IFF

IFF History

IFF and its predecessor companies have been in the flavor and fragrance business since 1833. Find out more about IFF's fascinating history through our interactive timeline.



1889
Polak & Schwarz factory
1889

Joseph Polak & Leopold Schwarz, residents of the small Dutch town of Zutphen, form their business to process concentrated fruit juices. In only seven years, they have to open a second factory.

1901
Opening of Polak & Schwarz in Jakarta, Indonesia, 1952
1901

1901–1960: Over the first 60 years of the century, the companies that would become IFF all experience globalization on a grand scale. It is a period of geographic and cultural discovery in which the business of flavors and fragrances flourishes. Every region of the world has a contribution to make and an important role to play. Perhaps more than any other industry, flavors and fragrances becomes truly global and multicultural during this period of amazing growth. Geographic growth sets the stage for the coming era of scientific advances and a series of powerful mergers that create the modern IFF.

1917
A.L. van Ameringen
1917

In 1917, A.L. van Ameringen immigrates to the U.S. to work for the U.S. agent of Polak & Schwarz. Shortly thereafter van Ameringen leaves the company and opens an office at 13 Gold Street in downtown Manhattan where he begins the business of importing essential oils from Holland. This small import business, which begins with just 500 square feet of office space, goes on to become the world’s leading fragrance and flavor supplier.

1929
Van Ameringen-Haebler, Inc.'s first plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey
1929

In 1929, van Ameringen forms a partnership with a colleague, Dr. William T. Haebler, and after acquiring an aromatic chemical plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey, van Ameringen-Haebler, Inc. is born.

For the next 30 years, with van Ameringen at the helm as president and Haebler as treasurer, van Ameringen-Haebler grows despite the difficulties of operating through a depression and a world war. During this phase in the company’s history, approximately 90% of van Ameringen-Haebler’s volume is in fragrances.

1935
Excerpt from The American Perfumer and Essential Oil Review, September 1935
1935

During the early 1930s, due to strict import regulations, the depression, and the use of third party sales agents, Polak & Schwarz’s sales in America are meager at best. P&S decides to send a senior manager to New York to take over operations in America—a move that leads to the founding of an official P&S branch in New York in 1935.

1941
1941

The German invasion makes it impossible for companies to have a Jewish management and Polak & Schwarz is forced to hire an “Aryan” director. In addition, young, healthy men are obliged to enlist in the German workforce (Arbeitseinsatz), so many employees are lost—and many never return. P&S makes their own employee identification cards to prevent more personnel from being conscripted, but this is considered insubordination and Adolph Schwarz, nephew of founder Leopold, is arrested. He and most of his family survive the concentration camp Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia.

1958
Original IFF logo
1958

In 1958 a merger between the worldwide operations of Polak & Schwarz and van Ameringen-Haebler allows the company, renamed International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., to become a major supplier in the flavor and fragrance business and to grow internationally almost overnight. The irony of merging with the very same company he left over 40 years before is not lost on van Ameringen.

1964
Future Chairman Henry G. Walter Jr. (second from left), President of IFF at the time of the NYSE listing.
1964

International Flavors & Fragrances is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

1967
Large chemical reactors at R&D facility.
1967

IFF opens new Research and Development center in Union Beach, New Jersey.

1968
1968

IFF creates breakthroughs in fermentation process technology and the development of key natural compounds. Patents are granted for unique meat, savory, and process flavor technologies.

In conjunction with the Monell Foundation, IFF establishes the Monell Chemical Senses Center, dedicated to the research of taste and smell.

1970
1970

Henry G. Walter, Jr. becomes chairman of IFF.

1974
1974

IFF creates synthetic ambergris, a substitute for the product produced by whales. This new ingredient is an affordable, available, and sustainable alternative to the natural.

1982
1982

In collaboration with Yale University’s Psychophysiology Department, IFF pioneers the concept of Aroma Science, studying the effect of fragrance on human emotions.

1985
1985

IFF scientist Dr. Braja Mookherjee invents the Living Flower® technology. Through the use of Solid Phase Micro Extraction™, which employs a needle made of a special fiber to extract the odorous molecules from the living flower, IFF is able to capture and study the aroma components of a flower at its peak on the plant and re-create the fragrance, changing the way that perfumes are created.

1985
1985

Eugene P. Grisanti succeeds Henry G. Walter Jr. as chairman and president of IFF.

1987
1987

IFF develops Mood Mapping™ techniques for identifying individual fragrance combinations affecting specific human emotions.

