Licorice field of consumption

Application of licorice in various fields from pharmaceutical to food industries

Liquorice extract is used in the food, pharmaceuticals, tobacco and cosmetics industry. The bulk of liquorice extract is used in the following industries:  

  • Pharmaceutical Industry  
  • Tobacco Industry   
  • Confectionery  
  • Chocolate Industry  
  • Cosmetics 
  • Supplementary Nutrition  
  • bNatural sweetener
  • Traditional medicine  
  • Food and beverage  
  • Spices  
  • Pet food 
The European liquorice extract market can be segmented according to end users. These include the cosmetic, food, health products and pharmaceutical and tobacco industries.

Cosmetic industry 

Cosmetic formulators use liquorice extract because of its wide range of properties. Liquorice extract is classified as bleaching, emollient, skin conditioning, smoothing, soothing and perfuming. It can be used in personal care products designed for specific segments. The extract is used as:

  • Antioxidant  
  • Lightening Whitening Agent    
  • Purifying Agent   
  • Anti-aging Agent  
  • Anti-inflammatory   
  • Antimicrobial 
It is used in skin-lightening personal care products. The active parts are called glabridin, and isoliquirtigenin. The amount of glabridin in liquorice extracts varies between roughly between 4 and 40 percent. Liquorice extract soothes the skin, which makes it ideal for sun-care cosmetics. Its anti-inflammatory and calming properties help ease sunburn damage. It is also used in anti-ageing cosmetics because it contains several anti-ageing properties. The extract also contains glycyrrhetic acid and flavinoids that have antioxidant and regenerative properties.

Food industry 

The European food industry uses liquorice in confectionary, dairy, beverages and bakery products. This is because of the benefits liquorice provides to these products. For example, in confectionary and dairy products and ice-cream in particular, liquorice is used for its flavour.

Health Products and Pharmaceutical industry 

Pharmaceutical companies use liquorice in their products because of its health properties. The health benefits of liquorice include it acting as an anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and hepato-protective agent. Liquorice is also used in pharmaceutical products that treat sore throats and coughs, as well as oral care products. 

Tobacco industry 

Tobacco manufacturers use liquorice extract to add its flavour and smell to tobacco. The tobacco industry also uses liquorice root and its extracts to flavour chewing tobacco. The tobacco and food and beverage sectors account for around two thirds of the liquorice extract market in Europe.