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Too good to waste – By-products of the food industry as a raw material source for cosmetics



[Translate to English:] food waste

In today's world, a responsible approach to nature plays an increasingly important role. Our planet is threatened: Global climate change, deforestation and threats to biodiversity are having an ever greater impact on us and our environment. In recent times, the use of microplastics has also become the focus of public attention. It is washed into the oceans via rivers and eaten by marine animals. The particles thus enter the food chain and cause damage to the environment.

Sustainability has long since ceased to be a temporary trend. In times in which consumers are looking for natural formulations and demand a respectful approach to nature, this topic is becoming more and more important and is developing into a key differentiator for cosmetic brands. The market for "green" and sustainable cosmetics has been growing continuously for years. Consumers are becoming more and more attentive and choose their care products more consciously and carefully. It is expected that the global market in this area will grow by around 8-10% annually over the next few years. Europe's share of the global market for natural cosmetics is estimated at up to 35%. The strongest markets are Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Great Britain.

Young people in particular are becoming increasingly sensitive to the issues of ingredients, environmental protection and ecology. In addition, there is a constantly growing number of apps and electronic tools that make it easier for them to decipher all ingredients at a glance. There is also a trend towards avoiding waste through refillable packaging or minimizing packaging (see our blog post “2019 – An eco-aware year for the cosmetic industry” ). At the same time, the amount of waste from the food industry has been growing steadily in recent years and many manufacturing companies produce different types of by-products rich in valuable ingredients. This is where upcycling comes in, a form of conversion of seemingly useless by-products into new materials. The holistic use of all components reduces the need for newly produced raw materials, which has a gentle effect on our resources.

One way of obtaining active and functional raw materials is to use by-products from the food industry. Previously unused residues are further processed. 

Especially in the production of fruit juices and jams from stone fruit, large quantities of kernels are accumulated. Apricot kernels are first processed for oil production and the press residues are then processed as peeling. Peelings of various citrus fruits are often by-products of the fruit juice industry and are ideal as gentle peelings for sensitive skin. The shells of many nuts from the food industry are also thrown away every year in large quantities, and their hardness allows a very good abrasive effect to be achieved, which is ideal for body peelings.


Not only functional raw materials can be obtained by upcycling. Extracts from chestnut peel or pomace from wine production can be used as active ingredients in skin care. 

The manufacturers are also showing further commitment. Thus there are more and more projects in which farmers in Third World countries are being fairly employed. They pay attention to the sustainable management of plants and trees. Here the plant components that are not used for food production are used to produce cosmetic raw materials - be they seeds, shells, leaves or even roots. 

Environmentally friendly consumption is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Accordingly, the motivation for manufacturing companies to pursue highly sustainable concepts in order to be able to serve the ever-growing market is very high.



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Alexander Stubenvoll

Product & Sales Manager

Dear blog reader,

I am Alexander Stubenvoll and I am a Product & Sales Manager at IMPAG in Germany since April 2017. I am father of a wonderful daughter and together with my wife we spend our spare time outside.

Interacting with my customers, but also working and presenting of trend topics like the microbiome or Epigenetics is an important aspect of my work. I am looking forward to interesting blog posts, feedback and comments from you.

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