1988
Fermentation vessel used for gamma-decalactone development work.
1988

IFF produces on an industrial scale, the first all-natural flavor ingredient by pure culture, sterile fermentation.

1992
1992

IFF researchers find that when two different flowers grow side by side, they produce an entirely new fragrance, not just a combination of the two, a phenomenon called Emotion of Flowers®.

1994
1994

IFF launches Living Flavor® technology, capturing the aroma and flavor of fruits, vegetables, and spices. The technology wins Food Ingredients’ Best Marketing Achievement award, Food and Beverage Marketing’s Innovator of the Year award, and Food Processing’s Honors Award.

1995
Union Beach Greenhouse
1995

IFF celebrates the opening of its 2,600 square foot, state-of-the-art, climate-controlled greenhouse, which is home to more than 750 varieties of plants from all over the world.

IFF launches Captiff, a new dry-flavor encapsulation system, globally. The new system wins the Food Ingredients Europe “Marketing Achievement” award.

IFF develops a revolutionary new technology called Aura of Aroma®, which is used to enhance fragrance substantivity.

 

1996
Lotus Blossom
1996

IFF scientists recreate a flower’s unique odor properties at different stages of its lifecycle. This recreation, Biorhythm of Flowers®, involves the aroma changes from bud to full bloom to faded blossom.

1997
Passion Flower
1997

Using the new solid-phase microextraction (SPME) technique, IFF captures unique environmental odors such as the clear scent of a mountaintop.

IFF introduces Instantiff®, a free-flowing granular flavor product for use in a variety of applications.

1998
Neblina, Venezuela
1998

During the month-long expedition to Neblina, Venezuela, the IFF team analyzes new and interesting scents of various orchids, plants, woods, barks, and minerals using IFF’s proprietary Living Flower® technology. The technology enables them to collect the aromas of these living species without ever having to cut or remove them from their natural environment.

IFF introduces functional seasonings that provide optimal taste and texture for quick-frozen foods.

1998
Overnight Scentsation
1998

IFF sends a miniature rose plant, “Overnight Scentsation,” aboard NASA’s STS-95 Discovery to determine how the flower’s scent changes in zero gravity. Using Solid Phase Micro Extraction™, Dr. Mookherjee and his team were able to extract the odorous molecules from the living flower during its shuttle flight and found that the rose’s scent radically changed at zero gravity. They were then able to reproduce in the lab a variety of heavenly fragrances previously unknown to the human senses of taste and smell. IFF was able to commercialize that “heavenly” scent in Zen, the fragrance launched by Shiseido.

1999
1999

IFF develops flavor modulators that provide tingle, mouthwarming, or cooling sensations.

IFF begins implementation of the Consumer Fragrance Thesaurus, an interactive brainstorming tool for new fragrance ideas and fragrance personalities.

2000
LMR Headquarters, Grasse, France
2000

IFF acquires Laboratoire Monique Rémy (LMR), a leader in the creation and commercialization of natural raw materials for fragrances and flavors. The acquisition of LMR strengthens IFF's already leading position in the development and use of natural ingredients.

 

2000
2000

Richard A. Goldstein succeeds Eugene P. Grisanti as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IFF.

2000
Asia Pacific Flavorists
2000

IFF opens its new Regional Technical and Creative Center in Singapore. This state-of-the-art facility serves as the headquarters for IFF’s Asia Pacific operations, providing technical, creative, management, and sales and marketing support to the region. The new facility helps IFF achieve a number of critical goals, including establishing state-of-the-art manufacturing and creative facilities in strategic locations around the world and being wherever our customers need and want us to be.  

2000
2000

IFF acquires Bush Boake Allen Inc., creating the world’s largest flavor and fragrance company. The rich history of BBA’s predecessor companies and acquisitions date to 1749 (Potter & Moore), 1833 (Stafford Allen & Sons), 1851 (WJ Bush), and A. Boake, Roberts & Co. (1869). In 1966, Stafford Allen & Sons, W.J. Bush & Company, and A. Boake, Roberts & Co. join forces to become Bush Boake Allen Ltd.

2001
2001

IFF breaks new ground in natural products research with the addition of a hydroponic greenhouse in Union Beach, New Jersey—adding 1,300 square feet to the existing greenhouse. The facility includes state-of-the-art climate controls, including underground heat, and allows IFF to grow plants using nutrient-enriched water, instead of soil (which can contain impurities). The new greenhouse enables IFF to provide customers with fragrances and flavors that promote health and wellness.

