December 3, 2023

As the world’s first certification for upcycled ingredients and products enters the beauty industry, Caroline Barry explores the steps IFF’s GENENCARE OSMS range went through to become Upcycled Certified

<i>IFF’s GENENCARE OSMS range is extracted from the by-product of sugar beet processing known as sugar beet molasses</i>

IFF’s GENENCARE OSMS range is extracted from the by-product of sugar beet processing known as sugar beet molasses

For many beauty brands, achieving zero waste and circular economy goals can prove challenging and require a layered approach. Upcycled ingredients represent a powerful tool to reduce the environmental impact of products and tell an important sustainability story at the same time.

Using upcycled ingredients aligns with one of the environmentally sustainable values that resonates most with consumers: waste reduction. According to a study by Deloitte, 48% of surveyed UK consumers have chosen brands that practice waste reduction when deciding to shop sustainably for beauty and personal care products[1]. In another study by Mintel, 65% of German women surveyed are interested in using beauty and personal care products made from plant waste[2].

In the personal care industry, there are several types of side streams that can be converted into upcycled solutions. Such examples include imperfect produce from farms like ‘ugly’ carrots, harvest by-products like juices and pulps, pomace (the residue from crushed produce, like cranberry skins) and side streams from processing facilities, like wastewater from mushroom blanching.

As upcycled ingredients become increasingly popular for beauty and personal care brands, how can the industry legitimise food waste as a reputable and reliable source for beauty ingredients, and ensure that such products are manufactured to the highest standards?

The first standard for upcycled ingredients

Launched in June 2021, the Upcycled Certified Program is the first global third-party certification for upcycled foods and ingredients. Products and ingredients that are Upcycled Certified must maintain a key set of criteria: they are made from surplus food or food by-products, are traceable via verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment. The Upcycled Certified Standard is a detailed framework that adds credibility and integrity to the certifying process.

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