Present at this year’s in-cosmetics Korea conference was domestic speciality ingredients producer, Biospectrum. We got the lowdown on the green Korean marketplace and ingredient sourcing.
A green outlook
Adopting “green manufacturing and technology” to access speciality cosmetics actives derived from “green nature”, it is clear that the South Korean players strive to build upon its reputation to support the needs of increasingly green-focused consumers.
Established in 2000, Amanda Kim, Assistant Manager at Biospectrum noted that the company’s aim has been to harness its strong R&D: “The company has developed its research in biochemistry over the years, increasing its number of research and development team members.”
Biospectrum uses plant extracts obtained from Korea and China, with “90% collected from within Asia”, Kim added.
Initially, the company strived to focus on utilising plants that were native to its domestic base, Korea. Yet these proved difficult to get hold of. Centella Asiatica, in particular, a herbaceous, perennial plant from the Apiaceae family, commonly found in the wetlands of Asia.
“As this particular type of plant was hard to source in Korea, we then searched all around the world,” Kim relayed.
Commenting on the size of the Chinese market and the benefits this creates, Kim added: “China is very large and it is easy to access plants from there so it became a natural market for us to explore.”
A global audience
The process for selecting plants is based on understanding and research. It is vital that the researchers explore and know the active ingredients in the plant extract from the outset. This enables Biospectrum to understand the potential benefits it will pass onto consumers such as anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle effects.
While centred in Korea, with offices in Yongin City, Osan City and Jeju City, Korean consumers make up only 20-30% of Biospectrum's client base. While 5% is compromised of Chinese customers, the remaining 65-75% are from global markets including North America and South America.
What Korean consumers want
As Korean consumers today are heavily shifting their attention to the efficacy of products, R&D is crucial to measure the impact a product will have and the difference it will truly make.
Sharing her insights on what Korean customers today want, Kim enthused:“Korean customers are aware of the scientific properties within products. They are very interested in cosmetics, have high awareness and are keen to know about ingredient usage.”