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Will native ingredients take the pharmaceutical, beauty and nutraceutical industries by storm?

Lisa Carroll -

Only in the past decade have we witnessed unprecedented research and manufacturing of the potent natural compounds found in our native botanicals. These ingredients, presented in various formats, have expanded markets beyond the traditional bushfood industry, offering unique imagery and captivating narratives.

The global cosmetic industry has enthusiastically embraced the Kakadu Plum as a source of natural vitamin C and is becoming increasingly familiar with other botanicals and their role in product development.

Over the past ten years, we have experienced exponential growth in the global demand for functional, plant-based ingredient solutions in the beauty, cosmetic, and wellness sectors. This trend shows indications of extending to new categories, such as the nutraceutical and phyto-pharmaceutical industries.

With a significant shift from synthetic to potent sources of natural compounds, improved access to scientific data and a stronger connection to the source, Australian native botanical ingredients are emerging as powerful players poised to take the industry by storm.

Our botanicals have already influenced a global cosmetic trend known as A-Beauty (Australian Beauty), which encapsulates unique botanical heroes, promotes our pristine environment, and and more recently greater connection to the supply chain as consumer's buying behaviours demand greater transparency, traceability, science, responsible and eco-conscious manufacturing practices and ethical supply chains that have a positive impact on people and the planet.

With the global botanical industry projected to reach a staggering USD$90 billion by 2030, it is evident that this trend is far from insignificant and that we are only at the beginning. This presents an enormous opportunity for First Nation growers, brands, ingredient manufacturers, and researchers to participate, collaborate, and acquire market share in these industries.

This potential economic growth not only benefits regional and remote areas but also underscores the importance of inclusivity and collaboration in leading global supply chains for native botanicals. By expanding primary industries and leveraging scientific advancements to transform botanicals into valuable ingredients such as extracts, essential oils, and vegetable oils, we can broaden export markets and create opportunities for positive socio-economic outcomes on the ground where it is needed.

NATIVE EXTRACTS has revolutionised botanical extracts through a unique extraction process, resulting in an unparalleled collection of plant profiles (natural molecules), with a focus on Australian native botanicals. This data was publicly shared to encourage further innovation and enable growers to revalue their crops and diversify their markets. As a result, these botanicals gained value beyond their use as food and found applications in cosmetics, phyto-pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, wellness, beverages, and other industries.

Collaborating with and expanding the supply network of First Nation growers has always been a fundamental aspect of NATIVE EXTRACTS' mission. There is still much work to be done.

The cosmetic industry holds tremendous influence and serves as a platform for new stories and transformative change. With the rise of First Nation commercial growers, historically underrepresented in the primary industry, we now see diversification beyond traditional food services, accessing new analytics that revalue crops, building partnerships and expanding into new industries.

Consumer demand for natural ingredients has led to a greater emphasis on transparency and ethical sourcing in plant-based skincare and wellness solutions. NATIVE EXTRACTS facilitates connections between small and large brands, such as Colgate Palmolive, and their First Nation growers, including Pundi Produce, Mayi Harvests, and Newchurch Family Farms. This goes beyond the ingredient, as evidenced by their collaboration on the Palmolive Skin Food range.

The supporting scientific data and ability to harness natural molecules in an ingredient format that is safe and with long shelf life, is crucial for establishing and delivering the value of these species to the cosmetic market. Ultimately, it will lead to increased demand from growers to scale up production, as well as markets to participate in as brand owners.

Innovative processes like NATIVE EXTRACTS' Cellular Extraction, which preserves the natural entourage of essential nutrients, can significantly influence global product development.

For example, Finger Lime is featured in eczema creams, and Kakadu Plum extract delivers the natural vitamin C molecule, a breakthrough launched in 2013. This molecule plays a vital role in cosmetic and wellbeing applications, and we have already witnessed the growth of this primary industry. Other high-value native botanicals are expected to follow suit.

There is an incredible groundswell of opportunity for First Nation people to establish retail beauty brands, botanical produce companies, co-ops, and ingredient manufacturing enterprises over the next decade to take the cosmetic industry storm!

This is just the beginning. There is still much work to be done in terms of scientific advancements, creating demand and expanding markets for growers to scale up to, developing inclusive supply chains, establishing value-add partnerships, and leveraging access to industry sectors, to support true socio-economic change on the ground that is self-determining, growing local economies, and building pathways for industry, research and participation.

Plant science holds the key to solving human health, beauty, and wellness problems, and our native botanicals have something significant to offer.

The science will undoubtedly prove their value.

Image: Lisa Carroll, CEO NATIVE EXTRACTS

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