Cosmetics & Personal Care

Seeking the sweet smell of success

By our Editorial Team

Stewart House, General Manager at Endeavour Speciality Chemicals in the UK, discusses high-impact aroma chemicals, innovatio

Endeavour interview on HIAC.jpg

Stewart House, General Manager at Endeavour Speciality Chemicals in the UK, discusses high-impact aroma chemicals, innovation and the future.
Founded in 1991 as a specialist manufacturer of high-impact aroma chemicals (HIAC), Endeavour Speciality Chemicals – part of the Robinson Brothers Group – has been supplying products and services across the world for more than 25 years. We spoke to Dr Stewart House, General Manager at Endeavour, about the company’s HIAC business, R&D efforts and plans for the future.
Good scents
Although there is no universal definition of what constitutes a HIAC, it is generally agreed that the material must have a low odour threshold (usually a minimum of around 10 ppb) and a recognisable character even at low concentrations. HIACs are used as key ‘top-note’ ingredients in flavour and fragrance applications.
“We offer more than 500 products as part of our HIAC portfolio,” explains Dr House. “Many contain sulphur, which imparts its own unique properties, but we have a similar number of non-sulphur containing ingredients.”
According to Dr House, the beauty of the products is that they are extremely versatile, and their application can change depending on the dilution and how they are used in combination with other elements. However, there are some standout molecules that can be clearly identified.

“Most of our team have their own favourites, but a few examples are 3-(methylthio)butanal (which has strong French fries/chips characteristics), 2-propionylthiazole (strong rice notes) and the more well-known para-mentha-8-thiol-3-one (a strong blackcurrant odour),” he says.

Essence of innovation
Endeavour has two R&D laboratories that ensure the company’s processes are continually evolving to make use of new thinking.

“We have an active R&D department,” Dr House told us. “We usually work with our customers in developing new aroma products and any new materials must possess the ‘Wow’ factor, but also be cost effective in use. In the past 2 years we have developed new molecules with coconut and Asian citrus characteristics – ingredients that are not readily available in the market place.”
Dr House says the R&D team is always looking to remove cost by process optimization, the use of alternative raw materials and clever technology. However, with any improvements, the challenge is to ensure a consistent odour profile of the product.
Synthesis service
Alongside its range of aroma chemicals, building blocks and reactive intermediates, Endeavour offers custom synthesis services.
“We are always looking to partner with customers on projects they wish to outsource, or for which we can provide a custom synthetic route,” declares Dr House. “The end product may be a feasibility report, a prepared sample or a larger target quantity. The chemistries are rigorously dissected by our R&D team and, with a combination of experience, innovative thinking and practical knowledge, we are usually able to give our customers what they require. Such is the nature of R&D work that, as excellent as the team is, we are not always successful. However, we will always provide options for our customers to work with.”
An issue that all specialty chemicals companies face is increasingly strict regulatory constraints. HIAC generally require FEMA GRAS status (Flavour and Extracts Manufacturers Association – Generally Regarded as Safe).
“Despite our products only being used at ppm or ppb level, they are regarded as food ingredients and must follow the same protocols as those used in much larger volumes,” explains Dr House. “We have seen the number of regulatory questionnaires and technical documentation requests multiply over the past 5 years in particular but, if we can offer reassurances to customers, we regard this as an integral part of product supply.”
The future
Treatt has been Endeavour’s exclusive global distributor of HIAC for more than 20 years and, in September 2017, Endeavour signed a new long-term distribution agreement with Treatt, ensuring continued global distribution of the company’s UK-manufactured HIAC to the flavour and fragrance sectors.
Dr House commented at the time, “The continuation of a long-term partnership with Treatt is significant for the future of our business. The strong international sales and marketing presence of Treatt within the flavour and fragrance sector is the perfect match for the chemical and manufacturing expertise of Endeavour, and we are looking forward to continuing our business growth in the coming years”.
An obvious challenge for many UK-based companies is Brexit. Like most other UK companies, Endeavour is uncertain how the land will lie once the UK has finally left the European Union, although to date they have felt no negative effects.
“Europe is a large market for us,” says Dr House, “But our products are sold globally. These are exciting times with Asian, African and South American markets growing, as well as consolidation in more established European and North American markets. As a business, we need to think positively about future opportunities; presently I do not see Brexit as a barrier to growth.”
Interview with:
Stewart House, General Manager at Endeavour Speciality Chemicals Ltd, Unit 12, Low March Industrial Estate, Daventry, Northants NN11 4SD, UK
T: +44 (0)1327 310 079