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These Two Uncommon Scents Were Created Through Upcycling

Food waste allows us to create uncommon experiences. For over 130 years we’ve put science and artistry to work to create the unique and unexpected scents, tastes and ingredients for the products our world craves. At IFF, we view food waste as a resource to not only create other food products (as we do in our POWDERPURE division, for example) but as input for other applications too – including fragrance ingredients.


As part of our environmentally conscious and vertically integrated supply chains around the world, our agronomy and operations experts at LMR Naturals by IFF have developed the Upcycling Collection – a scent portfolio that utilizes several types of waste: Harvest byproducts, such as seeds; spent extraction material, such as pulp; or side streams from processing facilities, such as wastewater.


Two examples from our Collection provide insight into how we are creating closed-loop systems by re-imagining how to better utilize typically discarded resources.


Upcycling Turmeric


What a wonderful vision to see a turmeric field during the summer in India. Surrounded by tall, green leaves, you feel as if you are in the middle of a botanical sea. Pinching the top of a leaf confirms your first impression: fragrant, fresh and sparkling. Months later, the leaves will be dry, concentrating their essential oil, ready for harvest.


Turmeric is a raw material conventionally sourced by the food industry solely for the curcumin contained in its roots. Yet the process to extract curcumin yields side streams that still contain all the aromatic parts of the turmeric spice. In collaboration with NESSO, our turmeric manufacturing partner in India, we are now utilizing every part of the plant, leaving no waste in the supply chain. As a result, our Turmeric Leaf Oil India LMR – characterized by peppery, zesty and fresh notes – is made by recovering and distilling the leaves of the turmeric plant, a harvest side stream that would normally be left for composting or burning.


To create upcycled scent ingredients from the turmeric plant, we utilize side streams from both the root harvesting and curcumin production processes.


In addition, our Turmeric Root UltimateTM Extract MD LMR – with spicy, woody and fruity notes – utilizes raw material side streams from the curcumin production chain that would otherwise be discarded.


And for the first time, turmeric farmers are now able to sell leaves in addition to roots, adding new value to their business. With their support, LMR and NESSO are optimizing the drying process and harvesting time to recover the freshest fragrances with minimal waste.

Learn more by watching our upcycled turmeric harvest video.


Upcycling Cinnamon


Elsewhere in the world – Madagascar – we work with our local partner, Jacarandas, to harvest cinnamon, a familiar and spicy aroma that inevitably evokes feelings of warmth. Through this collaboration, we are committed to delivering a fair return and providing resources for the local, family-run estates we work with. We also seek ways to reduce the waste and environmental impact of the production process.


For example, through research and development efforts, our scientists realized we could reuse the aromatic, traditionally discarded wastewater from cinnamon bark distillation and combine it with the essential oil to create Cinnamon Essential™, a new, higher-quality extract.


During the distillation process, steam is injected into tanks containing carefully collected cinnamon bark, and the essential oil is carried by the steam to the top of the still where it condenses back to liquid form and decants in a Florentine Flask. We also recover, dry and reuse spent bark dregs to fuel the distillation boiler, thereby reducing waste and contributing to a lighter environmental footprint.



Since 2015, LMR Naturals by IFF has been reusing the fragrant wastewater left over from the cinnamon bark distillation process to create an enhanced extract with a stronger woody and cinnamic character than traditional bark oil.


Watch the process in action in this video.



Sustainable Innovation


Our purpose demands more. We focus on impact, outcomes, and doing more good in real, tangible ways. Since its inception, LMR Naturals by IFF has been anchored in pioneering natural, sustainable ingredients. Upcycling is a pillar of our research and development strategy and the extension of a mindset in which we are focused on more than just what oils can be extracted from a plant. Vegetal inputs are precious commodities that must be maximally utilized (with waste eliminated wherever possible), and, when combined with the expertise of several industries, can bring a range of benefits to people and planet. From scents and cosmetics to food products and systems, we believe the possibilities for upcycling within our naturals business and across IFF are endless.


To explore other upcycling examples and understand how this approach fits into our broader sustainability strategy at IFF, visit us iff.com/sustain and check out our recently released 2019 Sustainability Report.


Author Bios:


Elisabeth Campana is a Senior Marketing Manager at LMR Naturals by IFF, based in Grasse, France, where she uses her scientific background in chemical engineering to transform research insights into engaging sustainability storytelling. She brings her rich experience in the luxury beauty and natural aromatic ingredients industries – as well as a passion for cultivating wellbeing through aromatherapy and natural cosmetics – to make an impact through marketing strategy and implementation.



Sophie Palatan is a R&D Crop Science Development Manager at LMR Naturals by IFF, based in Grasse, France, where she leads several partnerships to develop more sustainable supply chains and innovate ingredients from botanicals. As an agronomist, she travels internationally to be in the fields of Turkey, Haiti or India, for example, to meet the farmers cultivating precious plants. In this way, she creates bridges between two interdependent worlds that may not always speak the same language: Farmers on one side and perfumers or flavorists on the other.


At IFF, we’re using Uncommon Sense to create what the world needs. As a collective of unconventional thinkers and creators, we put science and artistry to work to create unique and unexpected scents, tastes, experiences and ingredients for the products our world craves.

Reach us at sustainability@iff.com and learn more at: iff.com, Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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