PASS is a competitiveness cluster for medicinal and aromatic plants based in South of France. It aims at providing tools for production, exploitation and valorization of aromatics and medicinal plants that can be used in the composition of cosmetic products, toiletries, detergents, food products or food supplements.
The cluster covers many activities such as cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants, industrial activities in perfumery and cosmetics, extraction and composition of flavours and fragrances, production of dyes and biocides, and activities within the scope of food and flavor industries.
The cluster focuses its efforts on four areas:
- Protecting the consumer and the environment (development of alternative methods for animal testing, safety and efficacy studies, analysis of mechanisms underlying allergies, irritation and sensitization to better anticipate adverse reactions...);
- Developing methods for the processing, characterization and analysis of natural raw materials (biocatalysis, supercritical or subcritical fluids, ultrasound, microwave, ohmic heating...), in order to create products with reduced environmental impact;
- Structuring training courses so as to align the training supply with industry needs;
- Making the best use of the regional biodiversity, especially to open up new markets for aromatic, medicinal and Mediterranean plants.
PASS relies on an aromatic industrial sector which is long-established in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the first French region for the production of aromatic plants and the world leader for the production of lavender essential oil. Nowadays, the cluster gathers SMEs producing aromatic ingredients and companies in perfumery and cosmetics (e.g. Chanel, Charabot, Payan Bertrand, Albert Vella, L'Occitane, Monique Rémy Laboratories, International Flavors and Fragrances, Cargill Flavor Systems, Air Liquide…).
Besides, PASS brings together higher education and research institutions (University of Avignon, University of Provence, Laboratoire Chimie Provence, GRAPPE, LBVPAM...), as well as its founding members (PRODAROM, SNIAA, COSMED, FranceAgrimer...) and institutional partners that have helped in its financing (e.g. the European Regional Development Fund, DIRECCTE, the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, departmental councils, or the agglomeration community of Azur Provence).