Upcycled ingredients: The new trend in cosmetics

More and more often, the cosmetics industry uses food by-products as upcycled ingredients. This trend is due to a growing demand for natural and sustainable raw materials. This creates opportunities for exporters of natural ingredients from developing countries.

Food by-products have become a source of natural ingredients. Palm kernel oil has been used in cosmetics and personal care products for many years. Recently, the cosmetics industry has started using more upcycled food by-products as raw materials.

From waste to upcycled ingredient

The French company Laboratories Expanscience developed an active eye care ingredient from damaged avocadoes. Givuadan, together with the Danish start-up Kaffe Bueno, recently launched Koffee’Up. Koffee’Up is an alternative to argan oil in skincare products. The upcycled ingredient is made from used coffee grounds. In 2018, Dr. Craft launched a range of natural hair colours in the UK. The range uses waste blackcurrant pulp to make sustainable hair colours. This innovation received the New Sustainable Product award at the 2019 Sustainable Beauty Awards.

Natural ingredients trend

This trend is partly due to high consumer demand for natural personal care products. Another reason is sustainability. L’Oreal and Unilever committed to using more sustainable raw materials in their products. A third factor is innovation. Several cosmetic companies are investing in Research & Development of food by-product use.

The COVID-19 pandemic is encouraging the use of local raw materials. This has a big impact on the supply of natural ingredients. The measures introduced in countries around the world have also disrupted the production process of natural ingredients. One European buyer of natural ingredients commented, “We have had problems. There are shortages. Delays in delivery. And transportation costs have increased.”

The future of natural ingredients

Experts expect that the challenges caused by COVID-19 will continue in the future. Many operators are now considering natural ingredient supply sources closer to them. Regional sources of natural ingredients are a lower risk during a pandemic. More companies also see food by-products as a sustainable source of raw materials. 

The cosmetics industry will likely continue to use upcycled ingredients. This trend creates opportunities for exporters of natural ingredients from developing countries. Many raw materials already come from developing countries. For example, Neal’s Yard Remedies, a leading organic personal care brand in the UK, uses an anti-ageing ingredient from waste material. For their Frankincense Boswellia Sacra Resin Extract, they used spent resin. This is a by-product from the production process of frankincense essential oils in Oman.

Reading tips

CBI provides market information on exporting natural ingredients for cosmetics to Europe. This includes studies about essential oils and fruit seed oils.

Ecovia Intelligence wrote this news article for CBI.

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