Case study

Sourcing of natural ingredients and creation of a supply chain


International SME with 200 employees specialized in the manufacture of natural ingredients for the perfume, flavor and cosmetics industries. The company manufactures all types of natural extracts and uses its ingredients in its own compositions as well as with a clientele of perfumers and flavourists around the world. Some of its products are emblematic of its know-how.

Initial problem

To face a shortage of natural raw materials for perfumery, collected by hand and which cannot be cultivated, the company seeks to diversify its supplies. It could not, in a relatively short period of time, qualify new suppliers and open a complete supply chain. The company therefore calls on Neos partner.

Challenges to solve

  • It needs several tens of tons
  • Specific quality but no specifications
  • Sourcing abroad
  • Qualification of partners (financial strength, ethics, social and environmental commitment) and their ability to work according to European standards
  • Training of the selected partner
  • Negotiations for a fair and just price
  • Import of the material into France and management of administrative, logistical and customs procedures on behalf of Neos partner

The strategic contribution

Knowledge of the client’s desired but not explicitly stated standards (naturalness, traceability, sustainability, quality of the material, absence of contaminants, regulatory requirements, biodiversity…).

Ability to quickly and efficiently find producers and collectors in the countries of origin of this plant.

International network and experience in setting up partnerships.

Operational implementation

Precise analysis of the client’s needs and development of specifications specific to Neos partner in line with the company’s values

Search in the geographical areas favourable to the development of the plant, of producers having the required criteria to meet the expectations of the customer.

On-site visit to qualify the producers and ensure compliance with the specifications in terms of quality, price, availability of raw material, but also in terms of social, environmental and regulatory aspects

Selection of the appropriate supplier and contractualization of the need

Regular visits during harvest and final inspection on site. Quality approval before shipment.

Management of import logistics and handling of administrative and regulatory formalities.

Issuance of documents guaranteeing the origin and the respect of the specifications.

Training of the partner producer to the specificities of the European market (quality, packaging, labeling, traceability…)

Setting up of an organic certification with the producer on the basis of a long term contract

Concrete results

After 3 months of research and qualification of a specific channel, several tens of tons of 100% natural and traceable plant material could be delivered to the customer. He was able to make his plant extract on time and with the required quality.

A vegetable ingredient of new origin was thus able to be offered to the customer, which secured its supply while avoiding a costly shortage.


The most critical thing is not to find reliable suppliers but to know exactly what the customer needs and to take the time to look for the right partners. Is the origin a key criterion, is it the quality, the price, the ethical approach, the immediate availability of the required material? What about contaminants and the consideration of environmental factors? Without prior in-depth discussion with the client, any research is futile. The commitment must come from both the supplier and the customer.