IFEAT 2018 Cartagena, Colombia, South America Conference

9th to 13th September 2018, Cartagena

After 17 years, the IFEAT Conference finally returned to South America!


The IFEAT 2018 Conference took place in Cartagena, Colombia, from 9th to 13th September 2018.

Cartagena, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, is the top tourist destination in Colombia, with a charming historic walled city that provides a fascinating insight into the city’s past, and due to its historical heritage, UNESCO declared the city a “World Heritage Site” in 1984.

The theme for the 2018 Conference was ‘Las Américas’ and it focussed on the essential oils and F&F markets in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Mexico and the Amazon, as well as the addressing legislative and scientific issues.

Just over 1,170 delegates and 60 accompanying persons attended the Conference representing 54 different countries and we are delighted to say that this included first timers from the South American region – including El Salvador, Ecuador and of course Colombia. Our aim is always to try and take the Conference to a new audience and this year we achieved just that.

The Conference opened with the Welcome Reception on Sunday evening. This was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, one of the two host hotels for the event. Almost 1,000 people joined this traditional ice breaker for drinks, canapés and their first taste of some traditional Colombian dancing!

The Conference programme was opened on Monday morning by Cartagena Conference Chairman, Raúl Amigo, who introduced the opening lecture ‘Fragrance and Flavour Trends in Latin America’ by Elena Novas (VP, Regional General Manager at IFF, Fragrances – Latam).

This was followed by a ‘Citrus Overview’ session which included lectures on ‘Actions to Control Citrus Greening Disease In Brazil’ (Juliano Ayres, Fundecitrus);  Lemon Production & Economic Changes in the Argentinean Lemon Industry (Andy Blum, Citromax & Sergio Davalos, Cota Ltd);  Citrus in Mexico: Production and Industry Challenges – Now and in the Future (Norberto Antonio Rodríguez Zenteno, Frutech International Corporation de México) and ended with a Panel Discussion on Citrus with all of the speakers from the Citrus session.

Monday afternoon’s session was entitled ‘The F&F Industry & Essential Oils in Colombia and the Broader LATAM Region’. This regional overview commenced with ‘Colombian Aromatic Plants & Essential Oils: A New Dawn for Colombian Agriculture’ presented by Dr Elena Stashenko (CENIVAM) and then continued with presentations on ‘The Production of Essential Oils in Guatemala, El Salvador & Honduras’ (Luis Alberto Asturias, Aromas Naturales S.A); ‘A Journey Through the Flavours of South America’ (Juan Elizalde, Cramer), and a presentation by Aldemar Castaño from Factores & Mercadeo S.A., who was a member of the Local Organising Committee for Cartagena, on ‘The Colombian F&F Cluster, Connecting the Americas and Caribbean’.

A further Discussion Panel on the ‘F&F Industry in Colombia and the Broader LATAM Region’ rounded up day one’s programme.

Day two of the programme started with the IFEAT Business Session, incorporating the AGM and Business Reports. During the AGM, there were two newly elected Executive Committee members announced, who are Aslan Gülçiçek from MG International Fragrance Company (MG Gülçiçek), Turkey, and Sofia Lluch from Lluch Essence, Spain.

The 2017 Report & Accounts were then presented and approved by members at the AGM.

This was followed by reports on the IFEAT Education Programmes at Reading and Plymouth Universities before a report and video on the IFEAT 2018 Study Tour to Spain which took place in June 2018, presented by one of the Tour’s attendees, Mehmet Çelik.

Then came the exciting announcements of the locations for the 2019 Conference and Study Tour.

The 2019 Conference will be held in Nusa Dua, Bali from the 29th September to 3rd October. Conference Co-Chairs Stephen Pisano and Ravi Sanganeria jointly presented a video showing a flavour of what the location will offer as well as announcing the Conference theme of Naturals of Asia” which will have a focus on the essential oils and ingredients that come from Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and India.

The 2019 Study Tour will take place in Sri Lanka from 22nd to 31st July 2019. A presentation on the itinerary for the nine-day tour was made by Chamari Wickramathilake on behalf of the Local Organising Committee and it will include visits to plantations and producers of, amongst other things, sandalwood, citronella, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. This will be IFEAT’s second Tour of Sri Lanka – the first ever Study Tour was held there back in 2005 for a small group of less than 10 die-hards. The Tours now quickly sell out of the 50 available spaces within a matter of minutes!

Tuesday morning’s Conference session continued with the presentations of the IFEAT Best Student Medals. The recipient of the Best Student Medal for the ICATS Perfumery Course was Darrell Wilson and the recipient of the Best Student Medal for the University of Reading Flavourist Course was Patrick Beck.

The 2018 IFEAT Medal Lecture: ‘Scents from the Amazon: The Scents, the Weather and the Wind’ was given by Professor Dr Lauro E.S. Barata. Many attendees gave feedback that the Dr Barata’s lecture was “inspirational”.

The final session of the morning ‘Opportunities for Essential Oil Production in Latin America’ started with a presentation on ‘The Brazilian Fragrance Market’ by Patricia Shimojo, (Vollmens), then continued with ‘Aromatic Essential Oils as a Driver of Rainforest Conservation & Regeneration’ (Robin Van Loon, Camino Verde) and ‘From Forest to Bottle: Developing New Essential Oils’ (Iguatemi Costa, Natura).

