How Citrefine supports its customers to launch new products around the globe

Jacqueline Watson, Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

Citrefine is based in the UK, but our active ingredient for insect repellents has a truly global reach. We export to five different continents; 90% of our customers are based outside of the UK and we work with a global network of regulatory and marketing consultants, distributors and manufacturers.

It has taken many years to build our international reach, but, as the insect repellent market is so highly regulated, with requirements varying by jurisdiction and constantly evolving, our network is essential for enabling us to support insect repellent manufacturers with bringing new products to market.

Thanks to our experienced regulatory, technical, sales and operations teams, we are able to help manufacturers with not just new product development, but throughout the entire launch cycle; from concept through to registration, and onto launch in one or many markets globally.

Ready-to-launch formulations

In order to sell insect repellent products, the majority of jurisdictions require them to be registered. As such, the way we can provide the greatest support for our customers to launch new products is through our tried and tested, pre-registered Citriodiol® formulations. With 30% and 20% sprays, the 30% roll on or lotion and 30% aerosol formulations available, we are able to save our customers time, money and resource.

Over the past 25 years, we have invested heavily to ensure the different formulations of Citriodiol® meet the extremely stringent regulatory requirements all around the world. We are now able to pass the benefit of this investment on to our customers. Our pre-registered formulations mean that in many cases our customers are able to apply for a back-to-back registration, which is much quicker and easier than applying for an entirely new registration. Essentially, we provide the data to regulators, our customers state they are using a registered formula and provide the relevant confirmation of data access and regulators are then able to approve the product. If customers were to register their own formulation, they would need to provide new evidence of stability and efficacy (and sometimes more).

This can become not only very expensive and time consuming but requires significant regulatory experience in this specific sector. For example, to sell an insect repellent product in the US, you must undertake an efficacy test, which involves seeking approval from a human ethics review board. This process takes around two years to complete and can make the cost of launching a new product 7 to 10 times more expensive than if you were using a pre-registered formula. If a customer uses one of our registered formulations, they will skip this step entirely.

Regulatory support

Whether customers are creating an entirely new product, or launching an existing one into a new market, the regulatory expertise that we can offer is truly invaluable, due to the many years’ of experience our team has in ensuring that our formulations meet regulatory requirements. The team is split by jurisdiction, so each team member has an in depth understanding of the procedures our customers will need to go through to launch a new product in their respective markets.

Customers benefit from this expertise in a number of ways. Firstly, while we cannot help customers to ‘skip the queue’ when they are registering a new formulation, we can help to reduce delays due to our understanding of the process and common pitfalls new products go through. In addition, because of our reputation for having utmost respect for regulations and only making submissions of the highest standard, regulatory authorities will often have greater confidence in what they receive from us. We always apply this approach, and this regulation credibility helps to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.

Our team is also on hand to help when regulatory meets marketing. Where there are strict regulatory requirements for a product, there are undoubtedly rigorous restrictions on how you can promote it. Our team has a solid understanding of what the limitations are when it comes to marketing insect repellent products – from what you can include on your product label, to what you can claim on social media – and is therefore able to provide our customers with advice and a realistic expectation of how they can market the product, taking into consideration what is permitted. 

Technical expertise

Our team can offer expertise to customers who are developing their own product formulations using Citriodiol®, including providing access to our own studies where possible. It is a very bespoke service, based on the needs and experience level of the customer, but we can help in many areas including how to manufacture with Citriodiol® and how to analyse products. We can also offer advice on how a customer may need to tweak their formulation if it isn’t quite as they want it to be and even for its use in other kinds of products. We apply our knowledge and what we have learned over the past 25 years to help our customers as best as we can.

Ensuring smooth supply

Logistics and supply chain are an important part of launching any product and one of the main ways in which we support our customers is that we are a reliable supply chain partner, delivering stock to our customers when and where they want it. To help facilitate efficient and accurate delivery, we always request forecasts from our customers; if we know what they want and the timescales they need it in, we can plan ahead and ensure they receive the stock they need.

If Brexit and COVID-19 have taught us anything, it is that accurate forecasting and on-time deliveries are not always possible. So, more recently we have made it a policy to keep significant amounts of stock of our own raw materials as well as of Citriodiol®; this allows us to cope with delays and ensures that even if there is an issue in getting raw materials to us, we can still deliver Citriodiol® to our customers on time.

When it comes to delivery, customers can use their own freight agents to come and collect their order, or if they don’t have capacity to do this, we can arrange shipment on their behalf. This is something we have always done, and which has benefitted our global operations and developed our reputation as a trusted supplier.

A key part of what has led our customers to trust us as a supplier is the continued, honest and open communication we provide. If we foresee a problem, we tell the customer straight away. On the flipside, the customer knows that we will do our best to meet their requests and, due to our strong relationships with suppliers, as well as freight agents, we are able to pull strings when needed. For example, we recently had a customer who needed an extremely quick turn around on a delivery so we called our freight agents and simply said “what can we do?” – and with their support we did it. That is the kind of relationship we have with everyone we deal with.

Marketing support

As well as advising on regulatory restrictions in marketing, using our experience and market research capabilities, we are able to keep our customers informed of the key selling points for products containing Citriodiol® and provide resources to help promote these benefits. For example, research shows that more and more consumers are looking for naturally sourced products that have been produced in an ethical manner. We can provide customers with key messages, supporting infographics and data about our green processes and the advantages of using an effective and plant-derived active ingredient, which they can incorporate into their own brand narrative.

Launch Plan

Due to our many years’ experience, as well as the powerful relationships we have developed with national authorities, manufacturers and consultants, Citrefine is well-equipped to help and accompany our customers through every phase of the journey.

Through effective collaboration, our experienced staff and our past investment in registrations, we can assist with everything from initial market research to the registration process, manufacturing and final launch; successfully supporting our customers to bring their naturally derived insect repellent products to market around the globe more quickly and efficiently and ultimately saving time and money.

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