From Fragrance & Flavors to Nutrition, Balchem’s Frederic Boned’s Career is Still Inspired

Frederic Boned (pronounced “bone-ned”) has a childhood memory: he is playing with a toy truck in his father’s lab, enveloped in the smell of perfumes. The senior Boned worked as a perfumer for the Swiss flavors and fragrance behemoth Givaudan, at the time tasked with running their creative lab in Argentina, where he tested and crafted scents for the Latin American market. As Frederic’s father’s career progressed, the family would relocate back to Switzerland and then again to France, the family’s native countries.

“I remember the lab assistants, and their test tubes, and, of course, all of the smells,” recalled Boned. “I was fascinated by the environment, a subtle blend of creativity and science.” 

So fascinated, in fact, that when it came time to embark on his own career, Boned decided to study chemistry, with the goal one day of becoming a perfumer like his father. He studied chemical engineering and, ironically, was hired by the same company that had employed his dad. Although, despite his scientific training, Boned didn’t find himself in the “interesting and intriguing” daily workings of a laboratory, but rather as a member of a sales team tasked with expanding Givaudan’s Fragrances business. 

“I was in my early 20s at that time, was filled with curiosity for the world and all aspects of the business. I was very well aware of everything that I did not know and determined to fill the gaps. I got the chance to travel intensively across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and learned about business development, which I found fascinating,” recalled Boned. “But my appetite for knowledge and experience was far from fulfilled. So, I completed an Executive-MBA, moved from Sales to Marketing, because I wanted to explore a more strategic dimension of the business, and expanded my scope to a global role, so I could immerse myself in all regions, with still a particular interest for emerging markets.”

Whether it was luck, hard work or a combination of both, Boned rose through the ranks at a decade’s long career at Givaudan leading him from the Fragrances division to Flavors, before spending another decade climbing the ladder at DSM. “I was given the opportunity to constantly stretch myself and learn: different divisions like Cosmetic Ingredients, Aroma Ingredients, Nutritional Products, but also a variety of functions (Sales, Marketing, Innovation, Operations, Corporate Projects), scopes, in general management and people leadership and geographies. Like all accelerated developments, it often felt fairly uncomfortable to me and my family, but growth requires discomfort”.  Like his father had before him, Boned relocated his family for his career. The family moved from Europe to New Jersey six years ago.

“It was a relatively easy adjustment,” said Boned. “My spouse and our four kids moved just before the COVID era, so it wasn’t easy but also beautifully bonded our family together even more. And we really enjoyed integrating into the American culture…we immediately fell in love with the diversity within the US, and we particularly appreciate the people here. We felt immediately at home.” 

His tenure at Balchem has been brief in comparison, less than two years, but the opportunity has offered new adventures for him and his family. 

Of course, with his professional background, Boned is also at home heading up the health and nutrition space at Balchem, leading three different business units in the food ingredients and nutraceutical space. “The company was a perfect fit for me. A very entrepreneurial culture where curiosity and speed of actions are valued, a global portfolio of specialty ingredients that were directly connected to my prior experiences, and the ability to deeply collaborate with highly expert functional teams in Marketing, Sales, Operations, Innovation and Science.”

Boned believes that if knowledge and experience matters as a leader, you only are as good as your team. “The fundamental purpose of knowledge is the ability to more broadly and genuinely connect with others, because you understand them better, and therefore can engage and connect at a deeper level. Experience makes all the difference in the world, not because you have all the right answers, but because you are able to ask the right questions and lead the right conversation with a broad array of people.”

Boned is very passionate and confident about the US nutrition market, which he sees as the most dynamic and innovative market for supplements. He believes, that despite some current regulatory challenges that the industry has to collectively face and address, the growth outlook is still very robust due to the level of education and appetite of consumers for supplements.

When asked what he talks about with other executives at industry events, Boned said discussions often pivot to regulatory challenges, the role of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) in navigating these, and the industry’s evolving stance on the FDA and DSHEA. 

“Quality is another major topic, with concerns about counterfeit products and maintaining product integrity to ensure consumer trust and repeat purchases,” added Boned. “Lastly, innovation and how to differentiate within regulatory confines are common subjects, highlighting the industry's ongoing struggle with commoditization and the quest to introduce credible, science-backed products that consumers understand and embrace.”

For now, Boned has embraced where he’s landed in life, which is a place and a time far away from the floor of his dad’s Argentine laboratory. “I’m right where I belong, personally and professionally,” he said.