Finwerd: the Taste of Africa

Finwerd: the Taste of Africa

Tastes differ. This is true on a small scale and close to home, but certainly on a global scale. How do we create flavors that fit all those different needs? There is a world of innovation and research behind products that taste good. At the Biotech Campus Delft, they know all about this. And certainly at start-up Finwerd Flavours & Fragrances, where they develop fragrances and flavorings for Sub-Saharan Africa.

CEO Anita de Werd talks with passion about family business Finwerd, which recently moved to Planet at the Biotech Campus Delft. "In the West, the brightest minds work on developing flavorings and fragrances for the global market. Africa is often overlooked because the market there works differently from what we are used to. Above all, it is about building a good relationship. This goes as far as taking care of the planning for your clients, too. For example, you keep track of how fast stock is going and remind them in time that they need to order more. Will stocks of your product soon be running out? Then you need to act quickly. You are therefore an essential part of your customer's business, and that requires trust and a bond," explains De Werd.

"My husband, myself and our (step-)children have warm ties with the continent. We have traveled there a lot and we love Africa. That, coupled with our entrepreneurial spirit and our professional experience, resulted in Finwerd, a start-up that focuses on affordable and nutritious taste solutions for essential food products."

Hot ginger

Finwerd is working on a palette of flavorings and fragrances that suits what Africans want. In Delft, the company is developing fragrances and flavorings that will soon be produced in Nigeria. "One example is hot and spicy ginger, a taste that people love. Or 'moringa root,' which tastes like licorice. Our partners in Africa incorporate these flavors into a wide range of products, such as protein shakes, soy beverages and juices." In addition to adding taste and aroma to well-known foods, Finwerd also focuses on new products, in the form of vegetable proteins. "Meat and fish proteins are not always available in sufficient quantities in Africa. That is why we are also investigating whether we can add our flavorings to plant proteins. This is how we end up making a healthy but tasteless product sustainable and nutritious and creating food with authentic African flavors."

Sustainable Growth

Finwerd has a laboratory and office in Delft. "We feel at home here at the Biotech Campus Delft," says De Werd. "We have all the facilities we need. In addition, we are surrounded by other start-ups, scale-ups and established companies that are also innovating. We can help each other."

Business is exceeding expectations, says the CEO. "We are developing faster than planned, and product demand is also growing faster than expected. That is why we are working hard to build the production facility in Nigeria. This should be up and running by Q2 2024." The advantage of a family business like Finwerd is that decisions can be made quickly and everyone is committed to the same goal. "This means that we can act and grow quickly. We just need to be careful not to get ahead of ourselves in our enthusiasm." Being located on the Biotech Campus Delft helps with this, too. "The culture on the campus is one of safety, hygiene and reliability. I'm happy with this, because it will help us grow not just quickly, but sustainably too."