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Kaffe Bueno: Pioneering Sustainable Solutions for the Personal Care Industry

In preparation for the In-Cosmetics Global event, Danish personal care companies Kaffe Bueno and Cellugy decided to interview each other to learn more about the cosmetic ingredients they will be showcasing, collaboration within the industry, and how companies within this industry are pushing a sustainable future.

In this interview, Jennifer Kristen (JK), Cellugy’s Marketing Communication Coordinator sat down with Kaffe Bueno’s Co-Founder and CCO, Alejandro Franco (AF).

JK: Can you tell us about your current projects and how they're contributing to a more sustainable future in the personal care industry?

AF: Kaffe Bueno is proud to announce two exciting new projects, consequences of over 3 years of research and development: the launch of our “Find Beauty in Coffee” line of personal care ingredients and the upcoming opening of the world's first coffee biorefinery, which we are building in Denmark.

Our new product line includes KAFFOIL-R™, KAFFAGE™, KAFFAIR™, and KA-ZuN™ which are sustainably upcycled natural actives for the personal care industry.

KAFFOIL-R™ is our new version of our hero ingredient KAFFOIL™. It is a semi-refined version, lighter in colour and smell. KAFFOIL-R™ sustainable alternative to Argan oil and is the first upcycled lipophilic extract[AF1] derived from coffee's by-product.

Photo by: Kaffe Bueno

KAFFAGE™ is an upcycled amphiphilic active biopolymer that brings unmatched multi-functionality and performance for skincare and makeup, while KAFFAIR™ is a patent-pending active scalp and hair treatment that stimulates the expression of human growth factors in the scalp[AF2] .

Finally, KA-ZuN™ is an upcycled coated mineral UV filter that reduces the undesirable white cast effect, the photocatalytic activity of ZnO, and increased solubility for easier formulation and manufacturing.

On the other hand, we are scaling up our operations and capacity, while bringing all production In-house. Since day 1 of Kaffe Bueno, we've pursued the building of a coffee biorefinery as a key milestone in our mission to unlock coffee's health potential. Thanks to a grant the European Innovation Council granted us for €2,5 million back In 2021, we've been busy making it happen. We are aiming to do the official opening In September/October 2023.

Here, we will scale up all the processes we've been developing for the last 6.5 years to break down coffee into all its molecular building blocks, which we will use in health-oriented applications.

JK: What makes Kaffe Bueno's ingredients unique compared to other sustainable alternatives? How do they contribute to a healthier planet?

AF: On one hand, Kaffe Bueno's ingredients are the first coffee-derived upcycled ingredients In the personal care industry. The first launch was KAFFOIL™ and KAFFIBRE™ back In 2019. Now, thanks to our proprietary processes, we have isolated unique molecules and patented key applications for the personal care Industry.

Our goal is not only to take advantage of coffee's full potential but to help the Industries responsible for society's well being (personal care, food & beverage, nutraceuticals) accelerate the transition to natural.

To make this happen, our natural ingredients are thoroughly evaluated to ensure their performance matches or outperforms existing market benchmarks, maintains batch-to-batch quality, and remains price competitive.

This is possible thanks to our sustainable green chemistry processes enabling a holistic extraction of the whole spectrum of bioactives inside coffee.

Going deeper into each of our Ingredients:

  • Based on proprietary efficacy data, KAFFOIL-R™ performs on par with Argan oil in increasing hair shine, preventing breakage, reducing split ends, and repair chemically damaged hair.

Photo by: Kaffe Bueno

Photo by: Kaffe Bueno

  • KAFFAGE™, has high contents of hydroxycinnamic acids that enable high antioxidant activity and prevent UV-induced glycation in human cells[AF4] , translating in prevention of wrinkle formation. Moreover, it helps mimic a myriad of skin tones, helping formulators reduce the amount of iron oxides used in formulations of BB creams, foundations, concealers, tinted moisturisers.

Photo by: Kaffe Bueno

KAFFAIR™ is a patent-pending active scalp and hair treatment that stimulates the expression of human growth factor genes in human IGF1, VEGF and FGF7 cells[AF5] [AF6] , strengthening follicles and preventing hair loss.

Photo by: Kaffe Bueno

Finally, KA-ZuN is an upcycled mineral UV filter consisting of a Zinc Oxide molecule coated with a proprietary bioactive polymer which solves the problem of white cast effect, ZnO insolubility, and photocatalytic activity.

These innovative ingredients offer environmentally conscious solutions for the personal care industry and contribute to a healthier planet by reducing waste and using sustainable sourcing methods.

JK: How do you see the Danish personal care industry evolving and how do you envision Kaffe Bueno's role in this development?

AF: The Danish personal care industry is increasingly focused on sustainability and environmental responsibility, with consumers demanding products made with as few ingredients as possible, and naturality and efficacy are king.

Starting Kaffe Bueno in Denmark was not a coincidence. In 2016 we moved to Denmark with the only motive being to start Kaffe Bueno here, because of Denmark's values and prioritisation of sustainability.

Society's mindset and behaviours and government rules are clear reflections of the country's primordial urgency to make the planet better.

In addition, it hosts some of the most important bioscience companies In the world, such as the Novo companies.

Lastly, Danes drink almost 9 kgs of coffee per capita per year, making them one of the highest-consuming coffee countries per capita.

All these factors made us decide to start Kaffe Bueno in Denmark, and it's proven to be the right decision.

Back In 2016, when we came up with this circular business model, there was not much going on In Denmark around the circular economy. However, in the last 6.5 years, the number of startups and SMEs getting into the space has grown exponentially, reflecting the country's and people's demand for It.

We see Kaffe Bueno as an enabler for the country's vast need for making a better use of their annual ~50,000 tonnes of coffee. By upcycling this "waste" not only can the country reduce their emissions, but the government can see higher tax returns per kilo of coffee coming into the country, while companies - from personal care brands to hotels and retailers - can get access to more sustainable and Innovative Ingredients that can satisfy consumer demand while reducing their emissions.

JK: How does Kaffe Bueno approach collaboration with other start-ups and technologies to advance their mission of sustainability?

AF: At Kaffe Bueno, we strongly believe in collaboration and partnership to drive sustainability forward. We are always seeking out new and innovative ways to create positive change in the personal care industry, and we recognize the value of learning from others in this pursuit.

Kaffe Bueno is currently collaborating with Cellugy, another start-up company based in the Alfa Laval Innovation House, to promote the Danish personal care industry. Cellugy is leveraging nature's most abundant organic polymer, cellulose, to create high-quality biomaterials and ingredients that enable the transition of our industries to a circular future.

At Kaffe Bueno, we believe that collaboration is key to advancing our mission of sustainability, and we are always open to learning from other start-ups and technologies. Being surrounded by a diverse range of start-ups in the Alfa Laval Innovation House allows us to constantly learn and gain inspiration from other innovators. We also actively seek out partnerships and collaborations with other companies that share our values and vision for a more sustainable future in the personal care industry.

If you would like to learn more, then feel free to visit our stand AJ66 at In-Cosmetics Global.

Also, our Co-Founder and CCO, Alejandro Franco will be speaking about “How Upcycling Coffee Can Accelerate The Transition To Natural” at the Sustainability Corner at In-Cosmetics Global at 9:15 on the 30th of March 2023.

Also, to read our interview with Cellugy’s Founder and CEO, Isabel Alvarez-Martos, click here.


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