Berkem invests in vegetal extract capabilities

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Investment, Cosmetics

In an effort to maintain growth during the downturn Berkham is refocusing its business to concentrate on vegetal extracts for the cosmetics and food industry.

The fine chemicals player says it is making further investments to develop and market products for both cosmetic and food formulation in core growth areas through the sale of one of its divisions.

In early 2008 the company sold its Actif Innovants business to another French ingredients company Naturex for an undisclosed sum.

Investing in manufacturing equipment

The sale enabled the Gardonne-based company to set aside €100,000 to invest in a new drying and mixing workshop, which in turn will enable it to comply with food safety manufacturing standards.

“The Berkem team wishes to support our industrial clients and scientists on more ambitious projects in the future, in spite of the current delicate economic environment,“​ said company CEO Olivier Fahy.

The company says its research and development team are currently in the latter stages of creating a number of new product innovations, which will see it register 10 new patents during the course of 2009 – 2010.

Pine Bark and Grape Seed extracts

Berkam has established a name for itself in the cosmetics field through the development of antioxidant rich extracts derived from Pine Bark and Grape Seed.

One of its leading cosmetic ingredients is Berkemyol, which is made from grape seed extract and is said to be rich in antioxidants that make it appropriate for a range of anti-aging products.

Currently half of the company’s €11.25m annual turnover is derived from overseas markets, where it is hoped that further future expansion is likely to be concentrated.

Tapping into botanicals growth

Vegetal extraction, which encompasses the botanicals category, is one of the cosmetic industry’s biggest growth areas, because it falls in line with the consumer trend for naturally-derived products.

A recent report from market researchers Kline pointed out that botanical active ingredients are leading the market in specialty active ingredients worldwide.

According to Kline, market growth of botanical actives stands at 8.0 percent, ahead of 5.4 percent average growth for other specialty actives, such as marine ingredients, proteins and peptides, and enzymes, said the market research company.

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