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Green Convergence

By Nancy Jeffries
Posted: July 31, 2007
Momentum is growing in the areas of naturals and natural product sustainability, and global cosmetic and personal care markets benefit from increased interest and spending. The new naturals consumer, in addition to interest in organic foods and natural health care methods, is interested in appearance and personal care as a means of preventive health care.

According to Euromonitor, consumers are increasingly aware of their health from a holistic standpoint and value the recognition of beauty as an outer reflection of that. The realization that both are integral to one another has affected demand for natural and organic ingredients.

The link between nutrition and beauty, says Euromonitor, is becoming well understood, inspiring beauty supplements such as Inneov from L’Oréal/Nestle and functional food-based cosmetics, including Origin’s mushroom-based antiaging line, endorsed by Dr. Andrew Weil. Still, other marketers are rolling health care and beauty into overall treatment programs. Murad Inclusive Health Center, for example, offers visitors the Murad Method Program—combining diagnostic tests, skin analysis and nutritional evaluations with treatments that include topical, internal and stress reduction recommendations to promote longevity and healthy beauty from the inside out.

Conscience and Economics Converge
While the terms “naturals,” “organics” and “ethically wild crafted” are becoming familiar vernacular in the beauty and health arena, both manufacturers and consumers are feeling their way through a transition as conscience and economics converge. The natural personal care market, says Darrin Duber-Smith, president of Green Marketing, Inc., is currently valued at $6.5 billion, and the category has been growing at 15% annually for the past 10 years. “That is significant growth as the whole personal care market is growing at 3%,” said Duber-Smith.

Natural remains a decidedly ambiguous term. Unlike organic, which is strictly regulated by federal organic food guidelines, the word natural is variously defined to include products that may contain ingredients that are naturally derived or contain a certain percentage of natural materials. “You can’t define a natural product until you define a natural ingredient; for example, ‘derived from nature and naturally processed,’ meaning it is not synthetic and not synthetically processed. Animal, vegetable and mineral is natural, but if you introduce synthetic processing, it’s no longer natural,” says Duber-Smith. “Organics have been defined and the organics industry has a competitive advantage, which will cross over into personal care. Since the naturals industry is 10 times larger than the organics industry, it is important to have a clear definition and understanding of naturals to eliminate potential consumer confusion.”

While Duber-Smith notes many formulators are comfortable working with synthetics, there is a need to update as consumer demand increases. According to Duber-Smith, the biggest issue is preservatives, citing the reluctance to use parabens. “There are natural preservatives that really work,” says Duber-Smith, adding that their adoption by manufacturers has been slow.

According to the Natural Marketing Institute, 45% of the general population believes that natural and organic products for skin care are as important as healthy foods. Natural Food Merchandiser, based in Colorado, stated 50% of American households use organic products. Major consolidation is occurring within this well-established trend. For example, Hain Celestial acquired JASON Natural Products, which increases its product availability and has been seen as an indication of maturity in the market. In addition, growth rates are still high. Many companies, whether on the supply or finished product side, are following the demands of the market as products enter broader distribution channels.

Supply and Demand
Numerous developments in botanical sourcing, processing and delivery are taking place among a wide range of suppliers, from those who are specifically organic to those who are combining technologies and creating synergies between ingredients, processing and delivery.

Bio-Botanica features nutraceuticals, herbs (available certified organic), floraceuticals, botanical extracts and more. The company offers expertise in fortifying formulas with combinations of natural ingredients and blends. “We are known for the development of innovative functional products customized to the customer’s specifications,” says Mark Sysler, vice president of sales.
Sysler observes two areas of strong demand in cosmetics and personal care. “One such area is the use of all natural preservatives and the elimination of artificial or synthetic preservatives. Bio-Botanica has developed three all natural preservatives, Biopein, Neopein and Suprapein. These preservatives deliver broad-spectrum activity against a wide range of organisms. The other area of strong demand is antiaging.” Sysler adds that the area of organic-specific materials is growing, but the consumer needs to accept the higher costs and pricing that go along with the organic products.

“The industry needs to be creative and bring new products to market continuously to peak the interest of the consumer,” says Sysler. “Condition-specific products will grow the quickest, and the areas of antiaging and wellness will grow the most. Most of all, the ‘snake oil’ companies need to be put in check to prevent negative publicity and keep natural products and organic products pure.”

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