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Preservatives in focus: hunting for alternatives

By Lucy Whitehouse + , 09-May-2017

Preservatives in focus: hunting for alternatives

We look at the efforts the organisations and companies across the industry are making to keep up with the demand for effective and safe preservative ingredients.

Traditional preservatives used in a wide range of consumer products have come under increasing scrutiny over the previous few years for their impact on the environment, potential health hazards or sometimes both.

Phthalates, triclosan, and formaldehyde are among those preservatives that have attracted negative attention, due mainly to an increasing body of evidence suggesting that ingredients could pose specific health problems or have a negative impact on the environment.

With consumers increasingly demanding wide reaching ‘free-from’ claims on their cosmetics products in response, we consider the efforts being made across the supply chain to respond to the rising need for alternative preservatives.

Ingredients suppliers

Indeed, its an area where many ingredients developers and suppliers are investing. Lonza, for example, has just announced the launch of prototypes in its Geogard line in its preservative portfolio.

Symrise, another major ingredients player, has added two experienced cosmetic specialists as Senior Product Managers to the Product Protection Category, whose task so far has been working to ‘advance the area of alternative preservation’, according to the company.

Major competition

The Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) has launched an ongoing competition which looks to unearth alternative preserving ingredients, backed by various big industry names, including P&G, J&J, and the major US retailer Target.

In a clear sign that preservatives are big business for the industry, the prize money is set to reach up to USD 175,000, with between three and five categories offering a minimum prize award of USD 25,000 each.

The organizers state that the competition is open to:

  • broad-spectrum or single action chemical agents effective on gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, yeast and mold
  • preservative boosters
  • multi-functional ingredients with a primary non-preserving function, but enhance antimicrobial efficacy.

The sponsors say they are looking to partner with innovators to co-develop, license or invest in new technologies to speed them to market.

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