Interview with Hagen Döring, Area Sales Manager, Provital
Hagen Döring , Area Sales Manager
Consumers globally demand more sustainable products. How is Provital meeting this demand?
The answer to this question is much more complex than you may think. Simply because there is no clear definition of “sustainable products”. The VKE conducted a survey regarding sustainability in cosmetics in Germany in 2020, and the results really made me think: 65 % of respondents asked for cosmetic products that have been produced without animal testing and 63 % wanted that products get formulated without hazardous ingredients. When you digest these answers the conclusion can only be that our industry must become more transparent.
But beyond that you can find many ways to formulate sustainable products – may it be that you follow the guideline of a natural cosmetics label (e.g. Natrue or Cosmos), may it be that you prefer ingredients from local suppliers, organic ingredients, lab grown ingredients or ingredients from circular economy – at Provital we have products for all of these concepts.
Can you tell us more about circular economy at Provital?
We love the concept of circular economy - from two aspects: on the one hand we make sure that our waste material gets re-used. 70 % of our manufacturing waste is managed in accordance with the principles of the circular economy. It means that part of Provital’s waste production undergoes specific aerobic organic processing (composting), giving new life to some of our plant waste derived from the production of our active ingredients. In this way, the plant used to produce the active ingredient, once extracted, goes on to form part of the mixture of waste that Provital uses to produce compost for farming.
And on the other hand we want to consider more often the use of waste material for the production of new cosmetic ingredients such as our latest launch Pomarage™ for which we have used apple pomace.
What were some reasons Provital chose apple pomace?
Firstly, because they are known around the world to be synonymous with health – you know the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, right? And in fact their consumption has many times been associated with the reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular diseases, asthma and diabetes. Secondly, we have chosen apple pomace because of the apple’s known cosmetic activities such as anti-aging and whitening properties, UVB protection and lipolytic effect. And last but not least, because the “upcycling” of this fruit is now a necessity. Recent data indicates that 40 % of fruits and vegetables are thrown away every year, and apples are one of the mostly widely eaten and used fruits, generating millions and millions of tonnes of food waste. Spain alone produces more than half a million tonnes of apples each year, 25-30 % of which becomes waste material, with the main by-products being the flesh and skin (95%), seeds (2-4%) and stalks (1%).
You talk about agro-cosmetic symbiosis. What is this?
Well, even though we have active ingredients that are developed from lab grown materials (e.g. stem-cell ingredients) the vast majority of our products is made from naturally grown plants. But when you want to launch a product with the concept of circular economy you need to find a producer of the waste material you are looking for. Thanks to the support of the Agència de Residus de Catalunya (Waste Agency of Catalonia), Provital has been able to find the right partner.
Mooma® is a family-run, local artisan supplier in Girona (Spain), based just a few miles from Provital. With over 50 years’ experience in the fruit-growing sector, they are the third generation of the family to dedicate themselves to apple growing in the Empordà region. It was not until 2016, after 4 years of research, that they sold their first cider. Their cider is made by following a careful apple-selection process, with all apples coming from the company’s own orchards located just down the road (Km-zero). This means that, with a top-quality local raw material, passion, love and dedication, they offer the best of the earth’s tastes and aromas in their products, with cider being the star of the show.
And we have used the pomace from that production to produce our new cosmetic active – perfect symbiosis!
What are your claims for Pomarage™?
To understand the ingredient’s efficacy, we studied the effects of Pomarage™ on the expression of certain genes involved in the structure of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and therefore on skin health. The results revealed that Pomarage™ increases the expression of genes involved in collagen biosynthesis and in the organisation of collagen fibres and other components of the ECM, such as elastin. In addition, it contributes to reducing inflammatory processes and cellular senescence. This way Pomarage™ helps to strengthen the ECM, redensifies the dermis and provides a healthier connective tissue.
Which marketing opportunities do you suggest?
There are different ways to position products containing an ingredient like this. In my opinion Pomarage™ is an homage to nature and a tribute to nature's life cycles. And consumers are turning to simplicity and perceived value, seeking true relevance that instils the notion of optimal quality, as well as social and environmental purpose. This involves re-establishing the value of offering more purposeful solutions, simpler brand messaging, more transparency and efficacy given the sensitivity to a more “rationalised” consumer mentality with regards to consumption. Pomarage™ gives marketeers the option to create a simple but effective message due to its well-known origin - the apple - the purpose it fulfils - circular beauty - and its clear efficacy on health and good skin condition.