European natural and organic category set for big change

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Organic monitor Cosmetics L'oréal

As consumer demand for natural and organic cosmetic products leads
to a rapid evolution of the market, the face of the category looks
set to change enormously, both with respect to what shop shelves
have to offer and in the board rooms.

With market research company Organic Monitor​ estimating that the European market for natural and organic cosmetic products is currently growing at 20 per cent a year, and set to surpass a value of €1bn, the increased activity is likely to give way to big changes.

Organic Monitor believes that in the year ahead this means that more and more companies will be racing to launch more and more new products in the category, and, likewise, larger companies will be trying to buy up smaller companies to increase their footprint.

In particular organic and natural brands are starting to make inroads into conventional cosmetic channels. This means brands such as Weleda and Dr. Hauschka, which once only marketed their products in organic stores, are now stocking their products in pharmacies, department stores and even some supermarkets.

"This 'mainstreaming' of natural cosmetics is similar to what we saw for organic foods in the late 1990s,"​ said Tina Gill, Organic Monitor spokesperson. "We expect to see natural and organic cosmetics to follow the same trend as organic foods."

Clearly, as this happens, retail shelf space will be increasing take up by a growing choice of organic and natural cosmetic and toiletry products that will touch on every category, from hair care to body lotion and every niche in between.

Organic Monitor believes that leading brands will be European-wide market leader, Weleda, followed by regional players such as French company Sanoflore (which was bought up by L'Oreal only last week), UK-based Green People and Germany's Wellments.

And a trend that many of these brands are likely to pick up on in the coming months is product launches containing food ingredients. This is likely to lead to ingredients such as organic chocolate, hemp and products containing exotic plant extracts becoming more and more popular.

Behind all the activity on the product launches front, there is also likely to be a great deal of activity in the board rooms.

L'Oreal has already made it clear that it wants to become a leading player in the natural and organic category, and having bought up both the Body Shop and Sanoflore already this year, its management has indicated that it is likely to be involved in further activity within this area in the near future.

Organic Monitor believes that L'Oreal is determining the pattern of things to come, with small-to-medium-sized organic and natural cosmetic brands likely to be bought up by bigger players at a rapid rate in the course of the next few years.

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