2001
2001

IFF opens a new Technical and Creative Center in Shanghai, China. The new 2,600-square-meter facility, which includes offices, laboratories, and a consumer research center, represents a $1 million investment for the Company. It is also the new headquarters for IFF’s Greater China operations, serving as the base of technical, creative, management, sales, and marketing support for the area.

2002
2002

IFF unveils a refreshed corporate identity, including an updated logo and new advertising featuring striking photos of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

2002
IFF New York Headquarters
2002

IFF is ranked among the world's best soap and cosmetic companies in Fortune magazine's 2002 Most Admired American Companies. IFF shares the honor with consumer product powerhouses Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and Estée Lauder.

2002
2002

In September 2002, IFF opens a Perfumery School in its New York headquarters. Under the direction of industry veteran Ron Winnegrad, the new school is part of a global program to create the legendary perfumers of tomorrow, guaranteeing that our customers will continue to collaborate with the most talented perfumers in the industry for years to come.

2003
Evaluating fragrance while hair is being washed.
2003

In April 2003, IFF opens a full-service hair salon in its global headquarters. The on-site salon serves as a testing ground for IFF's global network of hair care perfumers and evaluators, who can now experiment and get immediate feedback on how fragrance performs on wet hair, during the drying process, and after styling.

2003
2003

After years of successful use in oral care products and chewing gums, and even helping to generate a new line of breath film products, IFF expands its propriety cooling technology, CoolTek™, into the beverage market. The breakthrough technology imparts a cooling sensation without the use of mint and without the "burn," aroma, or flavor of menthol.

2003
2003

IFF launches CapLock™, a new flavor encapsulation technology that provides premium flavor quality and stability, even after 24 months of storage. The technology is an important advancement for product developers who are looking for long flavor shelf-life in consumer products.

2003
2003

IFF collaborates with fashion and art publication Visionaire on their 42nd edition, SCENT. Released in December 2003, SCENT combines 21 original fragrances created by IFF's talented perfumers with visual interpretations from top artists in a variety of fields, including Karl Lagerfeld, Mario Testino, David Bowie, Iman, Kate Moss, Stephen King, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Gus Van Sant. The perfumers and artists offer their interpretations of Cold, Noise, Hunger, Gigabyte, 2Am, Mother, Broken Glass, Instinct, and others.

2004
2004

As part of its continuous effort to create winning flavors for its customers, IFF breaks ground for a new state-of-the-art Culinary & Bakery Center in February 2004. Built at the existing North America Regional Creative Center in South Brunswick, New Jersey, the new facility will enable IFF to better support customers’ product development programs in the retail and foodservice markets, expand the Company’s capabilities in the savory and bakery categories, and provide hands-on training and product demonstrations for customers. The Culinary & Bakery Center will also serve as the North American headquarters for the execution of IFF’s global Culinessence™ program.

2004
2004

IFF breaks ground for a new specialty ingredients (aroma chemical) manufacturing plant in China. The $29 million plant, located in the Hangzhou Economic and Technological Development Area (HEDA), is expected to open in late 2006 and reach fully-optimized operation in 2008. It will further solidify IFF’s position in the Asian market and allow the Company to meet growing customer demands in the region and throughout the world.

2005
2005

In April 2005, IFF wins the fragrance industry’s highest honor, the FiFi® Award, for “Technological Breakthrough of the Year” with its unique Sensory Perception™ technology. The technology is a microencapsulation delivery system for textiles that allows fragrance or active ingredients, such as aloe vera or vitamin E, to be released from clothing, sheets, or other textiles over a period of time. The technology opens up an exciting new area of business for the fragrance industry—the textile market—and a world of possibilities for consumers.

2005
IFF’s Chairman plants a tree on the grounds of the new creative center
2005

With the opening of its new 5,000 square-meter creative center in Neuilly Sur Seine, IFF becomes the first major fragrance house in Paris to unite both fine fragrances and beauty care, including toiletries, together in one powerful unit.

2005
2005

IFF expands its fragrance plant in Singapore, increasing its fragrance manufacturing capacity in the Asia Pacific region, a main focus of the Company’s continued growth. 

2005
The Chairman lights a typical temple lamp during the opening ceremony.
2005

IFF opens a new creative center for fragrances and beauty care in Bombay, India. The Company’s investment in the 20,000 square-feet facility reflects its long-term commitment to the Indian market and dedication to providing customers there with world-class technology, expertise, service, and products. Already a leader in the Indian flavors market, the new center provides the infrastructure for IFF to gain leadership in fragrance. 

