October 23, 2014

Manufacturing: Common Scents- Southwest/ Tampa Bay- Dec. 2003

Amy Welch Brill | 12/1/2003
Decades ago when the Florida citrus industry was centered in central Florida, it spun off several small companies that made flavors from citrus byproducts. Today, the flavor industry has grown to become a worldwide billion-dollar business. The conglomerates that now dominate the industry bought out the small Florida companies years ago, but four flavor factories in Lakeland still churn out flavors and scents for their European owners.

The flavor plants, which create citrus flavors and aromas for beverages, perfumes, candies and cleaning products, provide the area with about 200 jobs; plant sales range from $4 million to $152 million, according to annual reports.

Lakeland's Flavor MakersDanisco USA: A unit of Copenhagen, Denmark-based Danisco A/S.
Givaudan Flavors Corp.: A unit of Vernier, Switzerland-based Givaudan.
SunPure: A subsidiary of the Kerry Group, based in Tralee, Ireland.
Treatt USA: A unit of Suffolk, England-based Treatt PLC.Companies like Danisco USA, a subsidiary of Danish-based Danisco A/S, buy orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime peels. To create scents and flavors, the companies use both oils in the exterior of the peels and enzymes in the white inside part of the peel. To add an orange scent to cleaning products, for instance, the flavor company extracts oil enzymes from the outside of the orange peel. To add flavor to orange soda, the company removes water-based enzymes from the white part of the peel. The companies create specific flavors for their customers that they deliver in liquid, oil and powder forms.

Though the plants will not identify their customers, Wesley Beck, head of Danisco's Lakeland branch, acknowledges that together they "sell to every beverage company in the world."

One surprising group of flavor buyers is orange juice makers. Since a stronger flavor of orange can be extracted from the inside of an orange peel rather than the meaty center, OJ companies add back some of the flavor that gets lost in processing. And since the flavor comes from the fruit, juice makers can still label their products as 100% fruit juice.

Recently, plants have been working on keeping up with the popularity of orange-scented cleaning products and lemon-flavored colas.

Today, the flavor firms buy citrus byproducts not only from Florida but also from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Asia, depending on the time of year, crop sizes and cost. Still, the industry continues to expand in Lakeland.

Steve Scruggs, executive director of the Lakeland Economic Development Council, says that a fifth flavor company has recently bought land in Lakeland and may build a facility soon. Scruggs, who won't name the company, welcomes the jobs, which he says are high-paying. "This is a very high-tech industry," he says.

IN THE NEWS

Charlotte County -- Charlotte County Sheriff William E. Clement was suspended by Gov. Jeb Bush and arrested in October for allegedly lying on a campaign finance report in 2000, a third-degree felony. Clement is accused of accepting a $5,000 loan from a former sheriff's candidate and illegally funneling $2,500 of it into his campaign treasury. He also failed to report $5,000 in campaign contributions.

Lakeland -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the state's citrus growers will produce a record 252 million boxes of oranges, a 24% increase over last season. Grapefruit may also have a banner season, with expectations at 8.5% higher than last year's crop of 38.7 million boxes. Despite the increase, weakening demand is expected to keep citrus prices low, says Andy LaVigne, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual.

Palmetto -- The city must come up with $12 million to fix its deteriorating sewer, reclaimed water and waste-water drainage systems. City officials are applying for a state loan of $3.9 million and may ask residents to approve a half-cent sales tax to pay for improvements.

Plant City -- Masry & Vititoe, the California law firm that employs Erin Brockovich, is representing some residents in Plant City in a suit against Coronet Industries, which has a large plant that turns phosphate into animal feed. Residents believe the Coronet plant's runoff has seeped into their wells and is making them sick.

Polk County -- Polk County commissioners have named Tom Patton the county's new economic development director, a position that has been vacant for two years. Patton was most recently executive director of Haines City's economic development department.

St. Petersburg -- A local non-profit group, Urban Development Solutions, and a private developer, Sembler Co., are teaming up to build a Kash n' Karry supermarket in the city's low-income Midtown area. The city, which has been trying to bring a grocery to the area for years, is providing $1 million in incentives and plans to lease the property to the developer for $1 a year.

Tampa -- Covanta Tampa Construction, the company hired by Tampa Bay Water to build and run its long-delayed desalination plant, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Tampa Bay Water had threatened to fire Covanta if the company had missed another deadline.

Tampa Bay Shipbuilding & Repair Co. has asked the Tampa Port Authority for a $7-million expansion loan. The company hopes to add about 300 employees over five years. Because the company leases its site from the TPA, it could not apply for conventional financing.

TECO Energy (NYSE-TE) has laid off more than 200 employees at some of its subsidiaries, including Tampa Electric Co., as part of a reorganization.

University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft ordered Robert Daugherty, dean of USF's medical school, to resign amid allegations that he asked at least 25 of his employees to contribute up to $2,000 each to state House Speaker Johnnie Byrd's U.S. Senate campaign. The school's board will conduct a national search for his replacement.

St. Joseph's Women's Hospital has broken ground on an $11-million, 50,000-sq.-ft. physicians office building. The building will serve as a new entrance to the hospital and will add 32,000 square feet of office space.

Aviation
FINAL DEPARTURE

FORT MYERS -- Southwest Florida International Airport's beloved border collie named Jet, which herded birds away from runways, has died of a degenerative heart condition. Jet was the first dog in the nation to participate in a wildlife management program aimed at preventing collisions between planes and birds.

Tags: Southwest, Tampa Bay

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