Coffee cup to cosmetics: Colombian company introduces coffee cherry ingredient with big protective claims

By Ravyn Cullor

- Last updated on GMT

A Colombian company has developed an upcycled botanical antioxidant ingredient with strong third-party data. © Getty Images - DustyPixel
A Colombian company has developed an upcycled botanical antioxidant ingredient with strong third-party data. © Getty Images - DustyPixel

Related tags Botanical extracts Antioxidant anti-aging upcycled ingredients protective beauty blue light protection Pollution

While the fruit from a coffee tree is an antioxidant-rich superfood, it’s often discarded. A Colombian company has turned that waste into an ingredient with protective claims.

Colombian company Sanam has partnered with US based Flora Reserve to bring their antioxidant ingredient Naox Derma​ to the beauty industry. While the ingredient has already entered the supplement space internationally, Flora Reserve Managing Director Jeff Avila said it has huge potential in cosmetics.

Naox Derma is a coffee cherry extract derived from the pulp of the fruit, which is normally discarded, and among its cosmetics’ benefits claims are anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties and blue light protection, among others. Avila said he sees the ingredient going into a broad spectrum of personal care items, including creams and serums.

Coffee waste problem made upcycling opportunity

Leonardo Torres Solis, CEO of Sanam, said for every kilogram of coffee beans produced there is the equivalent weight of 5.6 adults of waste produced every day. With Colombia as one of the top coffee producers in the world, he said the environmental impact of coffee production was front and center.

Many companies began to research potential uses for the coffee production waste, like in alcohol and gas and oil. Torres Solis said Sanam saw an opportunity to concentrate the pulp of the superfood into an antioxidant ingredient, which they first sold in the supplement market and are now pivoting to personal care.

“Using the coffee cherry was not only innovative in terms of the final product … but also what that concentrate can do in the industry,”​ he said. “If you make that type of innovation but you don’t have something commercial to do with that, your problem is not really solved.”

Sanam also selected the cherry pulp and process in a order to benefit coffee growers and reduce negative impacts on them, Torres Solis and Sanam International Sales Director Adriana Páez Lozano said.

In the process of producing coffee beans, Torres Solis said growers discard around 60% of the plant. By selling the cherries to be used in Sanam’s ingredient, Torres said they’re able to diversify their income without having to make major changes to their operations.

Páez Lozano also said by using pulp, as opposed to a whole cherry, farmers also don’t have move closer to the city or change their process too much.

While the company has a patent on the ingredient and process in Colombia, the US and Europe, Torres Solis said this use of coffee cherries could be implemented in any coffee producing country, like Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Brazil.

Effective antioxidant and protective ingredient, data shows

According to third-party data presented with Naox Derma, the ingredient may be significantly more effective than some other botanicals and synthetics.

The research said Naox Derma has 80-90% more antioxidant activity than blueberries, pomegranates and grapes and has five times more polyphenol than green tea and grapes.

It was also tested as a protective ingredient, showing higher blue light protection than Retinol and Coenzyme 10, almost doubling ROS reduction from Retinol after 90 minutes.

Regarding urban dust protection, Naox Derma doubled ROS reduction at an hour compared to Retinol and Coenzyme 10 and maintained that lead through three hours.

“Consumers have the idea that naturals, while good and natural, don’t perform as well as synthetic anti-aging actives … but we’re going to demonstrate botanicals actually can beat synthetics,”​ Avila said.

Avila also said brands which advertise botanical usage often use them in small quantities to maintain a pure white color in their product. While Naox Derma is a rich brown, Flora Reserve demonstrated at NYSCC Suppliers’ Day the color fades into skin easily and can be used at higher concentrations.

Sanam also intentionally kept the ingredient very simple so it can be easily used and has many stories from a marketing perspective, Torres Solis said. The ingredient is a botanical and has strong efficacy data, but also has positive environmental and social impacts, he said.

Formulations likely wont have to be changed much and new machinery or processes wont have to be implemented, Torres Solis said. Naox Derma can also be used in water and oil formulations, Avila said.

Páez Lozano said they also kept the ingredient simple so as to be more transparent.

“When you talk about natural people still think that there is something inside, something we’re not telling, are we’re telling everything,”​ she said. “For us, it’s important to say that really, it’s 100% natural, and coming back to what is natural for us, which is very pure.”

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