Advancing the cosmetic industry with Gaia Tech’s upcycling innovation

Advancing the cosmetic industry with Gaia Tech’s upcycling innovation

Gaia Tech’s Co-Founders Enrico Tenaglia and Claudio Reinhard in the laboratory, where they are creating a portfolio of valuable ingredients out of neglected food byproducts. After a rigorous research period, Gaia Tech is starting collaborations with industry partners.

The startup Gaia Tech upcycles agrifood byproducts into useful ingredients for the cosmetic industry, addressing the growing demand for sustainable products.

The best antioxidant technology we have tested so far.”

— Senior researcher in the cosmetics industry

BERN, SWITZERLAND, January 23, 2024 / — The quest for effective and sustainable ingredients remains constant in an otherwise fast-moving cosmetic industry. The startup Gaia Tech is making use of food byproducts to create top-performing ingredients that align with the industry’s need to respond to growing consumer and regulatory pressure for sustainability.

The cosmetic industry is in a transformative phase

Consumers are placing increasing value on sustainability and naturalness. The regulatory requirements for ingredients in industrial products are also tightening. The cosmetics industry is increasingly looking for so-called “clean label ingredients” – additives that are not only effective, but also environmentally friendly and harmless to the body. This development is part of a wider trend towards greater transparency and responsibility towards the environment and consumers. However, the startup Gaia Tech’s emerges from a very different background.

A startup pioneering a circular extraction process

Peels, pulp, pomace, pits, shells, hulls, skins, seeds and other food byproducts are often a burden for producers and need to be disposed of at a cost. Gaia Tech’s founder Claudio Reinhard saw with his own eyes how large quantities of olive oil production residues cause environmental problems in Spain. Back at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, he developed a process to extract high-quality antioxidants from the olive pomace. The innovative treatment begins with the separation of the solid and liquid components of the olive pomace. The liquid part is then passed through a specially developed biosorbent material, which absorbs the antioxidants. The absorber is made of a fully biodegradable material and can be used several times before being applied as agricultural fertilizer at the end of its life cycle. In the last step, the antioxidant extract is purified in order to be incorporated into industrial products.

The industry has a strong demand for natural antioxidants

The startup’s first product, an olive antioxidant extract, is currently being tested by leading industrial partners for diverse applications, from anti-aging cosmetics to natural food preservation. A researcher from the cosmetics industry says that Gaia Tech has “the best antioxidant technology they have tested so far”. Preparations for market entry are in full swing, analytical trials are being launched in cosmetics, and the startup is also submitting an EFSA dossier for use in food.

Exploring the power of innovative upcycled ingredients

Distributors and manufacturers wanting to start or expand their upcycled portfolio are a great match for the startup. Following a successful spin-off from ETH Zurich, Gaia Tech has closed a first financing round and secured support from the Migros Pioneer Fund, Innosuisse, the Bern Economic Development Agency and the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL. The company aims to expand its product range and scale the technology to other types of agrifood byproducts, to fully support the industry in substituting synthetic and fossil ingredients. The team is excited to become a trusted partner in the transformative years ahead and elaborate innovative ingredients from bio-based sources.

For any questions contact us at [email protected] and feel free to access and download further pictures and logos in the media kit folder.

Samuel Bühlmann
Gaia Tech AG
+41 78 714 06 75
[email protected]
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Gaia Tech’s Co-Founder Claudio Reinhard about the importance of upcycling agricultural sidestreams into ingredients for cosmetic and food products.

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