China is the world’s largest producer of licorice, and CosmeticsDesign previously reported that licorice root prices are rising as excess harvesting of the root puts pressure on supply.
According to Chinese licorice extracts manufacturer Beijing Gingko Group, prices for fresh roots from Western China this winter reached of RMB5.1 per kg, up from RMB3.8 per kg last year.
Demand puts pressure on price of licorice extract
Paul Reyntjens, corporate strategy officer at Beijing Gingko Group, says that as the root price is the most significant component in the finished product price, an increase in the root price will drive up extract prices.
If demand continues to rise, the harvest of licorice root is likely to remain jeopardized, meaning that its growing popularity as an active ingredient in cosmetic and personal care products could be curtailed.
Licorice has long been used as a natural whitening product,Mark Sysler, business Manager and VP of sales at Bio-Botanica told CosmeticsDesign.com USA, adding that the use of whitening products is now very popular in addressing concerns such as sun spots and age spots.
Additionally, German flavor and fragrance company Symrise notes that licorice’s anti-inflammatory, soothing and anti-bacterial properties makes the ingredient suitable for a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products such as skin care, hair care, body wash products and soap.
“Its properties enable cosmetics and personal care companies to claim anti-inflammation, soothing, caring, whitening, anti-bacterial, anti-bacterial and detoxifying effects of licorice within their products,” the company said.
Licorice finds demand in natural products
According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, 183 beauty and personal care products containing licorice were launched in 2010, compared to 38 in 2005. France leads the way with the largest number of licorice-containing product launches, with 286 products launched between 2005 and 2011.
As a natural product, licorice taps into demand from consumers for natural alternatives in their personal care products. Recent product launches include a softening facial mask from the Greek company NutraLead, a pomegranate-based product containing organic licorice that claims to hydrate and rejuvenate the skin.
The German brand Lavera Naturkosmetik recently launched a reformulated tinted moisturizer in the UK that contains licorice root extract and is NaTrue certified. Also in the UK, Witch Naturally Clear launched a skin clearing primer that in addition to witch hazel extract with astringent properties, contains licorice root extract to calm the skin.