Plum slump: Demand for Aussie beauty results in shortage of kakadu superfruit
Indigenous ingredients from Australia are emerging as the next big global beauty trend and the kakadu plum is one of its most well-known exports.
“In the past few years, there has been a lot of noise regarding the kakadu plum and the reason is because it has become a super food for its high vitamin C content. Over the last two years in particular, there’s been a spike in people looking for kakadu plum beauty products,” said Peter Bosevski, global marketing and sales manager of G&M Cosmetics.
Richest sources of Vitamin C
The kakadu plum is the world’s richest natural source of Vitamin C, known to contain up to 100% more Vitamin C than citrus. Studies have shown that the fruit can contain up to 7000 mg per 100g. A typical orange has a Vitamin C concentration of 50 mg per 100g.
Additionally, the Vitamin C found in the kakadu plum is the most stable Vitamin C in nature, and can hold its nutrient value for longer periods of time.
The credentials of this indigenous superfruit makes it an excellent skin care ingredient, especially in Asia, where G&M Cosmetics has noticed a large spike in demand.
G&M is the manufacturer and distributor of Australian beauty brands such as Australian Creams and Native Australia.
Since 2018, G&M has seen “surprising” demand for its Native Australian products grow by 18% especially in South East Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia, as well as mainland China.
Thailand, in particular, recorded stellar 42% growth, especially for products that contain the kakadu superfruit.
“The main reason why the kakadu plum is in demand in Asia is because a lot of [female] consumers are seeking out products that make their skin brighter or lighter,” said Bosevski.
Bosevski commented that the trend for natural and organic beauty products from Australia was here to stay.
“The trend I guess is not going away. People are seeking out clean green products from Australia. For the industry, this is good, it means growth and there’s potential for new products to come out, new innovation.”
While this is good news for manufactures like G&M, the local industry is concerned about the shortage and sustainability of the kakadu plum.
As such, G&M has taken measures to ensure the sustainability of the kakadu plum and its skin care products.
“As a company, we have taken steps to becoming an organic-certified manufacturer. That means every element from supply chain to source is organic-certified. It means nothing is over-harvested, overused, or wasted,” said Bosevski.
Additionally, the Australian cosmetics manufacturer is working closely with its suppliers to combat shortage in the future, said Bosevski.
The rise in popularity of indigenous ingredients has also prompted the Australian government to announce an initiative to help support the industry and ensure there’s enough quality supply in the future.
Bosevski highlighted that it was important for the company to work closely with Aboriginal communities that supply them with kakadu plum and other indigenous ingredients.
“It’s not just about money — it’s about giving back to the community that we are working with to supply our ingredients. We support local activities and provide sponsorship. Giving back to the community to ensure they are sustainable.”
Beauty’s next superstar
Home to a variety of unique flora and fauna, Australia has more nutrient-packed super foods to offer the natural and organic beauty space, such as the finger lime and the quandong.
As the wellness movement continues to grow, Bosevski believes the next Aussie superfruit to make waves will be the quandong.
“The quandong is very interesting. We use it in our Native American Skin Shield Lotion to protect from harsh elements, especially in overseas markets like Southeast Asia where there is a lot of pollution, all-day air conditioning. Using quandong helps to absorb and protect the skin from such harsh elements.”
The demand for Australian brands like Native Australian has prompted G&M to further expand its presence in Asia.
It plans to enter the Philippines and Indonesia in the first and second half of the year respectively.
Currently, the company enjoys a steady presence in Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and China, and Taiwan.
However, the brands are mostly available online through e-commerce platforms such as Lazada, Tmall and JD.com.
“The next stage is to launch through offline channels such as health stores, pharmacies, and drugstore. We are also expanding in China via duty free.”