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European naturals market set to break records this year

By Simon Pitman , 03-Oct-2008
Last updated on 03-Oct-2008 at 13:36 GMT

The mainstreaming of natural and organic personal care products means that the value of the European market is set to exceed €1.4bn this year.

According to preliminary research from Organic Monitor, the European market for natural and organic cosmetics is continuing to grow as consumers seek out products that are ‘chemically-clean’ as well as having eco-friendly qualities.

Furthermore, what is really helping to drive sales is the fact that these type of products are becoming more and more readily available, with some of Europe’s biggest retailers, including supermarket chains such as Tesco and Carrefour, now stocking their own private label ranges.

Organic Monitor notes that as consumers become increasingly formulation conscious, this is translating into an attraction to products that are labelled as ‘free-from...’, ‘natural’ or ‘organic’.

Consumers more knowledgeable

But whereas consumers have in the past been ‘duped’ by products pertaining to be natural, but actually turning out to be anything but, they are now much more knowledgeable about what constitutes a natural or organic product.

This means that personal care products that are simply marketed as being natural or organic, without having the proper credentials to back up their claims are simply being rejected for more genuine offerings.

Recognized certification from bodies such as France-based Ecocert and the UK-based Soil Association are helping to ‘guide’ consumers, as they set the standards for consumers to identify genuine natural and organic products.

Fairtrade increasingly important

In tandem with the development and proliferation of these certification processes, fairtrade is also playing an increasingly important part in the naturals and organic category.

Evidence of this comes from the fact that some of the leading organic certification bodies have already integrated fairtrade principles into their certification processes.

Indeed, Organic Monitor points out that in the future some convergence between natural and organic standards with fairtrade standards is likely to occur, which should have a knock on effect for personal care fairtrade market share.

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