The new foaming technology does not require dissolved or liquefied gases such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or even carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide as the foam is formed simply with compressed air or nitrogen.
Traditionally, a VOC, typically propane and/or butane, is liquefied inside an aerosol can together with a foaming agent and the solution to be dispensed. There has been concern over VOCs due to risks of respiratory problems and also environmental damage, and this has led to regulation in Europe and the US.
"Our technology provides an environmentally-friendly alternative that will enable companies to get ahead of the impending legislation and gain first-mover advantage," says Mark Nicmanis, senior technologist at Cambridge Consultants.
“PET bottles typically cost half as much to produce as aluminum cans. And on top of the environmental benefits of doing away with VOCs, PET bottles can be recycled and have half the environmental impact of aluminum cans.”
As well as having a lower cost than traditional products, they can still be manufactured on a standard aerosol production line, explains Nicmanis.
Transform the segment
The new technology could also transform the aesthetics of shaving foams and hair mousse, as the removal of VOCs means rigid aluminum aerosol cans can be replaced with low-cost PET bottles in a range of shapes and sizes.
The patent pending solution also allows smaller and more consistent air bubbles to give a creamy texture and enhance the sensory experience, as well as opening up avenues to foam other cosmetics products such as make-up or moisturisers.
“It gives us the ability to foam things that are traditionally difficult to foam - like foundation cream - giving FMCG companies the opportunity to differentiate in crowded markets,” continues Nicmanis.
“Dermal delivery - the delivery of active ingredients through the skin - is another area we are exploring. Foams have great potential for this as they don't run and they make it easy to distribute small amounts of high-value actives very evenly."