Sustainability and transparency have never been more important to consumers, and this applies across a range of sectors and countries. According to Nielsen, nearly three quarters (73%) of American food consumers are willing to change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. In Brazil, 54% of shoppers say they purchase sustainable or environmentally friendly goods because they don’t like waste. And in Spain 74% of beauty and personal care consumers are concerned that the ingredients used in natural products are not sustainable.
This has led to a new 'blue beauty' movement, with consumers encouraged to focus on the impact of harmful chemicals and packaging on marine ecosystems. With topical skincare products such as sunscreen strongly implicated in damage to coral reefs, the ingestible skincare sector can tap into the growing demand for blue beauty, and environmental awareness more generally.
However, doing so requires companies to put sustainability at the center of everything they do. The organisers of Vitafoods Europe were absolutely right to point out that “the move towards true circularity requires a monumental shift across the entire nutraceutical product lifecycle—from ingredient to shelf—and can only be made possible by collaboration across the entire supply chain.”
At Lycored, we’ve always taken the view that we need to make the best possible use of everything nature gives us. We’re committed to vertical integration from seed to sale, as well as extensive research and development to identify minimal waste solutions. It’s not good enough to offer ingredients that are functional and competitive—they should offer consumers peace of mind as well as taste, texture, or wellness benefits.
Our starting point for many of our nutrition and wellness products, as well as our range for food and beverages, is the humble tomato. From seed to final product, we adopt a holistic philosophy. In fact it was partly because we wanted to use as much as possible from each tomato that we launched a dedicated commercial division to support the development of our Real Food Ingredients line.
By owning each step in our farming and production processes, we are able to account for every detail and guarantee the utmost safety, sustainability, and efficacy. The journey begins at our farms and facilities. From there, we extract nutrient-rich oleoresin from tomatoes, taking care to protect its natural structure for wellness indications, including skincare and suncare benefits.
However, the oleoresin we extract accounts for just 5% of the composition of tomatoes, which—just like humans—are mostly water. Oleoresin is used in wellness products such as our hero innovation Lycomato, while we use the rest of the fruit from the oleoresin stage to create products that can give a variety of food applications a natural upgrade. Our Real Food range can help manufacturers reduce salt and sugar content, replace artificial flavor enhancers like MSG, and boost taste. Throughout the process, we are committed to the minimisation of waste. For example, tomatoes that don’t offer sufficiently high nutritional value are turned into animal feed. So are the vines on which our tomatoes grow. Even the peels and seeds of our tomatoes are re-purposed post-harvest.
Minimal waste and transparency go hand-in-hand, which is why we want to show the world how we farm our tomatoes. Ahead of this year’s Earth Day, we set up a live “earthcam” that offers a window on the fields where we grow our golden tomatoes. Ultimately, we look after nature because it provides for us. It’s not our job to disrupt it, but to watch, listen and grow where it leads. While we’ve done a lot, we’re just getting started on our journey. The movement towards sustainability is a lifelong process that depends on a desire to improve constantly.