darkBG_strawberry FA-Logo

The ‘Flavour Ambassadors’ is an EFFA  multimedia project launched in 2019 and aimed at sharing the passion and expertise of European flavour professionals. Through the project we aim to give the industry a “voice” and showcase its many facades and the blend of knowledge that is needed to create flavourings that ultimately enrich our food and drinks.

The community of Flavour Ambassadors is comprised of varied industry specialists who are passionate about their profession and volunteered to take part in this EFFA project. Our Flavour Ambassadors represent the different departments of variously sized companies from all over Europe and are of different cultures andbackgrounds. In each episode of the interviews, the ambassadors show the various aspects in the creating process, explain what their role in the flavour house is, what drives and challenges them, and how their expertise contributes to the flavour and food industry in Europe and globally. With professionals ranging from regulatory to sensory and marketing departments, each focuses on their own expertise and added value and together they showcase the complexity of the flavour industry processes.

In this interview, VP Global Quality Control - Gerd Lösing.

 

Gerd Lösing

VP Global Quality Control

Gerd Losing FA logosHow do you explain your profession to friends and family?

I take care of the Quality and Food Safety for Symrise and its customers.

How does your typical working day go? What do you enjoy most in your work routine?

Quality Control is servicing the Supply Chain and hence an important part is to assure the timely and continuous service level for good receiving, order processing and shipments. This has always priority and may overrule any other plans for that day. For me it is very enjoyable to work on new concepts to improve on our ways of working to either become faster or more efficient with the interfaces of the quality departments. Especially, dealing with challenges like the increasing demand for food safety and hence the development of global concepts to protect consumers from any risks ensuring unspoiled enjoyment of our products, are the cherry on the cake for me. And the good thing is that there are always new challenges coming up that require agility and engagement from me and my team.

How and why did you start working in the flavour industry and for how long have you been working there?

During my studies of chemical engineering specializing in analytical chemistry, one of my friends lost his olfactory sense after a brain surgery. This incident made the importance of olfactive sense to our daily life very obvious to me. While I was working in essential oils analysis during my thesis, I also smelled a lot of oils and became interested in the world of Flavor and Fragrances. The wish to move into this area was born and finally became true. My career started more than 30 years ago in the personal care industry working for an US based international group and have entered the F&F industry more than 25 years ago.

What training did you receive before and during your career?

Actually, my personal ambition and specialized studies prepared me well for this industry. However, I have to commit that most training and education happened on the job.

What is the flavour industry to you? What is its main value?

Food is so essential and basic to all of us from even before we are born until life’s end. Almost everybody has a distinct opinion about odors and tastes but there are these knowledgeable experts working in this industry who have a deeper insight into what makes a flavor or odor that average consumers don’t have or even don’t know the existence of the science behind.

What do you find particularly fascinating about your job?

Getting in touch with these experts/people and working with them regularly and even globally is what I appreciate a lot. Also the complexity of the world of fragrances and their ingredients is a daily challenge.

What is your favourite and your most disliked flavouring?

My favourite flavor is raspberry and vanilla and my preferred scents are Ylang, olibanum and vetiver. I dislike cucumber as a flavor and also as a smell.

What was the most interesting thing you've ever worked on?

Hard to tell, ‘cause there are many interesting stories I came across. When something pops up in the area of quality or food safety this in most cases requires ad-hoc action to ensure product quality without compromise even though this might have come very surprisingly. One of the most exciting phases of my career in terms of changes was the merger and the building of Symrise.
Gerd Losing FA river

What is the role of a quality control professional in a flavour house?

QC professionals must be subject matter experts that can manage the complexity of our business with good communication skills and the willingness to work as a team.

What does your ‘office/lab’ look like?

My office is a typically equipped office with a meeting zone and a flip chart, nothing special. On the walls are pictures and paintings from my kids and in my book shelf I have literature and some decoration stuff such as an old sodium chloride prism from an IR spectrometer from 1950’s. My office is located in the main laboratory building for QC where all the analysis of our materials to assure quality and food safety are performed by our highly skilled quality experts. So, I enjoy the proximity to the labs which makes it easy to stay in direct contact with our valuable materials; sometimes as expensive as silver and gold.

Which external stakeholders do you cooperate most with and why?

(official bodies, regulators, customers, the benefit, etc.) The most external contacts are clearly with customers and auditors. With customers the typical topic is to discuss and understand their demands and deal, sometimes negotiate, requirements. Often customers ask for my expertise but also demand quality data, statistics etc. Customers often appreciate the learning they gain from our established concepts and strategies.

What is your main contribution to the development and the production of a flavouring?

Making sure that quality and food safety is implemented at the very beginning of the development process and gives assurance to supply chain to work with proven raw materials that are free from quality defects, undesired properties or adulterations.

How do you interact with other departments, suppliers, customers?

QC is clearly and with no doubt an integrated part of the supply chain although it is important to be as far as possible independent in its decisions from production and the business. So QC interacts daily with departments such as purchasing, production, planning often supported by the ERP system but also in all kind of meetings.
My objective it to create an atmosphere of mutual respect while being perceived as protectors of the quality and food safety instead of the police. We also identify ourselves as quality advocates of our customers.

Which colleagues/departments do you work most closely with? Why these colleagues specifically?

I work very closely with my direct colleagues and members of the team I’m responsible for on site in the Symrise HQ. We are organized on a global level so I have a lot of international contacts to my colleagues all over the globe mostly with regional heads that work with me on specific topics. So there is almost no day without phone or video calls with people outside my home country. There is a challenging mix of global demands from Symrise HQ and customers on the one hand side and regional specifics on the other hand side. Main interfaces are to supply chain but also regulatory, sales and research. Colleagues from abroad are always inspiring to me, because they enrich me with views and ways to approach things.

How does your job contribute to developing high quality food and drinks for everybody to enjoy?

Although QC steps in typically at the commercialization phase of a development the preventive programs avoid any obstacles after development process. The risk assessments me and my teams implemented for raw materials and processes make sure to avoid any bad surprises that compromise quality or safety.