Healthier lifestyle

HappySoaps: Collaborating to create sustainable, plastic-free care products

Personal care and household chores products, such as hair products, soaps and detergents rely on functional ingredients to work effectively. These substances, for example to improve hair combability, are mostly produced by the petrochemical industry and create microplastics as a result. Cosun Biobased Experts is committed to replacing these products with better, plant-based alternatives. One of Biobased Experts' innovations, QUATIN®, has found its way into products in the HappySoaps brand. HappySoaps makes plastic-free and water-free cosmetics. We spoke to Sam van den Berg, Business Development Manager at Cosun Biobased Experts, and Sabine Vishnudatt, Product Developer for HappySoaps at Solid Matters B.V. about microplastics, soap bars and the collaboration between Biobased Experts and HappySoaps.
17 July 2023

Sam: “The use of microplastics in cosmetic and cleaning products is under pressure. That’s because these microplastics are being released into the environment via the products we use, where they’re impacting water quality and can potentially be found in humans and animals. Cosun Biobased Experts develops ingredients to reduce the use of petroleum-based products.” It was this common ambition, that brought Sam and Sabine together. Sabine: “We were looking for new ingredients for the HappySoaps products. I visited the Biobased Experts stand at the In-cosmetics trade show in Barcelona and discovered that QUATIN® had exactly what I needed for our shampoo bars.”

Better combability

QUATIN® is produced from Inulin, a substance that Sensus (part of the Royal Cosun group) extracts from chicory root. “Inulin is normally used in the food industry,” Sam explains. “We try to use as much of the Sensus Inulin that’s not suitable for human consumption as possible, and turn it into functional ingredients. This enables us to upcycle this raw material and so add more value to the supply chain.” In shampoos and conditioners, the product gives softer, more combable hair with a beautiful shine. Sabine can confirm this: “We had a panel of HappySoaps customers test a shampoo bar with and without QUATIN®, asking if they noticed a difference in combability. Nearly one in three noticed a significant difference. For changing just one ingredient, I think that’s a lot!”

Lightweight and local

Creating a product that works well is one thing, making an impact with it is another matter. The collaboration between HappySoaps and Biobased Experts is not only leading to a better product, it is also reducing CO2 emissions. “HappySoaps products contain no water. This means less weight and so lower impact for transportation,” Sabine explains. “Take traditional shampoo from a bottle as an example,” Sam adds. “Of the total product, 10-15% is an active ingredient, the rest is water.” Because HappySoaps products are made in the Netherlands, QUATIN® can also be used as a local ingredient. “Most of the chicory comes from Dutch growers,” Sam continues. “Everything is grown and produced within a 250 km radius. This further reduces transport miles, especially considering that competitive products mostly come from Asia.”

Highly soluble

The plastic-free and water-free trend offers a double opportunity for Biobased Experts. Sam: “We initially developed QUATIN® in liquid form. For many manufacturers, a liquid product works best in their process because of its solubility, for example. With the growing trend of shampoo bars, we developed a powder variant that, unlike alternative powders in the market, turned out to be very soluble.” Although this growing market is not yet very large, Sam sees potential in its future. “We’re delighted with HappySoaps as a pioneer. They have a strong story and are marketing a good product with greener ingredients.”

Sam van den Berg
We’re delighted with HappySoaps as a pioneer. They have a strong story and are marketing a good product with greener ingredients.”
Sam van den Berg
Business Development Manager at Cosun Biobased Experts

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