key building blocks in fragrance creation in particular, such as dihydromyrcenol, Habanolidea and
delta damascene, are not naturally occurring, and
to remove these from the perfumer’s palette would
cause significant problems.
A wider issue, and one which will take on greater
significance in the immediate future, is the question of resource. The global population has seen
significant growth over the last century with the
expectation that by 2048, it will reach nine billion
people. We can determine that if we continue at
this current rate, we will need 2. 3 Earths to be able
to satisfy the needs of nine billion people (F- 2).
Previously published fragrance industry data from
So it seems even though the consumer prefers
products made from ingredients more closely
obtained from cultivated sources, and more recognizable as natural, doing so is considerably more
resource-intensive than synthesizing chemicals.
From all of this, two things are clear: our industry
absolutely needs synthesized materials, and the
consumer doesn’t understand or trust them.
Where Do You Get Your Carbons?
If 75% of the feedstocks used to create fragrances
are from petrochemical sources, and 7% from
natural sources, then where are the remaining 18%
coming from? The answer is that these ingredients
are synthesized from renewable feedstocks such as
crude sulfate turpentine, gum terpentine and citrus
by-products such as d-limonene. 5 A quick review of
the FEMA GRAS lists gives a similar picture, in that
the overwhelming percentage of ingredients used in
creation are distinct molecules that are synthesized.
As much as the consumer would like it, we can’t get
away from synthesized materials.
We have to remember that in the short term,
we operate in a consumer driven market, but in
the longer term we have the capability to shape
consumers’ thoughts and preferences. At this time
a Habanolide is a registered tradename of Firmenich