2018 marked by looking beyond flavor, plant-based innovation: 2018 was the year in which the major flavor industry players truly evolved far beyond their roots to identify around the more holistic concept of “taste” rather than mere “flavor” alone. This business dynamic led Givaudan to acquire natural extracts supplier Naturex and IFF to buy Frutarom, in a landmark deal. In a move that also showed the flavor industry’s divergence to clean label extracts, Firmenich launched its Natural and Clean Label platform. On the trends front, targeting increasingly adventurous consumers will be key to product development going forward. 2018 was marked by the mainstreaming of plant-based companies, with growing consumer interest in health, sustainability and ethics driving plant-derived ingredients and products into high popularity. On the policy front, bans on partially hydrogenated oils came into force in the US and Canada, while acrylamide was increasingly under the radar in the EU. New sweeteners, including allullose and brazzein, captured the headlines throughout 2018.