lost."

Jung's remarks resounded during a roundtable discussion at the ASP's 52nd Annual Fragrance Symposium, held here May 24. One of the key issues discussed was core supplier agreements — the short list of fragrance suppliers that large fragrance marketers invite into competition for new projects. Supplier consolidation was also top of mind.

"Short term, there is cost savings [with core lists], but long term, [marketers] are not capitalizing on the best the [fragrance supply] industry has to offer," said Cosimo Policastro, executive vice president of fine fragrances at Givaudan. And the bottom line, he added frankly, is that "we have to sell essential oils to make money for innovation."

Panelists agreed there's a widening gap between a handful of top fragrance suppliers and smaller supply houses, a two-tiered scenario influenced in part by consolidation and core supplier lists. "Core list decisions are governed by cost concerns," said Jerry Vittoria, vice president and general manager of Firmenich's perfumery division for body and home care in North America. "We can't expect it to end."

The panel included five other executives, namely James G. Dellas, president of Drom Fra­grances International USA; Michael O'Neill, president of Manheimer Fragrances; Christophe Maubert, president of Robertet's fragrance division; Joy Atkinson, president of Symrise's U.S. fragrance division, and Sean G. Traynor, president of Takasago USA.

Regulations like COLIPA's (the European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association) list of 26 perfumery ingredients that are deemed allergens were discussed. "At least half [of the ingredients] have no need to be on this list," contended Maubert. In an industry governed by self-regulation, "We are doing everything we can to generate new science to [determine what the different ingredients] do on that list," said Traynor. "We can't [counter] politics without science. Science and safety testing [are key to pushing back] regulation and defending every material that comes up."

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