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Media and consumer attention on certain ingredients could stifle innovation, Euromonitor

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 07-Feb-2013

Media and consumer attention towards certain ingredients used in beauty and personal care can stifle innovation in the industry, according to a Euromonitor analyst.

In Part one, John Madden, Global Head of Ingredients Research at Euromonitor outlined the trends for 2013 and the challenges the industry may face this year.

He outlined that innovation is an increasingly difficult aspiration due to the recession, regulatory obstacles, and in this second part, states that media and consumer attention towards certain ingredients in beauty and personal care, may also take its toll.

“Consumers perception of ‘so-called’ nasty chemicals is very important, and to be honest, this is tied in very closely to the media, consumer groups and various pressure groups,” he explains.

Power of perception

There are a few examples in recent times of certain ingredients stealing the headlines and attracting some unwanted attention, which Madden, as well as other industry bodies, says is turning consumers away from products containing them.

Scientific studies picked up and reported in the media questioning the safety of parabens in cosmetics products has led to many formulators avoiding them as there is now high consumer demand for  paraben-free formulations.

Parabens are the most widely used preservatives, present in thousands of personal care products that include moisturizers, shampoos, toothpastes, lubricants, and gels.

However, the media reports have alerted consumers, and Madden questions the power of media attention on consumer perception and how this can affect the ingredients industry.

“How many consumers are really aware of parabens, yet the media respond to any mention of these,” he says. “Cosmetics are very much about public perception, and in many countries around the world, public perception now is that parabens are bad for you. This has resulted in numerous cosmetics product being formulated as paraben-free.”

In the firing line

Triclosan has also received a lot of attention due to certain studies highlighting health and environmental concerns over the ingredient.

“The antibacterial ingredient triclosan is another example of an ingredient that has had a lot of adverse publicity, particularly from environmental pressure groups,” states Madden. “The FDA is again reviewing the position of triclosan and a statement was expected at the end of 2012.”

“Another issue that has been driven by the media and in turn consumer groups is the use of sulphates in personal care products; and all sulphates are now tarnished; and the situation will not get any better as more mainstream brands launch sulphate-free products.”

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