European market for natural oral care set to boom

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Oral care Economics Colgate-palmolive

The natural trend is spilling over into the oral care segment and if latest market forecasts are anything to go by, consumers cannot get enough.

All over Europe there has been a proliferation of natural and organic oral care products, further boosted by many of the mainstream providers incorporating natural-based ingredients into their formulations.

Interest in these kind of products has led to a market that is now vauled at €90m, but one that is continuing to grow at around 15 per cent per annum and is dominated by the UK, France and Germany, according to Organic Monitor.

Increasing use of plant extracts

As in the US market, one of the key trends that is characterising the segment is the increasing use of fruit and plant extracts as ingredients, many of which are certified organic.

Ingredients such as mint, aloe vera and tea tree are becoming increasingly popular, says organic monitor, whereas some unusual ingredients such as pine nut oil and pineapple extract are also starting to pop up.

However, unlike the US natural oral care market, there is a growing number of oral care products that are being certified by approved certification bodies.

Biggest European player is Weleda

The biggest natural oral care brand in Europe is Swiss player Weleda, which is currently market leader in just about country.

The natural oral care market first took off in the US, where Tom’s of Maine, which was bought out by Colgate-Palmolive in May 2006, has led the way, carving out a 50 percent share of a market that is currently valued at $160m.

In the US Organic Monitor predicts that market growth will average a breakneck pace of 20 – 25 per cent, but Europe is fast catching up as consumers become more aware of what natural oral care is about and the choice of products continues to grow.

Colgate-Palmolive and GSK battle it out

Throughout the current economic crisis, leading global oral care providers, including Colgate-Palmolive and GSK have been returning solid sales figures because the oral care is particularly well insulated from economic fluctations.

In 2008 Colgate-Palmolive bucked otherwise gloomy results in the personal care sector, announcing that sales grew by 11 per cent to $15.32bn, backed by an increase in net profits of 13 per cent to $1.95bn – a result that was mainly driven by the company’s oral care division.

Although Colgate-Palmolive remains the undisputed market leader in the oral care category, in recent years GSK has been successful at growing its oral care revenues at a faster pace than its competitor.

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