Firmenich India supports a brighter future for visually impaired graduates


Building on its commitment to diversity and inclusion, Firmenich is proud to announce its collaboration with the College of Fragrance for the Visually Impaired (COFVI), in India to enable professional opportunities for its visually impaired graduates. This relationship builds on Firmenich’s expanding collaboration with blind and visually impaired people as “sensory panelists” to assess flavors and fragrances.

“Firmenich has been established in India for close to 20 years. Building on our legacy as a family company we are committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, to positively contribute to our customers, colleagues and communities,” stated Satish Rao, Chairman and Managing Director of Firmenich India. “As the leading fragrance and flavors supplier to some of the top Indian food, personal care and home care brands, I am proud to be enabling opportunities for blind and visually impaired people by recruiting them in our sensory panels. Based on their acute perception of taste and smell, this is not only good for our communities, but also for our business.”

“Working with more than 100 sensory panelists around the world, today we have more than 20 blind or visually impaired panelists in our team,” says David Lyon, Global Sensory Director for Perfumery and Flavors at Firmenich. “And this number is constantly growing as we work locally with Associations for the Blind to constantly strengthen our diversity and sharpen our capabilities. Thanks to our relationship with COFVI, we are delighted to welcome Arun Domal, a recent graduate of the program, who has joined the Firmenich Sensory Panel team in Mumbai.”

"From my perspective, these students are a step ahead of those who can see," says Renuka Thergaonkar, Director at COFVI. “The visually impaired students clearly show significantly heightened levels of scent perception which is extremely valuable for the Fragrance and Flavor industry, specifically in identifying and distinguishing complex odors.”

In Mumbai, Firmenich counts 25 panelists in its Global Sensory Platform. These panelists undergo rigorous training across all different categories of food and drink products before they become fully qualified. The training executed by COFVI provides an excellent foundation for the company’s sensory work. Arun Domal recently completed the Firmenich screening test with such exceptional performance that the company is now considering that it could significantly shorten training time for future panelists based on its collaboration with COFVI.

To-date, Firmenich has built inclusive panels in both Mexico City and London, and is now rolling out the program in Singapore, Geneva and Mumbai.

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