“Albéa is an increasingly sustainable and agile company”, François Tassart

Premium Beauty News – The Albéa Group’s Rigid Cosmetic Packaging division has just been renamed Cosmetics and Fragrances. Why this change?

Francois Tassart – Mainly for the sake of clarity for our customers. This name represents our markets and not the rendering of our packaging and helps to better identify us within the industry.

Premium Beauty News – What does this division represent today?

Francois Tassart – Makeup (lipsticks, mascara, etc.) remains our main market, even though the skin care category (bottles, bottles, etc.) has made great strides in recent years. We also manufacture perfume caps, with an offer made in France for the prestigious sector. In total, this represents a turnover of 450 million dollars, achieved in 14 sites and 8 countries. We cover North America, Europe and Asia via Indonesia and China.

In the field of beauty packaging, we are the player with the greatest geographic coverage and the most varied technical knowledge. This allows us to serve global leaders as well as local and independent brands. In Indonesia, for example, 50% of our factory activity is dedicated to local brands.

Premium Beauty News – How has this activity evolved since the beginning of the pandemic?

Francois Tassart – Overall, the phenomenon was the same as in other sectors: an acceleration of pre-existing trends.

In short, we are asked for equally attractive but increasingly virtuous packaging, delivered in accordance with all safety requirements, within fast delivery times and in volumes that can vary very quickly. These last points, speed and flexibility, have also assumed considerable importance: today there is a huge demand for agility!

Our key customers want reduced time-to-market and for us to be able to manage so-called TikTok effects, which can suddenly pull incredibly high demand on certain benchmarks. For this, it is necessary to work with intermediate stocks or factories capable of tripling the production of a reference in a very short time.

Since September 2021, global demand has accelerated strongly, with trends higher than in 2019, with the exception of lipsticks, which recovered later. The demand for perfumes has exploded and, with the massive entry of Chinese consumers in this market, it should continue to grow very significantly.

Finally, we observe a logic of regionalization of the offer. This “relocation” can be observed both in Europe and Asia, for reasons of agility but also logistical constraints. Lack of capacity in ocean freight and port congestion have led to an explosion in prices and longer delivery times, which encourages customers to buy locally.

Premium Beauty News – How do you manage supply tensions?

Francois Tassart – It’s a real challenge! We thought we had overcome the weight of difficulties in 2021, when the strength of the recovery sent prices for raw materials, transport and energy soaring. We meet with all our customers to explain the situation, break down our cost increases and justify the impact on our prices. Because I remind you that materials represent about 30% of our costs! Your answers were very reasonable. But the war in Ukraine has reignited the upward spirals.

All this forces us to guarantee our supplies by increasing our inventories. Thanks to these measures and our global network, we have not had any interruptions and I would like to salute the extraordinary work of the teams here. But, obviously, this comes at a cost: around US$ 30 million of impact on our cash in 2021. But cash is what allows us to continue investing in parallel. Fortunately, some customers are willing to work with us to secure their supplies.

Premium Beauty News – What is the impact on the sustainable transition of beauty packaging?

Francois Tassart – Contrary to what happened in 2008, there was no questioning of the sustainability efforts. On the contrary, the demand for new solutions, more virtuous packaging and transparency has only increased! The challenge is to rhyme responsibility and desire and accelerate this transition.

Premium Beauty News – How is this transition organized at Albéa?

Francois Tassart – Our goal is to produce 100% recyclable packaging by 2025, even if it is reusable first. In our business segment, this is a real challenge because we manufacture very varied products, often small, with many different components and materials.

We are innovating more than ever to create single-material packaging (lipstick tubes, makeup cases, etc.), refill solutions, and using recycled or innovative materials. We are rethinking our manufacturing processes, testing the injection and decoration of new materials, preparing the replacement of raw materials that may have to disappear (SAN, POM), on the contrary, ensuring those whose use will increase. These are not trivial changes, they have technical consequences (adapted templates, new skills). It will take a lot of investment in a short period of time to make these changes, ensuring security of supply, compliance and product quality. There is still a lot of work to be done to achieve a circular economy and we need to accelerate together.

Ensuring this change while maintaining the level of consumer satisfaction and desire means protecting our customers’ reputation. It’s a real partnership. Today, even for luxury, packaging does not represent more than 3% of the price of a product. There is a real issue of value sharing in this transition!

Premium Beauty News – In three words, how do you see the future of makeup and perfume packaging?

Francois Tassart – Responsible, agile, reliable. It is on these matters that we work most with our customers!

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