2005
2005

IFF once again collaborates with fashion and art publication Visionaire on their 47th edition, TASTE. Paintings, photographs, and conceptual images are paired with specially-created flavors by IFF’s flavorists. This is the first time that flavor has ever been used as a pure art medium, without concern for convention or application and detached from its connection to food.  Some tastes are easy to identify, while others are highly abstract or conceptual. Contributors include master chefs Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adrìa; artists Bruce Weber, Yoko Ono, Vik Muniz, Jenny Holzer, Gary Hume; and surfing star Laird Hamilton.

2006
2006

Robert M. Amen succeeds Richard A. Goldstein as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IFF.

2006
2006

IFF announces new Vision, Mission and Principles, which codify the corporate focus on customers, people and innovation and support the vision of:

We create unique scent & taste experiences people love.

2006
2006

IFF partners with Constantin Films and Thierry Mugler Parfums to bring fragrances to life in the film version of Patrick Suskind's novel “Perfume.” IFF created a coffret containing 15 fragrances that explore unique emotions, poised between fantasy and reality, and revealed in atmospheres which capture history, mystery and passion.

2007
Nicolas Mirzayantz (left) and Hernan Vaisman
2007

IFF reorganizes its business structure into two units to reflect its flavors and fragrance businesses. Hernan Vaisman was elected to the newly-created position of Group President, Flavors, and Nicolas Mirzayantz was elected to the newly-created position of Group President, Fragrances.

2009
2009

IFF opens new Shanghai Creative Center, located at The North in the Putuo district of Shanghai. The center provides an attractive and customer-focused environment for flavor and fragrance creation. The facility strengthens IFF’s presence in Greater Asia and is part of an ongoing global program to expand and modernize its facilities to capitalize on strategic growth opportunities.

2009
2009

IFF opens new, state-of-the-art Flavor and Fragrance Creative Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The location improves customer access and interaction, while the dual flavor and fragrance center encourages creative synergies benefiting both sides of the business.

2009
2009

IFF announces the completion of a new CapLock™ production line at its European Center of Excellence for Flavor Delivery Systems and Encapsulation in Haverhill, UK. The addition of IFF’s advanced flavor encapsulation and delivery system here builds upon the company’s prior investment in a CapLock production line in the same facility.

2010
2010

Douglas D. Tough assumes role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer effective March 1, 2010.

2011
2011

IFF announces its plans to invest over $100 million in Greater Asia over the next three years. The investment will be allocated to two new state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located in Guangzhou, China and Singapore.

2011
2011

IFF’s unique encapsulation technology wins the 2011 FiFi® Award, the highest honor in the fragrance industry, for Technological Breakthrough of the Year. IFF applied this technology to "Redken Nature's Rescue Radiant Sea Spray" - Time Touch Hair Fragrance.

2011
2011

IFF announces the opening of a new state-of-the-art flavor and fragrance facility in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The new site houses creative and applications labs as well as sales and marketing offices, to better support all categories of flavor and fragrance applications for the unique Middle Eastern market.

2011
2011

IFF publishes its first external sustainability report: Sustainability: The Essence of IFF. The report describes the company's sustainability strategy and outlines its accomplishments for IFF's operations worldwide through the end of 2010.

2012
2012

IFF Establishes Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to escalate innovation. The SAB comprises five scientific talents in key research and development areas as identified in the company’s global strategic review.

2012
2012

IFF opens a new facility in Delhi, India, to house creative, technical, sensory, and sales professionals for the company’s flavors business unit.

2012
2012

IFF opens a new higher capacity liquid flavors and fragrances manufacturing plant in Jurong, Singapore to maximize productivity and efficiency while maintaining high product quality. In keeping with IFF’s commitment to reduce its impact on the environment, the plant was built with automated processes that dramatically minimize usage of water, energy and cleaning chemicals.

2013
2013

IFF and Evolva enter pre-production phase to develop and scale-up natural vanillin for commercial application through a cost-effective, natural and sustainable route

2013
2013

IFF opens Guangzhou, China site, one of its largest and most technically advanced flavors manufacturing facilities built to the highest global standards for food ingredients

2013
2013

IFF-LMR wins prestigious organic monitor sustainable beauty award for Sustainable Ingredients for a revolutionary new approach to rose extracts, Rose Water Essential™

2014
2014

IFF acquires Aromor in order to strengthen its fragrance ingredients and fragrance creation capabilities