IFF: Finding a better use for citrus peel waste

IFF has partnered with a Dutch startup, PeelPioneers, to utilize fresh orange peels that would otherwise be discarded from supermarkets, juice bars, and other quick-service restaurants in the Netherlands. While orange peels cannot be composted as easily as other fruits and vegetables and are not easily incinerated due to their high water content, they are naturally rich in highly prized essential oils. Thanks to PeelPioneers’ agreement with one of the largest commercial waste management companies in the Netherlands, discarded fresh peels are delivered to the PeelPioneers factory within 72 hours of juicing, where they are washed and treated to obtain a high-quality, oil-in-water emulsion via cold extraction. IFF uses the essential oil to create signature taste designs, including natural orange flavorings and extracts. Utilizing circular design principles in this way is saving resources and creating a unique marketing advantage for IFF’s Re-Imagine Citrus Upcycled Orange product line.

Company in brief

IFF is a global leader in the development of unique and unexpected scents, tastes, experiences and ingredients for products of every kind– from global icons, to boutique creations. In line with our purpose of  “redefining how we live in and care for the resources of our world,” we embrace circular design principles and design products that offer a positive contribution to people, society and the world around us.


Because of climate change and citrus crop greening over the past decade, responding to consumer demands for natural and authentic citrus taste has become increasingly complex. We also see an opportunity to reduce food waste by converting surplus fruits and vegetables into value-added ingredients. Through this initiative, we are developing natural and sustainable technologies that meet the taste demands of citrus today and prepare for the needs of tomorrow. Specifically, we have created tangible commercial value from a resource that is not easily compostable and has traditionally been considered waste.


We see success as being able to create authentic natural orange flavorings, natural orange extracts and other signature taste designs in a way that avoids stress on an already challenged citrus crop supply chain and reduces food waste. By overcoming the challenges of traditional sourcing and disposal pathways, this initiative has not only become a model of collaboration between IFF and our partner, PeelPioneers, but between willing retailer participants in the Netherlands and one of the country’s largest commercial waste management companies.

Sustainability criteria

While the supply for citrus is challenged, the demand continues to increase. Using Re-Imagine Citrus® Upcycled Orange oil will help IFF meet customer and consumer demand without stressing the citrus supply chain. We expect this oil to deliver maximum environmental benefits by using the material in a circular way, including producing for manufacturers within the supply region and reducing transport needs.

Business case

Through this initiative, we are easing the local volume demand of a critical raw material and mitigating supply chain risk by using a more sustainable alternative. This circular design solution exemplifies our company vision and strategy to “do more good.” We are also supporting customer attraction and retention by supplying sustainable products that reinforce our customers’ own sustainability expectations and sourcing commitments. Further, there is a strong marketing story around the sustainability of this product that our customers can share through their own labeling and marketing outreach.

Next Steps

We look forward to continuing to grow our partnership with PeelPioneers by leveraging our experience in the Netherlands to identify similar opportunities in other markets around the world.

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