February 18, 2021

Reformulation for Sustainability

  Digital Reformulation for Sustainability Reformulation is a key strategy across process-based…
Avatar Daniela Jansen

Digital Reformulation for Sustainability

Reformulation is a key strategy across process-based industries and segments like cosmetics and personal care, food & beverage, household products, chemicals, petrochemicals, agrochemicals, biopharmaceuticals and tires. Ninety-eight percent of consumer goods companies are reformulating at least some of their products1, and CPG companies have reformulated 179,600 products worldwide.2

In biopharma, reformulating an existing drug gives developers a head start, especially as developing a new drug from scratch costs $1.3 billion on average.3

There are many reasons why companies reformulate products. They might need to cut product development times4, reduce the price of ingredients, meet new regulatory requirements or lower manufacturing costs. They might be entering new markets, hoping to extend a patent term or focusing on sustainability.


Sustainability is the ability to exist constantly. Integral elements of sustainability are research and innovation activities. Efficiency equals sustainability since zero efficiency (when possible) means zero waste.5 What mere definition does not say is that sustainability is not an option anymore – it is a mandate today for the future.

Organizations across industries are committing to deliver their share on sustainability, such as Dassault Systèmes, ranking at 55 of the most sustainable companies in the world.6 This is part of their corporate responsibility, helps brand reputation and the sustainability of their business in terms of customer retention and profits.

Sustainability and Reformulation

Formulation companies are increasingly reformulating to make their products, processes and profits more sustainable. As an example, reformulation is a key part of Australian retail giant Woolworth’s sustainability plan.

One way we will reduce nutrients of concern such as salt, sugar and saturated fat and increase healthier options is through reformulations of products in our Own Brand range…over the past three years, we have already reformulated 190 Own Brand products and added more whole grains into our range.7

At the same time, companies must ensure that product specifications and performance meet customer expectations. For example, companies can reformulate gasoline by replacing aromatics and methyl tertiary butyl ether, MTBE, with more sustainable, biomass-derived alkyl levulinates. However, they must still maintain density, viscosity and compressibility within recommended limits.8

Meeting all of these requirements entails additional efforts in the formulation and testing process.

In responding to sustainability demands, organizations must reformulate fast. In today’s volatile market, driven by social media and digital real-time communication, they have to bring reformulated products to market while the demand is current to outpace the competition to capture market share and sustainable profits.

Traditional is not Sustainable

To accelerate reformulation for sustainability – or to meet any other reformulation goals – organizations must transform their operations. Traditionally, they might be managing formulations in spreadsheets or systems disconnected from scientific applications.

In laboratories performing formulation-related experiments and physical tests to predict the properties of reformulations, teams might be transferring information manually and reporting test results via emails, which is time consuming and insecure.

Finally, there might be no digital flow of data between the teams involved in the reformulation making collaboration cumbersome and tedious. This does not sound sustainable.

Digitalization for Sustainability

There is only one way to tackle this: digitalization and leveraging a platform. This is at the back of many business leaders’ minds today. However, according to the ERM 2021 Trends Report,9 97% of business leaders say the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digital transformation.

Have you taken this step too? Are you considering digitalizing your processes to reformulate a product and make it more sustainable?

Imagine if you could easily:

🔁 Retrieve the original formulation you want to alter

👩‍🔬 Predict the properties of the changed formula with the new ingredient

👩‍🏭 Scale-up the recipe for #manufacturing

🥼 Create the new formula in the lab in a streamlined, integrated workflow

Have all information accessible, whenever and where ever it’s needed in the process:

🌐 Generate documentation and new labels for different geographic regions automatically

⏰ Minimize the time-to-market for your new, more sustainable product

🎯 Reduce the number of expensive and time-consuming physical tests by replacing them with in silico testing based on previous experiments

Don’t waste time and effort with inefficient, paper-based processes. Use our platform-based, digital solution that supports reformulation and have a truly sustainable process for reformulating products for sustainability.

Learn how BIOVIA can help you digitalize and reformulate for the future now!

Get More Information

  1. Deloitte 2019 Health & Wellness Progress Report
  2. C. Powell, Product reformulations on the rise: Report, March 29, 2017
  3. O.J. Wouters, M. McKee, and J. Luyten, JAMA, 323 (9) 844–853 (2020)
  4. F. Thomas, Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-05-02-2020, Volume 44, Issue 5, Page Number: 28–30
  5. Wikipedia contributors, “Sustainability,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (accessed February 9, 2021)
  6. https://www.corporateknights.com/reports/2021-global-100/2021-global-100-ranking-16115328/
  7. https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2021/01/13/Reformulation-for-sustainability-Woolworths-to-boost-plant-based-and-healthier-products-portfolio-as-part-of-five-year-plan
  8. ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2017, 5, 8, 7118–7127

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