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How to stay ahead in the green cosmetics game

By Simon Pitman , 22-Jan-2013
Last updated on 22-Jan-2013 at 12:34 GMT

In many ways market entry into the natural and organic cosmetics category is easier these days but success will not come without integrity, according to a Euromonitor analyst.

In an insight published by the research group’s analyst Johanna Kolkerski-Bezerra, the main observation in the evolution of the still fast-growing natural and organic category is that continuing on a transparent and truthful path is of utmost importance.

Indeed, if the correct approach to organic or natural cosmetics is taken, the category has reached a point in its evolution whereby a lot of the infrastructure and consumer awareness is already in place to expedite market entry for bigger manufacturers .

Play the right cards and you're in

“Playing the organic or the natural card can be a bright strategy to enter a new distribution channel,” said Kolkerski-Bezerra.

“By expanding their brand portfolio with organic or natural-positioned products, mainstream manufacturers could not only meet the demand of eco-conscious consumers but also expand their distribution by entering health and wellness stores.”

Brand owners have also been helped by the rapid evolution of increasingly large retail channels, some of which have been created especially to target natural and organic consumers, with Kolkerski-Bezerra citing the growth of the US-based Whole Foods chain in the UK and the Auchan group’s Coeur de Nature in France.

But the analyst also emphasises the fact that, despite some aspects of natural and organic market entry getting easier, there is one area where brand owners will have to remain very much on their toes, and that is integrity.

A greener and more genuine approach

“In order to stay ahead of the game, manufacturers would be wise to emphasise their greener and more genuine approach to cosmetics,” said Kolkerski-Bezerra.

“However, they need also to be aware of the danger of greenwashing, that is to say, claiming more sustainable or more natural than is really the case,” she added.

With consumers growing more and more savvy about environmental issues, making unsubstantiated claims is more and more likely to be questioned, and if the claim is spurious enough, it can backfire to create a public relations nightmare that could take a significant amount of time and resources to repair.

“This leads to lack of trust by consumers.  We are living in a cultural era where digital communication is becoming increasingly important and where consumers are better informed… transparency and brand consistency are vital to gain consumers’ trust,” said Kolkerski-Bezerra.

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