A sense of smell is evolutionary very important. Chemical traces of volatile substances are fast and reliable information about our environment. Sources of scent in nature can give us information about different aspects, a signal of danger as information about food, propagation signals and simple wellness feeling.
Humans didn’t develop an extreme sense of scent known by some other species. We have evidence from thousands of years ago, that’s humans are able to use scent very targeted to fulfil the demand of wellbeing. Still, there are some unmistakable scent signals that we send to each other with help of scent substances, but mostly we are more aware of smell in the environment. Systematic searching for the pleasure of scent sense has led to very sophisticated smell environment composed of civilisation smells and natural emitting of scent. We added a very wide spectrum of planned scent emission as from people themselves as from different scent emitting sources.
Historically, all the fragrances were of natural origin until the mid-nineteenth century. The limited possibilities of communication and logistics did not allow such wide access to fragrant natural ingredients as we have today; therefore, the possibility of fragrance composition was also limited.
With the development of chemistry and the discovery of synthesizing ingredients that smell, the supply as well as the demand for fragrances has changed substantially. Today, there are many fragrances on the market that are purely natural origin (formed by compiling existing and new natural raw materials), combinations of natural and synthetic raw materials, and of course completely synthetic ingredients.
Whatever the general beliefs, concentrates (even natural ones) can be dangerous to people and the environment. Their use is only possible at low concentrations, which enable safe decomposition and use. When used for cosmetics, there are problems with allergenic substances.
From a production perspective, some 10 companies have a leading role, which generates a majority of revenues and hundreds of small ones with around much less share (fragrance company is small when revenue doesn’t exceed 50 million $ and users company with revenue till 20 million $). Additionally, there are also retailers who have a presence on the web and are perceived in various ways of online sales. Their resources are very diverse, but only effective if they are present in large markets or globally. Due to the need for use in low concentrations, customized batches of small quantity products are required from 1 kg to a few 10 kg. This is an area that is covered by small and medium-sized enterprises with its flexibility to market demand (either producer as a user).
Sources of scent ingredients must fulfil many requirements according to legislation, safety, medicine and other relevant factors. Inventories in even small firm are immense and almost every perfumer is sometimes in a situation that some material is not available on short time delivery basis. Another problem is availability of natural or nature derived materials that are not easy available in desired qualities and long term uniformity. Collaboration should provoke immense inventory cost and logistic cost reduction.
Although the appearance of the fragrance-processing technology is simple from the processes point of view, its complexity lies in the infrastructure needed to ensure the quality and reproducibility of the results. The mixing of fragrances and their preparation for the final supplier comprises the entire logistics components and then the final preparations for the customer. This relatively simple task (which also has its traps) is associated with support services from the precise definition of user needs, preparation of appropriate formulation, production planning and procurement logistic, and, of course, follows the user during the lifetime of a particular fragrance. Although we have fragrances that have a life cycle of decades in the industry, they are unbearable trends in matching with fashion trends for continuous updating of formulations. The decisive role of perfumers, acting on the border between science and art, is the reason that each fragrance is also unique art product, regardless of the complex knowledge used. It is also necessary to coordinate the choice of raw materials to optimize the final product price. This is where the final processing for applications is joined, where together with the customer we have to choose the optimal method of using the individual fragrance according to the products or services we are scouring.
The use of fragrances in cosmetics has a very long tradition, but this is just one of the areas where fragrances play an important role. Especially in B & B business, we often do not even have a direct insight into the final product. According to the present findings about fragrances, their interactions and the impact on humans, we need to give more attention to fragrances. Environmental concerns are also associated with this, as most fragrances, even natural ones, are not completely environmentally neutral. Cooperation in this area could bring extra value to all stakeholders in the production and use of fragrances.
For the cosmetic sector, the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) has developed a sufficiently efficient system that, in cooperation with the RIFM (Research Institute for Fragrance Materials), provides relative safety to both formulators and consumers of finished products. RIFM, with the continuous activity of studying and issuing recommendations, also makes an important contribution to the safety of fragrances.
A little less transparent is the situation for products that are not intended for cosmetics or for other health applications. Mutual information pooling of resources for quality research would provide all participants with exceptional benefits that would reflect both in the composition of fragrances as well as in improved consumer loyalty.
Although the fragrance is present in our performances, especially from the concepts of “Perfume”, the consumption of fragrances is much greater in the areas of scenting products, where the consumption of fragrances varies in thousands of tons, while for personal needs we can talk about smaller quantities because the proportion of solvents is from 90% to 60%.
The current volume of the market is about 70,000,000,000 dollars according to data collected from Internet sources. Some projections predict that the market will grow globally to 90 billion in 2023 (https://www.statista.com/statistics/259221/global-fragrance-market-size/ ), as fragrances break into markets where so far they were not so present. It is certain that large companies are preparing their strategies and can observe consolidation with acquisitions. And SMEs will maintain their presence in market segments, which require a craft artistic approach and close contact with customers.
Small and medium-sized enterprises face the problem in their choice of fragrances of following the trends in large perfume houses in this field. Thus, they can get into the “copying” trail and thereby devalue their advantage in innovation. The same applies to small fragrance users that want to go against end customers and choose an easier copying path instead of innovation. If we know that trends are perceived by large perfume houses, the question arises: where is the opportunity is for small market players. On the basis of the experience we have gained, we can claim that small producers and users will be able to evaluate their market flexibility only by co-operation and collaboration. Although the fragrance can be presented only in physical form, the online collaboration will allow new approaches to designing and meeting the expectations of small users. The first bits are already detectable due to exceptional analytics and the development of appropriate sensors with the associated software (sample: http://www.aromyx.com/ and others). A collaborative approach combined with good logistics and market integration can provide a much more free environment when choosing both a way to optimize production and the scent of the producers of goods who need this odour.