Posted on October 30, 2020
The BESTMEDGRAPE project was launched in September 2019 in 5 countries (Italy, France, Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan), aiming at creating new business opportunities by transferring to potential entrepreneurs the scientific know-how on the sustainable use of grape pomace to manufacture cosmeceutical and nutraceutical products.
How will this project achieve its goal? How will new business opportunities be created from the residue of the grape?
In a series of articles, we will walk you through the BESTMEDGRAPE project, from science to innovation, ecology, business, and more.
In this article we cover how The BESTMEDGRAPE project gives the opportunity to potential entrepreneurs to create their own businesses, and we shed light on what these businesses are and how the market will respond.
The technological analysis consultant in the BESTMEDGRAPE project, Riccardo Berlucchi – a collaborator of the Lead Beneficiary University of Cagliari – CREA Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, conducted a pre-competitive analysis of main industries, markets and stakeholders, in collaboration with all partners.
According to Berlucchi, the sectors on which to maintain a constant focus are essentially 3, wine sector, cosmetics and nutraceuticals, with a dutiful in-depth analysis regarding distilleries, usually included within the wine sector but which deserve importance in themselves as a fundamental piece of the supply chain and guarantors of the circularity (ecological and economic) that the project aims to embody.
Since the project involves 5 Mediterranean countries (Italy, France, Tunisia, Lebanon and Jordan), the characteristics of various sectors vary depending on the geographical area/country of reference. It would be impossible to compare the Italian wine sector on the same level as that of some countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Italy is the 1st country in the world for production, producing 1.8 billion bottles of DOP wine, whereas for example, Jordan produces about 1 million bottles in total.
Berlucchi added, in an interview with our website team, that it is interesting to note that both the examples taken, although very different from each other, present growth trends as well as the entire sector globally and a strong propensity to export. Furthermore, these differences, in the wine sector as well as in the cosmetic and nutraceutical sector, favor different business opportunities and/or collaboration between actors of different geographical origins.
Berlucchi noted that a mature, articulated and performing market like the Italian one allows easy access to information, technologies and channels, but at the same time will certainly be much more competitive and with greater entry barriers for new business realities. A small market like the Jordanian one will certainly present a less advanced technological level, difficulties in accessing certain information, and a lack of important economies of scale, but at the same time, it will offer the “first movers”, who might decide to invest in new and innovative business initiatives, that competitive advantage difficult to attack for a long period. They might be able then to export their business models to more mature and profitable markets.
To succeed, any new business has to take into account the market needs, in other terms, what the consumer wants.
Here, Berlucchi found that the international market for cosmetic and nutraceutical products derived from wine by-products is still to be built. This is also due to the fact that winemaking waste has several different potential applications, from reuse in agriculture to biofuels, use for the production of clean energy, use for construction purposes, or for the production of animal feed, just to name a few. There are companies that have included products in their lines, but there are still no realities that are entirely and exclusively focused on this slice of the market and on this type of product.
So, according to the analyst, there is great potential! There is the possibility to channel, satisfy and therefore profit from the nowadays strongest global trends, which are “Circular economy, environmental sustainability, well-being and personal care”. He added that consumers are interested, they are informed and therefore they make very conscious choices. They show an ever-increasing interest in bio-technological products and for bio-tech companies capable to meet high-quality standards without compromising their social and environmental sustainability, but rather favoring economic circularity by making use of secondary raw materials such as wine by-products.
Advice from Berlucchi to the potential entrepreneurs: focus on a qualitatively high-level product and investing in marketing, collaborating and developing initiatives in concert with wine producers and also with distilleries (absolutely not to be underestimated as potential partners). The other way is to offer an innovative logistical solution; something that allows to optimize the flow along the supply chain and offer a solution to the many small entrepreneurs in the sector, for whom the disposal of waste often becomes an operational problem and a cost item. And, at last, whoever manages to find innovative solutions that nail the producer and consumer interests in these areas, will be a winner!
Berytech has issued a call for applications to select 30 candidates for admission to the Technological Transfer Process, Mentorship and Guidance for Business Creation Program under the BESTMEDGRAPE project. Learn more here.