One man’s trash is another man’s…face cream?

April 25, 2017
3 min read

Consumers globally are paying attention to corporate sustainability plans. Beauty brands can boost their sustainability credentials, especially with younger consumers, by sourcing ‘green materials’ from food waste. Processing plant and fruit throwaways has created new sources of antioxidants, antimicrobials and even anti-aging compounds that can be used in cosmetic products.


A consequence of the specialty coffee craze is the production of coffee waste, including spent coffee grounds, silver skin/husks and unused beans. Coffee waste houses natural antioxidant rich polyphenols, which are heralded for their photoaging-protective qualities, while spent coffee grounds are lauded exfoliators in DIY (do-it-yourself) skin and haircare products. Innovating with active ingredients, such as sugars and polyphenols, presents opportunities for brands to showcase their commitment to sustainability.

Olive oil

Commercial production of olive oil creates sizable biowaste in the form of mill waste water and olive pomace, both of which are rich in phenols/polyphenols. Olive mill waste water has also shown to produce broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity as it contains high levels of phenol hydroxytyrosol, which could provide longevity for skincare formulas. Brands can tap into the phenols/polyphenols from olive mill waste as an alternative source for ‘actives’ and a greener brand image, which will resonate with younger consumers.

Probiotic-fermented food waste

One quarter of US iGens want to trial fermented ingredients in skincare products
Probiotics continue to expand their health message beyond the gut, to skin. One in four US consumers use facial products that contain probiotic microorganisms, with this number rising among Millennials, according to Mintel’s Facial Skincare and Anti-Aging US 2016 report. Similarly, one quarter of US iGens want to trial fermented ingredients in skincare products.

Linking probiotics and fermentation together will entice younger consumers to trial these products. The addition of food waste derivatives in leveraging healthy ingredients like amino acids, peptides and antioxidants will only draw more attention from these consumers.

Cellulose from citrus peel

The microbead ban has extended across the globe and brands are actively searching for effective, environmentally-friendly substitutes. Jojoba beads and cellulose have appeared as biodegradable alternatives in exfoliating facial and bodycare launches over the last few years. Global launches of facial exfoliating products with cellulose have increased from just 1.7% in 2014 to 4.3% in 2016, according to Mintel Global New Product Database (GNPD).

Cellulose from citrus peel offers brands the opportunity to use natural sugar polymers to mildly exfoliate skin. This ingredient is safe for both people and the environment, and fits into the carbon-reduction espoused by younger consumers.

David Tyrrell is a Global Skincare Analyst, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel. He provides analysis of consumer skincare needs and behaviors, ingredient and product assessments and competitive insights that impact business interests of skincare companies across the globe.

David Tyrrell
David Tyrrell

David Tyrrell is Global Skincare Analyst at Mintel. He analyzes consumer skincare needs and behaviors, ingredient and product assessments and competitive insights.

More from Mintel
  • Mintel Store
    Mintel Store
    Get smart fast with our exclusive market research reports, delivering the latest data, innovation, trends and strategic recommendations....
    View reports
  • Mintel Leap
    Mintel Leap is a revolutionary new AI-powered platform that will transform your research process....
    Book a demo
Subscribe to Mintel Spotlight
Related articles
May 3, 2024
Head over to Mintel’s LinkedIn to let us know what you think of today’s episode, and visit to become a member of our free Spotlight community.
April 29, 2024
At-home hair colouring remains one of the most persistent hair colour trends in India. It is the preferred choice for the majority of Indian consumers, with over half opting to…
March 19, 2024
A celebration of innovation and the very best of new beauty, personal care and household product development.

Download the Latest Market Intelligence