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Hot Topics > Naturals and organics

‘Good enough to eat’: the trend for food ingredients in cosmetics gains pace

By Leah Armstrong , 09-Jun-2009
Last updated on 19-Jun-2009 at 16:15 GMT

A rising number of cosmetics companies are now formulating products from ingredients normally found in the kitchen. This is the latest trend to emerge from escalating interest in organic and natural products.

Judi Beerling, technical research manager at Organic Monitor told Cosmetics Design that she has watched this trend develop over the past 12 months. As well as noticing more companies launching natural and organic formulations from edible ingredients, she says “there have been a number of food ingredient suppliers exhibiting at recent cosmetic shows and moving more aggressively into this area.”

Edible products

Yes to Carrots and Intelligent Nutrients have been the brands to overtly exploit this trend. At a recent Natural Beauty Summit, Horst Rechelbacher from Intelligent Nutrients (founder of Aveda) drank some of his hairspray to show how natural the product was.

Similarly, Ido Leffer, CEO of Yes to Carrots ate some USDA lip balm to demonstrate the purity of the food ingredient. The Bodyshop and Lush have been incorporating food in their cosmetics for years, using fresh foods such as bananas. However, their products are not completely edible.

Beerling told Cosmetics Design that she believed that this trend was building upon the widespread public interest in organic and natural products. Although she stated that this was not the only factor in determining the success of the food trend, it was one which “resonated very well with the consumer.”

What are the benefits?

One of the most obvious benefits for companies using food ingredients is the power it gives as a marketing tool. Visual appeal as well as a belief in the purity of the product chimes well with consumers, who are now increasingly receptive to organic and natural cosmetics.

Beerling says that there is often truth behind the consumer perception that organic products are better for you, since “natural ingredients tend to have an affinity with the skin’s structure”.

There are also numerous practical benefits to using food ingredients for cosmetics manufacturers. Food crops are widely available and organic crops are becoming increasingly easy to source. Ingredients can be produced from by-products of the food industry, which is cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Beerling said this is something she plans to elaborate on at the workshop she is holding at the Natural Cosmetics Masterclass, which is taking place in London on the 8th July.

She told Cosmetics Design that, in spite of the current economic climate, she thought this trend was set to rise and rise. “I think we will see some mass market companies enter the market and retailers will develop more affordable own brand natural ranges in general. The likelihood is that those consumers who are increasingly driven by wellness concerns will give these products a try”.

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