When you choose to buy a sustainable, plant-based product, you are not only supporting the company that you are purchasing from, but you are also supporting the communities in which they source their ingredients. We are firm believers that it is important to make sustainable and socially conscious decisions when formulating products, which is why we put so much time into researching where our ingredients come from. One great example of this is with our favourite ingredient, and the one that we have chosen to base our entire product line around – breadfruit.
Traditional Uses of Breadfruit
Breadfruit trees are found in the tropical regions of the Pacific Islands. Here at Altilis Beauty, we have partnered with small, local companies in Apia, Samoa – where breadfruit trees are abundant. Every Samoan family has access to breadfruit trees, and have found uses for almost all of the different parts of the tree. Traditionally, breadfruit is used as a staple food crop and is a great source of vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates. Additionally, breadfruit is gluten-free, low fat and high in fibre. Talk about a superfood! Due to all of the amazing nutrients in breadfruit, many organizations are working to create a supply chain of breadfruit as a way to solve the problem of hunger in impoverished regions.
Additionally, the wood of the tree is used for building and carving, the latex is used as a glue and to prevent fungal infections, and the flowers are soaked in coconut milk and honey and eaten as a sweet treat.
Breadfruit as a Cosmetic Ingredient
A natural supply chain of breadfruit now exists that never existed before, which means that there is now also an abundance of breadfruit flowers, creating a sustainable supply. By partnering with these small communities in Apia, Samoa, we are able to collectively create unique breadfruit ingredients for cosmetic products using breadfruit flowers.
Breadfruit flowers are a very sustainable ingredient to use in skincare for a number of reasons. In the past, breadfruit flowers were considered agricultural waste. The communities would collect the flowers to turn into compost. However, now the flowers have created an economic opportunity for these villages. Additionally, by using the breadfruit flowers, we are preserving the natural integrity of the food crop since it doesn’t require cutting or destructing of the actual tree.
The community members of the Samoan villages that we work with collect the breadfruit flowers and bring then to a small manufacturing facility run by the Chief of that village. The flowers are dried at the facility and then shipped to us in Cambridge, Ontario for extraction. We use the breadfruit flower extract in all of our products.
Building a Sustainable Future.
The breadfruit industry is currently undergoing a commercialization process that it has never seen before. In the past, the lack of a continuous market resulted in many families remove trees. However, through our partnership, we are providing income generating opportunities and encouraging replanting of the trees. We are continuing to optimize our breadfruit extract production by working with the Samoan communities and this developing country to make it more economical for them, provide more jobs, and bring in an economy to the community.
Additionally, we are helping these communities to develop long-term cultivation practices. We are now encouraging replanting as well as pruning before the cyclone season to avoid damage to the trees. These breadfruit trees benefit families and communities with food security, conservation of traditional knowledge, and by building a sustainable future.