Concept of 'food miles' set to take off in cosmetics

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Natural environment

‘Food miles’ are high up on the sustainability agenda in the food industry but the concept is only just beginning to catch on in cosmetics.

For years the search for new ingredients has taken formulators to distant shores. In recent times increased demand for natural products has fed the trend and the exotic origins of ingredients are now proudly emblazoned on beauty labels.

Green consumers express concern over transport pollution

But environmentally conscious consumers are now likely to turn up their noses at the mention of faraway lands.

In the food industry concern about the pollution caused by the transportation of raw materials and ingredients over long distances is neatly wrapped up in the term ‘food miles’.

Mintel beauty analyst Nica Lewis told CosmeticsDesign.com that the concept is set to take off in 2009 as the sustainability agenda becomes more important.

One stumbling block for the beauty industry in the quest to reduce the miles that cosmetic components travel before they reach market is contradictory consumer trends.

Those consumers who are worried about the environment are often the same ones who look for natural products in beauty aisles.

Sourcing ingredients from distant shores has proved popular with fans of natural cosmetics. Will the same consumers therefore be persuaded to change their preferences and buy locally sourced natural beauty products?

Mintel analyst tips Fair Wild certification

Nica Lewis said that in Europe certification schemes such as Fair Wild would be well placed to navigate this complex landscape of consumer trends.

Fair Wild has been highly active in the Balkan states where the aim was to bring back the raw material supply that had been threatened due to years of war.

Lewis said natural cosmetics manufacturers in Europe may now be looking to source from the region in order to fulfill demand for novel natural ingredients without racking up the air miles.

The Fair Wild standard itself aims to help collectors of wild products get a fair deal and protect the future stability of the supply chain.

Lewis said Fair Trade is also set to move closer towards sustainability in this way in the years ahead.

Related topics: Market Trends

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