The Cal Poly Agri-Marketing Team will compete in Kansas in the National Agri-Marketing Association competition

From an early age, Allison Jensen, a senior in agriculture, was exposed to the professional world of agriculture. Growing up with a family working in the almond and nut business, Jensen recognized that almond shells were regularly wasted.

“I heard that [shells] it was a huge byproduct that is wasted, “Jensen said.” As a girl, I felt like cosmetics could shape those two together.

During their first week of agri-food marketing planning (AGB 406), Jensen and four classmates – Kaylee Earnshaw, Sarah Schulman, Carsen Beckwith and Maxine Meckfessel – turned that idea into Blossom Cosmetics, the company they introduced at Cal Poly’s National Agri-Marketing internal competition.

The Blossom Cosmetics team will now move on to present their marketing strategy for the “Essential Nudes” eyeshadow palette at the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) competition in Kansas City, Missouri, April 6-8.

The all-female team has blossomed from the combined goal of using agricultural by-products to create a sustainable, inclusive and affordable eyeshadow palette for consumers.

In 2021 alone, California produced a record 3.2 billion pounds of almonds. However, the shells account for 19% of an almond’s total weight, meaning California produced an excess of approximately 608 million pounds of almond shells in 2021.

There is currently no sustainable or profitable outlet for almond growers to reuse or dispose of these shells. The Blossom Cosmetics team has recognized this problem and has planned for their company to use almond shells with a consistency of 0-50 microns as a replacement for talc in many cosmetic applications.

While this isn’t a real company or product, Jensen, director of agricultural relations at Blossom, said the market research conducted is all based on real numbers and problems.

“I think it’s a unique thing to understand about competition,” said Jensen. “Although it is a marketing competition and not a production competition, we have to think about all the financial and production aspects to sell it as a product to the retailer.”

The Blossom Cosmetics team was selected to represent Cal Poly after setting up a 10-minute field for internal competition. During the internal competition, they presented portions of what will be used for the 20-minute NAMA presentation.

AGB 406 professor Ricky Volpe said the internal competition was organized to provide information on each group’s product, the benefits of the product on the food supply chain, how it will be marketed, and what the financial data would look like for a retailer who might bring it up .

The teams presented their slides and presentations during a recorded Zoom class which was then shared with colleagues from the Volpe department, alumni who also participated in the NAMA competition, and the advisory board of the College of Agriculture & Environmental Design . They then chose who would go ahead by popular vote.

“One of the main purposes of this competition, in addition to providing a truly exciting opportunity for students, is to help generate and brainstorm great ideas that effectively use agricultural raw materials or by-products within the food supply chain,” said Volpe. . “So helping to correct what we call externalities, basically only making the food chain work better, reducing waste and increasing the benefits for producers.”

While the Cal Poly team is in the process of competing nationally among over 15 other universities, their journey to Kansas is the result of hours of planning and market research.

Their research found that in 2020 the US beauty and personal care market was valued at $ 93.1 billion and of that $ 93.1 billion, the natural and organic cosmetics market stood at $ 9.8 billion dollars.

The Blossom Cosmetics team acknowledged the demand for natural and organic cosmetics, citing that Statista Consumer Market Outlook estimates the market will rise to $ 15.7 billion by 2025.

The team has set itself the goal of reducing waste for the benefit of the environment and their “Essential Nudes” eyeshadow palette takes into account the demand for natural cosmetics by using almond shells instead of talc in cosmetic products.

“Talc is mined in opencast mines around the world,” said Meckfessel, Blossom’s chief marketing liaison.

In addition to the talc found in asbestos and causing health problems, he said, the open pit mines from which talc is extracted are harmful to the environment due to emissions and water pollution.

“We really wanted to use something that was all natural,” Meckfessel said. “Something for which we don’t have to run out of a natural resource. Our market research predicts that almonds will continue to be in demand, so this by-product will be too. “

Leave a Comment