Firmenich Community Day 31st October 2015 – The Nose Factor

Staff at one of the world’s leading companies in the fragrance and flavour business have recently been supporting Fifth Sense in a key area of our work whilst raising £1,750 to support the charity through a variety of fundraising activities.

Firmenich is the world’s largest privately-owned company in the fragrance and flavour business. They are responsible for creating flavours and fragrances found in many household brands. Staff at the UK fragrance division in Southall came together at the annual Firmenich Community Day on 1st October and utilised their collective skills, experience and creativity to design and create a number of prototype smell training kits for use by Fifth Sense members.

Firmenich Community Day 2015

The Firmenich team in action supporting Fifth Sense – click the image to enlarge

Fifth Sense Founder Duncan Boak was invited to visit Firmenich following the presentation he gave at the 2014 International Fragrance Association UK Fragrance Forum, where he described the devastating impact that olfactory disorders can have on patients’ quality of life.  On his first visit to the Southall site he met members of the management team including UK General Manager Gary Nelson, Global Category Manager Carlos Almasque and Master Perfumer Martin Koh.

Duncan explained how smell training – with which Martin and other Firmenich perfumers are very familiar – can benefit people who have suffered olfactory loss and how Fifth Sense has been developing a smell training kit.

Martin assembled some fragrance ingredients and Carlos and Duncan drafted a brief for Firmenich staff to design a prototype kit.

Carlos then launched ‘the Nose Factor’ on Community Day, and Firmenich staff worked in teams to brainstorm ideas and create kits.  The entries were then evaluated by a panel of ‘Nose Dragons’ – Duncan and his team of Fifth Sense members, who had the very difficult task of picking a winner from the array of brilliant kits.

Another Firmenich team accepted the challenge of creating dishes that could be enjoyed enjoyed by anosmics; they did this by wearing nose clips that deprived them of the ability to perceive aroma and flavour, forcing them to focus on how their other senses as well as elements such as texture and appearance might be highlighted. The Dragons were called in to judge the results.

Global Category Manager Carlos Almasque presents Fifth Sense founder Duncan Boak with the money raised by the Firmenich team

Global Category Manager Carlos Almasque presents Fifth Sense founder Duncan Boak with the money raised by the Firmenich team

During the afternoon, the Firmenich teams formed a production line to assemble 21 smell training kits based on the winning design.

While the day ended with prizes being awarded to the Firmenich staff who prevailed in these friendly competitions, the real winner was Fifth Sense, which benefited from the talent, enthusiasm and tremendous generosity of Firmenich staff.  The smell training kits were given out to Fifth Sense members to trial at the annual conference on 1st November.

We would like to say a big thank you to the Firmenich team for all their efforts in support of Fifth Sense.




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