Going local and natural
Europe is a world leader in the cosmetics industry, which is valued €80 billion at retail sales, and the continent has a growing nutraceutical sector, expected to be around €216 billion in 2025 (any food substance that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease). However, most bioactive compounds found in cosmetics and nutraceuticals are imported from Asia and therefore have a high carbon footprint while also lacking traceability. In the last few years, there has been an increasing demand from consumers for natural-based products - while a lot of them are still synthesised - as well as for locally sourced ingredients which increase safety and quality. With the financial support of Interreg North-West Europe (NWE), AgriWasteValue addressed this need by relying on the untapped potential of North-West Europe’s arboriculture and viticulture (the cultivation of trees and grapes). The project has worked on valorising apples, pears, and wine tree residues available in the area. Biomass molecules are extracted, first to be used in the cosmetics and nutraceuticals sectors, then targeting the wider agricultural sector, as well the chemicals and energy sectors.