iFarm builds medical herb indoor lab-farm test kitchen for cosmetics producer Capsum
29 Aug 2022 --- Capsum, a microfluidic cosmetics startup, leans on iFarm for developing a fully equipped lab to experiment with various growth recipes for their ingredients in a controlled environment. The indoor test kitchen also gives Capsum a year-round source of cosmetics ingredients and medicinal herbs that are “ecologically pure and pesticide-free” for developing new formulas.
“iFarm develops vertical farming technologies which include a special rack system (so the crops grow in six to eight layers and it saves land), advanced fertigation system to mix nutrients with a high precision and an IT-agronomist to manage the farm,” Timo Koljonen, vice president of sales at iFarm, tells PersonalCareInsights.
“The IT platform controls the whole system – turns the lights on and off, keeps the perfect climate, mixes nutrients (different for each crop and growth stage), forms tasks for farm teams and monitors the whole crop lifecycle, according to the special growth recipes.”
iFarm primarily uses two main growing methods: low-volume hydroponics and ebb and flow.
Cultivation of “clean” cosmetic ingredients
Using iFarm technologies, Capsum grows various crops, including microgreens and flowers. It also creates and tests its plant varieties based on iFarm plant growth recipes.
The iFarm Growtune software is used to manage the scientific mini-farm, giving Capsum the tools and data to optimize plant growth and maximize yields, thus eliminating the need for Capsum to be experts in farming, automation and hydroponics.
“Indoor growing is suitable for the beauty industry, as it allows us to cultivate in a fully controlled environment free from pesticides and harmful chemicals. iFarm’s technology fits the needs of our researchers since they can vary a wide range of parameters,” says Anthony Briot, Capsum CEO.
“Since it is a fully controlled environment, you know exactly what the plant is made from. There is no risk of a ‘bad season’ as the grow-on-demand yields are predictable and stable,” Koljonen elaborates on the benefits of technology-led indoor farming.
“With all year-round sustainable on-site production, you get ultra-fresh ingredients free from logistics and waste. It is water safe and has a low carbon footprint.”
“Indoor farming in a controlled setting allows for independence from location and helps to grow different crops on the same farm. One can grow tropical flowers in Alaska or forest herbs in the center of a desert and it will be the same quality all around the world,” continues Koljonen.
He flags that the limitations of this type of farming come from high installation costs and energy consumption.
Earlier this year, Shiseido’s Ulé was created in response to the growing concerns over transparency and the need for nature-conscious ingredients. Using high-tech indoor vertical farming is deemed “an agricultural breakthrough” ensuring efficiency and eco-responsibility with full traceability.
Beauty and tech
As consumer appetite for environmentally sustainably sourced ingredients grows, the beauty industry is witnessing a shift toward investments to meet consumer demand while increasing profitability.
Recently, PersonalCareInsights spoke to Ludovic Wassermann, consultant at Centric Software, who advises the US and European personal care brands and manufacturers on digitizing their end-to-end NPD processes.
“With a robust digital platform to manage ingredients and develop products from concept to consumer, brands can create a portfolio of products to fit market segments that desire environmentally conscious products,” Wassermann said.
Product Lifecycle Management platforms can also include retail planning functionalities such as assortment and merchandise planning, which allow brands to define portfolio criteria such as seasons per region, skin types, hair types, demographics and sustainability preferences.
Similarly, cosmetics developers can streamline the supply chain with pesticide-free ingredients grown on-site with a technologically driven hydroponics farm for sourcing cosmetic ingredients.
By Radhika Sikaria
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