London-based Organic Monitor points out that this development raises many sustainability questions over whether it is better to grow food crops for cosmetics, whilst significant parts of the world population suffer from food poverty.
“There are also concerns the trend could contribute to food inflation and food insecurity,” it adds.
Organic Monitor says it believes part of the solution lies in sustainable extraction methods and the use of food by-products, as a large number of nutrient-rich agricultural materials go to waste in food production, and many of these can be used in cosmetic applications.
The research firm points to French brand Caudalie which developed an extensive range of grapevine-based cosmetics, rich in polyphenols and resveratrol, which are highlighted in its marketing campaigns.
“Other natural cosmetic companies are using similar agricultural by-products from olives, coffee, and citrus fruits in their product formulations,” adds Organic Monitor.
Food ingredients have been an influence in personal care for decades, making their way into cosmetic applications as product developers and formulators look for inspiration from different sources.
With many consumers associating food ingredients with health benefits, such cosmetic products are then usually marketed on these ingredients.
The Body Shop is one example of a cosmetics firm that has been doing this for a while, whilst ingredient companies are also developing novel actives from food sources.
According to Organic Monitor, food ingredients have had most success with natural cosmetics with entire ranges based on core food ingredients, and the late Horst Rachelbacher, founder of Aveda, once promoted his new range of Intelligent Nutrients as ‘safe enough to eat’.
“Whether it is because of product innovations or meeting consumer demand for natural / nutrient-rich cosmetics, food ingredients will continue to make headway in cosmetic applications,” says the research firm.
This issue will be discussed at Organic Monitor’s upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit Latin America which takes place in Sao Paolo on September 28-30, 2015.