Colour, flavour and fragrance

Saffron is one of the world’s most expensive spices. In part this is because the crocus that makes saffron makes very little of it and in part due to a very labour intensive harvesting process.

Whilst the saffron market is poorly documented, Evolva estimates some 300 tonnes of saffron are produced each year, with around 95% of world supply coming from Iran. Both the level of production and the pricing varies significantly from year to year. Much of the trade in saffron occurs in informal markets (most notably in the Middle East), and there can be significant adulteration of the product as it flows through the supply chain.

Evolva is able to make all of the key saffron ingredients by yeast fermentation. By making saffron in this way, Evolva can both significantly lower the cost of saffron and offer a robust and stable supply chain that is free of geopolitical and adulteration issues. We believe this may significantly expand use of saffron. In particular:

  • by providing more affordable saffron to mid-market consumers in, for example, India and other Asian countries, traditional use of saffron can be significantly increased.

  • by providing a stable, trustworthy supply chain together with better economics, it becomes viable to use saffron in mass market consumer goods (such as skin creams, teas, air fresheners, baked and savoury goods)

  • by providing individual saffron ingredients in a variety of forms, it becomes possible to use saffron in a wider variety of products, and allows customisation of products to particular demographics. This should also make the use of saffron for applications such as eye health to be more readily explored.

As with all Evolva’s products, it is hard to estimate the market potential of Evolva’s saffron. However, based on various third-party data, its own market research and internal analysis, Evolva estimates that the total addressable market for its saffron product is around USD 400 million. This assumes that the primary impact of Evolva’s saffron will be to expand the use of saffron, rather than cannibalisation of existing saffron sales.

2014 activities & future plans

In 2014, we further optimised production of the various saffron ingredients. Various sensory studies were successfully conducted, including very positive data on the taste profile of specific ingredients. Initial discussions took place with several potential customers, with encouraging feedback.

In 2015, we intend to focus on the regulatory filing with the necessary studies to meet approval requirements. We also intend to evaluate key applications for saffron consumer requirements.

Evolva expects fermentation-derived saffron to be available for commercial launch in 2016.

Contact Information

Evolva SA
Duggingerstrasse 23
CH-4153 Reinach
Tel: +41 61 485 2000
Fax: +41 61 485 2001
Evolva A/S
Lersoe Parkallé 42-44
DK-2100 Copenhagen OE
Tel: +45 35 200 230
Fax: +45 35 200 231
Evolva Biotech Private Limited
401 - 405, 4th Floor
Ticel Bio Park Ltd
Taramani Road, Taramani
Chennai 600 113
Tamil Nadu, India
Tel: +91 44 4297 1050
Fax: +91 44 4297 1060
Evolva, Inc. (Evolva USA)
2440 Embarcadero Way
Palo Alto
CA 94303
Tel: +1 650 856 2436
Fax: +1 650 856 7950

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