Innovation in fragrance and taste creation


  Aberer Karl


In 2018, EPFL initiated a partnership with Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned fragrance and flavor company. The main idea of the partnership was to create a digital hub that could bring together Firmenich’s industry-leading innovation and EPFL’s dynamic ecosystem.

The main objective of the Firmenich project is to augment the company’s innovation in fragrance and taste creation. The creation of a new fragrance or flavor starts from the receipt of a memo describing in free text what the client wants. Leveraging our expertise and using Firmenich’s formulas database, we try to recommend the formulas that best match the product description.

This project brings challenges both in text encoding and chemical formula encoding. For instance, for formulas encoding, we explore different embedding schemes for formula representation that could enable us to more effectively suggest perfumes or flavors for a given product description. A key ingredient of Firmenich’s digital strategy is to harness Artificial Intelligence, which is a best fit for our expertise in that domain.

Over the years, Firmenich has created some of the most iconic fragrances in the market, including Boss Bottled by Hugo Boss, Light Blue by Dolce&Gabbana, and Classique from Jean-Paul Gaultier. In recent years, it has set its sights on boosting sustainability in fragrance. EPFL is one of Firmenich’s long-standing academic partners. EPFL’s proximity with Firmenich’s main R&D Center in Geneva is expected to accelerate the region’s thriving ecosystem, and this project is a step in that direction.

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