The trend for products that come in individually packaged treatment units is overwhelmingly dominated by anti-ageing products for the face. However, unit dose technology, as it is referred to by Nica Lewis, senior analyst at market research company Mintel, is spreading to other areas of the beauty regime. A recent example of a body product is France-based Maria Galland's intensive anti-cellulite treatment. The product comes in ampoules for a measured daily dose with two packs of 14 ampoules each containing a month's treatment. Convenience drives the trend According to Lewis the trend is being driven by a need for convenience, especially for the increasingly 'nomadic' modern day consumer. "Unit dose is convenient for individuals who travel frequently and who only take carry-on luggage as the individually packaged units will contain less than 100ml of liquid," said Lewis. In addition, she noted that the smaller packages give the idea of a highly concentrated, highly effective product. However, she said it was difficult to know whether products packaged in this way were indeed more concentrated than their more traditionally packaged counterparts. Reduces need for preservatives Another company to have followed the unit-dose road is Vitivia, the aesthetic division of US-based JSJ Pharmaceuticals with its topical vitamin line Pro:Vitamin. Each vitamin formulation is packaged in soft gel capsules containing a single dose to be applied topically to the skin. According to the company, this allows the product to remain preservative-free and solves the stability problems often encountered with topical vitamins. With the modern consumer erring towards all things natural, unit-dose packaging and the potential it provides to reduce preservative content could be a hit. Excess waste? However, this type of delivery system is not without controversy. Another facet of the natural trend is an attempt to cut down on excess packaging. Unit-dose packaging may protect the contents from environmental degradation and therefore cut down the need for preservatives but it may also increase the amount of packaging involved per product. Commenting on the apparent contradiction within the trend Lewis said: "There needs to be a balance between reducing amount of excess packaging and ensuring safety of the content." At the same time as the unit dose trend is expanding we are seeing a move towards refillable products in an attempt to cut down on waste, she said.
Cosmetics that come packaged in daily dose units are becoming increasingly popular, a trend that a Mintel analyst attributes to the desire for convenience.