Merger between Firmenich and DSM creates DSM-Firmenich

The building at 100 N. Valley Street still bares the name Firmenich, but following a merger last May, the company is now known as DSM-Firmenich.

NEW ULM — A flavoring company by any other name would smell just as sweet.

The Swiss flavoring company Firmenich, which operates a plant in New Ulm, merged with Dutch State Mines (DSM) company in May of 2023, creating the new company DSM-Firmenich.

The plant located on North Valley Street still only bares the name Firmenich but that could change in the near future. However, the business will remain the same.

Firmenich has long been one of the world’s largest fragrance and flavoring companies. The DSM company has long been active in the fields of health and nutrition. Impact to the New Ulm plant has been minimal up to this point.

Firmenich New Ulm plant master operator Corey Harris-Peterson said the big change since the merger is DSM-Firmenich is now a public traded company on the European market. Locally, the plant continues to create a wide variety of flavoring products. This includes everything from beverage flavoring to healthcare and meat products.

There are few aisles in the grocery store that don’t feature a product Firmenich flavored. And yet, the name DSM-Firmenich is unlikely to ever appear on a product label. The company only provides a single component. The closest DSM-Firmenich will ever come to appearing on a label is the term “Intermediate flavor.”

The average customer might not know about DSM-Firmenich’s involvement in various food products, but the companies that need flavoring work know who to call for this specialized work.

At the New Ulm plant, flavoring is created and applied to food products through liquid application or powder blend. Once the flavor mixture is created it is shipped to whichever food company needs that specific flavor.

Harris-Peterson, along with plant supervisors Adam Schlie and Matt Anderson confirmed there is a lot of behind the scenes work to create flavoring.

Before the plant can begin manufacturing the flavor, they have to prove it can be produced to the clients specification. This means employees at the New Ulm plant are experimenting and testing flavors before full production even begins. Even after a particular flavor is approved, there is a lot of additional work needed to determine how best to produce the flavor in bulk.

This includes making sure the employees are safe. It is not unusually for staff working with the products to wear masks and respirators.

The company has a strong commitment to safety and environmental protection. Over the years, the Firmenich company has received awards for environmental stewardship. The New Ulm plant is landfill-free, meaning none of their waste goes to a landfill. It is either recycled or incinerated.

Looking to the future, Harris-Peterson believes the New Ulm DSM-Firmenich plant is in great shape. On the local level things are running smoothly. The recent merger has had minimal impact, but will likely help expansion in customer base and possibly upgrades in equipment.

Anderson said the plant was fortunate have adequate staffing. Many businesses are struggling to find workers, but he said last year was one their best in terms of employees. Currently the New Ulm plant has 107 hourly employees and 15 salary employees. This is actually more than enough employees to operate the plant.

Anderson said their employees are the companies greatest assest and they want to be flexible with work scheduling to allow staff to spend time with family and take off for needed appointments.

In terms of production, flavoring produced at the New Ulm plant will change based on market demand. It is hard to predict what tastes will be popular in the next year, though recently there has been a push for healthy food options. Staff expects nutritional flavoring options to be an ongoing trend in 2024.


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