Demand for natural ingredients creates performance challenges for suppliers

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Natural ingredients Category theory Protein

The growing demand for suppliers to develop natural ingredients has revealed some challenging areas as strides are taken to deliver the natural positioning while retaining the performance required.

Yesterday, USA reported on Kline’s findings of the global natural personal care market as it approaches $300bn at retail level, with the US posting eight percent growth in 2009.

Amid all of the attention, suppliers have been under increasing pressure to develop natural ingredients to meet this demand.

Natural ingredient demand reveals performance concerns

Whilst some natural ingredient categories are very developed and sufficient alternatives have been found, some are more problematic.

Anna Ibbotson, industry manager, chemicals and materials at Kline, highlighted hair fixative polymers as the most challenging category, concerning the development of effective, viable natural alternatives to hair products and fixatives.

With the exception of corn starch-based formulas, devising fixative properties from natural ingredients to replace their synthetic counterparts is proving to be a formidable challenge, she explained.

Struggle to find efficient natural alternatives

Other problem categories include surfactants, although Ibbotson pointed out natural alternatives in this segment are gaining traction particularly in the mass market product categories.

Growth in the naturally-derived segment is expected to reach nearly four percent CAGR through 2013, and the leading product in the segment is alkyl polyglucoside (APG) which is manufactured from plant-derived materials such as vegetable oils and starch.

Specialty emollients and conditioning proteins are some of the most widely used ingredients in personal care, and are seeing a strong shift away from animal-based to plant-derived ingredients for skin and hair products.

Naturally-derived products hold over 50 percent of the market share in emollients, whereas for conditioners the market share of plant-derived products stands at more than 60 percent.

Ibbotson highlights Croda and Cognis as the market leaders in conditioning protein supply, however despite their broader acceptance, botanical proteins remain less economical to produce leading many manufacturers to consider fish-based proteins as possible alternatives.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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