After lunch, the focus moved to Regulatory & Legislative Developments, commencing with ‘Global Trade – Quo vadis?’ (Sven Ballschmiede, IOFI), followed by ‘Adding Value Throughout the Value Chain – IFRA in 2018 and Beyond’ (Martina Bianchini, IFRA); ‘Essential Oils and Pesticides: How to face the future with EFEO’ (Jean-François Quarre, EFEO) and ‘The History of Flavour Safety Evaluation’ (Richard Pisano Jnr, Citrus & Allied). The audience were then given a chance to question the presenters during the concluding Panel Discussion on Regulatory & Legislative Developments. The Conference programme was then formally closed by Cartagena Conference Chair, Raúl Amigo. Audience attendance figures for the Conference speaker programme this year were high and we received very good feedback from attendees.

The IFEAT Annual Dinner was held on Tuesday evening at Casa 1537, a beautiful historical venue hidden behind closed doors in the old walled City of Cartagena. Guests enjoyed a fantastic buffet and drinks before engaging in some highly energetic dancing led by some of the city’s finest professional dancers.  Some sore feet (and heads!) were apparent the next day!

Although the main Conference Programme had concluded on Tuesday, there were further opportunities for delegates to engage in current topics with additional sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday saw a follow up to Richard Pisano Jr’s ‘History of Flavour Safety Evaluation’ presentation with a workshop on the same topic, and on Thursday, an additional ‘free to attend’ Distillation Forum, presided over by Rick Boucard, was held.

Following the popularity of the first Round Table Discussion held in Athens in 2017, a second such discussion took place on Wednesday, the topic was ‘Demand exceeding supply in essential oils: Is it going to last?’

There were also two full day courses available for delegates to attend, a Flavour Course, held on Wednesday and led by John Wright, and a Fragrance Training Course on Thursday which was led by Marianne Martin.

The Trade Exhibition opened to all delegates on Wednesday and Thursday. Exhibitors from many different countries took this opportunity to meet current business contacts and customers and make new ones over the two days.  Please refer to the list of Exhibiting companies below.

The final event of the Conference was the highly anticipated Closing Banquet which took place on the beach at the Hilton Cartagena hotel.  Guests were welcomed with cocktails and a carnival style atmosphere with entertainment from traditional Colombian dancers. Delegates then took their seats for dinner under a clear marquee which allowed for some fabulous views of the ocean, cityscape and night sky. Cartagena Conference Committee Chair, Raúl Amigo, invited his Committee and IFEAT Staff to the stage to thank them for their efforts in delivering such a successful Conference. This was followed by the presentation of the prestigious IFEAT Founder’s Award to Mr Erol Meshulam of MG International Fragrance Company (MG Gülçiçek), to the relief of his family and colleagues who had been sworn to secrecy for months!

It was the highest recorded attendance for an IFEAT Conference Closing Banquet – a clear indication that an increasing number of delegates and accompanying persons plan their trips to stay for the full duration of the Conference.

On behalf of Raúl Amigo, the Cartagena Conference Committee, the Local Organising Committee, and everyone else involved, we would like to thank you all for making the trip to Colombia and hope that the Conference was a success for you.

Sampai jumpa di Nusa Dua, Bali!

(See you in Nusa Dua!)

The IFEAT Team



Cardamom Products P Ltd
Chengdu Jianzhong Flavors and Fragrances Co.,Ltd.
ECSA chemicals AG
Encee Aromatics P Limited
GuruNanda, LLC
H J Arochem Pvt Ltd
Hangzhou Grascent Co., Ltd
Herbal Family Group
Jayshree Aromatics Pvt. Ltd.
Jiaxing Barton Chemicals Inc.
Katyani Exports
Nanjing Univis International Development Co., Ltd.
Nishant Aromas
Prakash Chemicals International Pvt. Ltd.
PT Natura Aromatik Nusantara
Tech – Vina Joint Stock Company
Triglav-Edelvais Ltd.
Wanxiang International
Wild Wood Oils of Australia


Our Sponsors

















About the Conference

The theme for the 2018 Conference is “Las Americas“ and the programme will focus on essential oils, legislative issues, Central & South America, the Caribbean, Mexico and the Amazon.

Companies can book sponsorship and advertising opportunities and reserve exhibition booths as well as individuals being able to register as delegates for the event.

The Venue and Destination

The IFEAT 2018 Conference will take place at the ocean front Hyatt Regency and Estelar Hotels

The City of Cartagena, is known as the “Jewel of Colombia” in South America, and has been described as “One of the Most Beautiful Cities in South America”. Cartagena is a vibrant and exciting city that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Colombia, with its many altitude levels, climates and natural elements is the world’s second most biodiverse country and has 10% of all the flora and fauna in the world, making this region of particular interest to the F&F industry.

Panel Discussions

Once again the IFEAT Conference will have a number of Panel Discussions. More information is available on the programme page of the website.

Courses & Workshops

We have a Fragrance Training Course run by Marianne Martin and a Flavour Course run by John Wright this year in Cartagena.

Watch our video

Click here to read the Terms & Conditions for the Conference. 

Enquiries: conference@ifeat.org

Please note, IFEAT’s office hours are 9.00 am to 5.30pm (UK time) Monday to Friday. We will respond to your query as soon as possible.