The trade body said the Western European cosmetics market grew 3.5 per cent in 2007, which was slightly below the 4.2 per cent growth figure in 2006. Growth driver In a market where consumers expect ever improving products Colipa described research and development as the key to growth. "Without innovation, we would still be washing in animal fat and water," stated the report. It said breakthroughs, such as the arrival of dihydroxy acetane (DHA) in self-tanning products, which helps to solve the streaky appearance problem, can really make a difference to consumers and provide manufacturers with market opportunities. In 2007 the development of cosmocil stearate (CS) in aerosols was described as an innovation highlight as it allows fewer bacteria on the skin over longer periods and therefore provides consumers with a better tool to defend themselves from bad smells. On the quirky side, Colipa said scientists seem to have found a means of recreating the Hollywood 'soft focus' image of the 1940s in a skin care product. Using micro-fine spherical silicone resin particles, manufacturers can help consumers emulate the former heroines of American cinema such as Rita Hayworth and Greta Garbo. New challenges Now the industry faces new challenges that will again increase the bar for cosmetic scientists. The search for alternatives to animal testing and the demand for more sustainable products are two priority areas where innovation will play a central role. The Programme Committee Research chair, Odile De Silva, said these are non-competitive areas where guarded companies can work together for the development of the overall industry. Personnel warning Regarding innovation in the long-term, a word of warning was put forward by Adam Gierek MEP in his keynote message. He said: "The EU is failing to provide enough scientists and technicians to fulfill even its current needs." To address the problem Gierek added that Europe needs to follow the American model and build closer relationships between Universities and industry.