Who could have imagined that orange peels would become the unlikely stars in the creation of mascara and scented candles? The potential, however, extends far beyond these applications. Exploration and experimentation are the keys to unveiling such possibilities. In light of this, PeelPioneers has embarked on an exciting collaboration with De Monchy International. Both companies, driven by a shared commitment to innovation, are taking tangible steps towards sustainability, a journey that demands courage and a pioneering spirit.
Alessandra Burgers, Product Manager at De Monchy International, and Florence Span, Food Application Specialist at PeelPioneers, work closely together to develop and market the natural fiber found in orange peels. “PeelPioneers can extract fibers from orange peels,” says Alessandra, “and thanks to our knowledge and experience with raw materials in the processing industry, we can find customers for products made with these fibers.”
Florence sheds light on what makes orange peels so remarkable: “Our expertise lies in
upcycling citrus peels, with a particular focus on citrus fiber, our primary ingredient.
Common perception often dismisses peels as unusable, being too wet for burning and too
acidic for fermentation. That’s why, nearly six years ago, we began collecting orange peels from various locations across the Netherlands. Through our exploration, we’ve uncovered the high value of peels, extracting orangeade, orange oil, d-limonene, and citrus fiber. Our ongoing efforts involve diving into more possibilities, including extracting coloring agents.”
While the collaboration is an exciting journey of discovery, both companies are not embarking on this adventure recklessly. It fits completely within the strategy of De Monchy International, as Alessandra explains: “Our partnership is built on shared values and vision. We want to contribute to a sustainable future and are fully committed to it. Erik Colstee, our Sustainable Product Manager, discovered PeelPioneers in his search for suitable partners. The company is, after all, based in the same city where he lives. So, the contact was quickly established.” The attraction was mutual. Florence says, “We produce natural fibers but can, in turn, use a strong distributor with an existing network. So, when De Monchy International approached us, we were immediately enthusiastic.”
Cosmetics industry opportunities
The collaboration currently involves two specific products: Finix citrus fiber and Orange Wax. “We named the fiber Finix after the mythical Phoenix that rises from the ashes. We give a discarded but high-quality fiber a new future,” explains Florence. “Orange Wax is an untreated wax that spreads a delightful orange scent at a low melting temperature and is therefore perfect for a scented candle.” While Finix has proven itself in the food industry, it has not yet been used in the cosmetics industry, despite being highly suitable for it. “Within the cosmetics industry, we see opportunities because this industry invests a lot of time and money in replacing petroleum-based ingredients with natural ingredients,” says Alessandra.
Alessandra – De Monchy International
“Consumers are becoming more aware of what they consume and apply to their skin. Therefore, this is the perfect time for us to introduce Finix.”
With full energy, De Monchy International and PeelPioneers went to a cosmetics laboratory in Milan in January 2023. Three products were developed there, and Alessandra and Florence made a flying start at the In-Cosmetics Global fair in Barcelona. Visitors could touch, smell, and use the products themselves. Florence says, “Our story resonated with people, and there was a lot of enthusiasm for the products.” According to Alessandra, “Our customers are eager to test our Finix in their formulations. The initial feedback is positive. We see that you get a beautiful cream that feels soft and airy when you make an emulsion of it.”
The warm reception is truly motivating for both companies. They share a strong belief that the journey they’ve embarked on will yield positive outcomes. Beyond the thrill of innovating new products and venturing into unfamiliar markets, there’s a deeper significance. Florence emphasizes, “Our collaboration is the beginning of something that can become very big. With De Monchy International as our eyes and ears in the market, suddenly a lot more is possible. Together, we can really change the market.” Alessandra further notes, “In partnering with PeelPioneers, De Monchy International aims to shoulder responsibility within its sector and lead by example.”
Ultimately, both companies aim for a sustainable future. “Why should mascara contain nylon when it can be replaced by a natural fiber?” Alessandra rhetorically asks. The collaboration between De Monchy International and PeelPioneers is the natural answer to that question. An answer that, with the increasing emphasis on sustainability in the Cosmetics market, will resonate more and more.