Univar lifts the lid on its approach to getting beauty formulation right

By Cassandra Stern & Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

© Luka / Getty Images
© Luka / Getty Images

Related tags Formulation

The relationship between brands and ingredient companies is a crucial part of the ultimate goal for everyone involved in the supply chain - giving consumers exactly what they are looking for in a beauty product.

Leading ingredients player Univar Solutions considers its working relationship with beauty brands to be of vital importance in achieving this goal and consequently focuses a great deal of its efforts into forming a close working relationship with the manufacturers.

Tom Flately, Global Brand Manager for Univar Solutions, explains about how this process works and the role it plays in making the supply chain run smoothly, as well as discussing some of the challenges and how they are resolved. 

CosmeticsDesign-USA: What role does an ingredient manufacturer and supplier like Univar Solutions play in helping brands formulate end-stage products for consumer use?

Tom Flately: Ingredient manufacturers and distributors play a massive role in supporting brands in formulating. Just as there are new brands launching every day in the beauty industry, so is new technology to help those brands stand out. Brands consult with their ingredient suppliers- like Univar Solutions,-to better understand what cutting edge technology has been launched when working on a new brief. The more information that the supplier has regarding your must haves and key claims, the more likely we’ll be able to suggest the right ingredients to make the finished product deliver what you are looking for.

CDU: How does an ingredient manufacturer and supplier like Univar Solutions support brands with their supply chain needs?

TF: Univar Solutions is uniquely poised to help brands carry their ideas from concept through to commercialization. Through our Brands Concierge team, we are able to map utilization by raw ingredients across all contract manufacturers and work with our local sales team to ensure forecasting and orders are aligned. We continuously help brands grow beyond their current comfort zone. Most emerging brands only have a limited understanding of their forecast by raw ingredient. Our brands team can help build out a rolling forecast by raw ingredient and help pinpoint trouble points that require additional focus. Every brand is at a different stage regarding supply chain, and Univar Solutions can offer support no matter where you are on your journey.

CDU: How does an ingredient manufacturer and supplier like Univar Solutions aid brands in the product formulation process to select the best fit ingredients to meet consumer demand and solve common challenges currently facing the cosmetics and personal care product industries?

TF: It’s the level of resources and the level of partnership that we offer that is unparalleled. We can begin as early as the ideation phase, reviewing market trends and intelligence to offer a white space analysis of the industry and your brands unique product offering. This will help you better understand the types of gaps in the current market to better suit your brand for growth.

We have our global Solution Centers that can develop a custom formulation based off any brief, timeline, and desired cost per unit. We also can connect brands with respected, reputable contract manufacturers that meet your requirements, and we can monitor utilization at the site to ensure forecast and safety stock are ample enough to support your anticipated and unanticipated growth.

CDU: What are some of the most pressing challenges currently facing brands regarding product formulation, research, and development? What solutions have been developed and implemented to best address these issues?

TF: How to stand out among the competition becomes harder every year for beauty brands. We see an escalating increase in brands launching new products making it difficult to not only secure shelf space, but to stay relevant after your initial launch. It’s hard enough to have a product that takes off, but how do you make that a repeatable process? How do you grow with your consumer base in a way that creates compounding success? I’ve found even the best brands in the market can be reluctant to step out of their comfort zone. Some may second guess a line expansion or think the supply chain is beyond their reach. We’re here to calm those nerves and help brands truly reach their full potential.

That’s the beauty of working with a distributor. We have a holistic view of the market. We are not specialized in a specific area or offering a single product line. We can offer a total solution to formulation. We can support the majority of ingredient list requests, building to meet specific timelines and lead times as well. It’s this in-depth tailoring that creates a support structure through Univar Solutions that you won’t find anywhere else. Your product launch is just the beginning, and we can help fit you with the tools needed to grow without setbacks.

CDU: What is your commitment to beauty brands?

TF: Just that we’re here for any brand - no matter the size. We’ve seen the struggles from startups all the way to multinational conglomerates, and we understand no matter your size your struggles are real. We want to be more than just an ingredient supplier. We want to be a trusted resource for your brand at each step along the way.

CDU: Does Univar Solutions have any plans for further innovation to better assist brands with their product design needs? If so, what are those plans?

TF: We are always looking for ways to improve our approach to supporting brands since it’s a fluid approach to sales. We’ve learned the most important thing is to be flexible in our offerings and make sure to listen to the customers on what’s important.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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