A recent Mintel study shows France as the fastest growing market in Europe for organic and natural beauty products reflecting the particularly discerning French cosmetics consumer.
Mintel's global new product database illustrates that in 2006 France boasted the largest number of organic and natural beauty product launches in the whole of Europe.
Last year a total of 260 organic and natural products were launched in the country in comparison to a combined 75 in the UK and Germany, however the latter are still stronger in terms of revenue and sales.
Furthermore, 350 new products have already been introduced in the French market in 2007, beaten only by the US where approximately 380 new products have been launched.
"French consumers are overwhelmed by choice in terms of organic beauty products," observed Nica Lewis, head consultant for Cosmetic Research at Mintel.
The majority of these product launches come from French companies, and span a wide range of products categories, the most dynamic being skin care, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the new launches.
However, one product category that seems to lack a strong French presence is makeup products, noted Lewis, contrasting this with the UK where consumers have access to a range of natural and organic makeup from suppliers such as The Organic Pharmacy and Dr Hauschka.
In addition, a major change this year has been the dramatic increase in certified organic (Ecocert certified) ranges.
"This is due, in part, to consumer demand but primarily to the availability of more Ecocert- certified ingredients" Lewis told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
Another trend identified by Mintel is the segmentation of the sector, with more men's organic ranges, and organic baby care products this year then ever before.
Regarding future trends, according to Lewis, we can expect an increase in sustainable and green products, as well as those that promise to cut carbon emissions and practice carbon offsetting.
A leader in this field is the Body Shop, which announced earlier this summer its pledge to only use sustainable palm oil in its products and its aim to become carbon neutral by the year 2010.
In addition Fairtrade certification is making an appearance on the labels of beauty products, for example Themis' day cream that is both organic and fair trade certified, and retails at around €25 for a 30 ml pot.
Although France is the fastest growing market for natural and organic cosmetics (30 - 40 per cent a year) in Europe, valued by Organic Monitor at €150 million in 2006, Germany is still leading in terms of revenue and sales.
Organic Monitor's Tina Gill suggests that the growth of the French market can be put down to the increasingly discerning French consumer, adding that "media coverage of the possible dangers of synthetic chemicals like parabens and aluminium salts is making the French turn to natural and organic products."