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Emerging cosmetics industry trends – comment by NATRUE

Changing trends in the cosmetic industry impact the natural and organic cosmetic sector. These include areas such as clean beauty, conscious and ethical consumerism including vegan formulations, sustainability of raw materials and their sourcing and packaging.

Exclusively for Better Retailing Magazine, Cecile Zumbiehl of certification marque NATRUE, observes:

“An aspect that links these trends is a crucial change in consumer behaviour: they are always looking for new ‘green’ alternatives. The principle product categories for natural and organic cosmetics continue to be leave-on products such as face and body creams, lip balms, colour cosmetics such as lipsticks, and rinse-off products like shampoos and shower gels. In terms of claims driving new trends, anti-pollution has recently become one to look out for.

“Apart from ethical labelling such as vegan formulations, consumers have a clear interest in more conscious consumption and are therefore increasingly conscious about their beauty routine and finding more eco-friendly products. Consumers are now looking ever more closely at the ethical and sustainable profile of brands and identifying whether these share their same personal values. In 2017, Ethical Consumer reported that almost a quarter of UK consumers avoided buying certain cosmetic products for ethical reasons.

“Within this scope of ethical purchasing there is an increasing focus on sustainability and ethical sourcing of raw materials for products. This has been seen first of all with certification schemes for raw materials like palm oil. Consumers are more and more looking to understanding where the ingredients in their products are sourced, whether the people are treated and paid fairly, as well as an ingredient’s origin and how it is manufactured.

“Equally with recent campaigns to ban microplastics, as well as consumer concern about the environmental fate and impact of the plastic they use in general, an area of growth is increased investment in post-consumer recyclable plastic materials into cosmetic packaging for an improved environmental footprint.

“It is not a mandatory criteria requirement in the NATRUE standard for certified products carrying the NATRUE seal to be vegan so a precise percentage of vegan NATRUE-certified products cannot be estimated, but it is known that a large proportion of products carrying the NATRUE label also carry a vegan seal.

“Finished product formulations that are compatible with veganism are definitely a growing trend to watch. Yet, at the same time, it is important to remember that veganism is a way of living; not just a choice of ingredients from plants. As such, we have seen vegan claims on products that may not meet consumer expectations of what it means to be vegan. For instance, if animal testing was carried out on a product despite the ingredients coming from plants.

“Consumer behaviour is changing and we are seeing a particular focus for ‘green’ products including natural and organic cosmetics. However, it should be noted that there are many shades of ‘green’ and with no official definition to-date for a natural or organic cosmetic, we still see greenwashing leading to products inconsistent with consumer expectations.

“Market growth is fuelled by consumer demand. However, in the absence of a clear market definition, reports of the market size of the certified natural and organic cosmetics can vary. As such it is not surprising that the estimates for the global market for natural and organic cosmetics range between $8m and $20m. Nevertheless, estimates broadly agree that the global market is on the rise, with growth of around 7-10% with rising competition too. In the EU, where certification by one of the established schemes accounts for over two-thirds of products, the natural and organic cosmetic sector remains resilient with a continued growth rate at 5%-7%.”

A study commissioned by NATRUE and carried out by GfK on consumer expectations can be downloaded here. See our next article for further comment on beauty and skincare by the Soil Association.

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