Brands and research companies explore UK consumer views on naturals and organics

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Brands and research companies explore UK consumer views on naturals and organics

Related tags Personal care Cosmetics Organic monitor

By 2018 the global market for natural cosmetics is anticipated to reach €10.1bn, and brands in that segment need to be particularly responsive to consumer expectations.

Consumers want products that deliver results from brands that care about the planet and make business decisions accordingly.

Research driven

The consulting group Organic Monitor has published the latest results of a Consumer Insights study, which reflects the views of UK natural and organic personal care product consumers.

The study found that consumers’ health concerns lead them to choose fewer products with synthetic chemicals and opt for organics and naturals instead. Through consumer interviews, Organic Monitor determined that nearly two-thirds of natural personal care product consumers in the UK specifically aim to avoid items containing parabens.   

Formulators include parabens in personal care products as a preservative to safeguard against bacteria. Consumer concern comes from studies that suggest parabens can cause hormone disruption.

An expert consortium

Experts from Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland established a consortium earlier this year with the objective of modelling environmentally friendly production practices and creating cosmetic ingredients via enzymatic biocatalysts.

The project will run for four years, involves 16 institutions, and has outlined several technical and scientific objectives. For instance, the OPTIBIOCAT consortium is striving to establish processes that will improve “the economic efficiency and environmental performance of existing and future biorefineries,”​ according to the project website.

Sustainable supply cycle

Personal care brands are acting in response to consumer expectations and concerns that environmentally centred messaging may become meaningless if it’s used too casually.

The Organic Monitor study speaks to this issue. 21% of UK consumers intending to buy natural and organic products seek out the Fairtrade label, which indicates that producers are justly compensated for their work and conceivably operating sustainable businesses as a result. This may well be of interest to ethically minded consumers, but Fairtrade labelling doesn’t necessarily correlate directly to natural or organic goods.

Aveda wants UK consumers to understand the company’s environmental leadership mission and strives to edit its messaging accordingly, supporting any claims of green practices.

 “The future is a bright one in which consumers will be increasingly able to use products that provide the high-level performance they expect while benefiting the plant and society, thereby allowing them to add new dimensions to their own beauty and well-being through contributing to the health of the earth,” ​Dave Rapaport, VP of earth and community care at Aveda told USA earlier this year.

Digital environment

Online messaging has become more relevant. “The Internet is now the prime source of information on natural & organic personal care products, overtaking friends & family. In 2007, a quarter of consumers said they heard about such products from ‘word of mouth’. Thirty-five percent now get information from hand-held devices, mobile phones and personal computers,”​ according to Organic Monitor.

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