Cargill Beauty MD: E-commerce, plastic, transparency and veganism just a ‘few challenges’ in 2020

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

And all of these trends have translated into a 'massive increase in demand' for naturally-derived ingredients that perform (Getty Images)
And all of these trends have translated into a 'massive increase in demand' for naturally-derived ingredients that perform (Getty Images)

Related tags Cargill Beauty Consumer trends Sustainability transparency COVID-19 vegan beauty naturally derived

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled seismic change worldwide, but consumers are also increasingly online, dismissing plastic, demanding transparency and choosing vegan – all significant challenges for today’s beauty industry, says the managing director of Cargill Beauty.

Earlier this year, data specialist GlobalData published its Top Trends in Beauty and Grooming 2020 ​report that said digitalisation, wellness and sustainability – trends born from indie beauty – would continue to be important​ in a “year filled with uncertainty”. ​More recently, survey data from e-commerce specialist Bazaarvoice suggested the 2020 Christmas rush would largely be online​, as consumers prioritised digital shopping amid COVID-19.

Bente Korsgaard Andersen, managing director at Cargill Beauty, said the global coronavirus outbreak had certainly brought about some “ground-breaking change inwhat the world once perceived as ‘normal’”.

“This pandemic has had a devastating impact on communities and economies around the world, and as a global organisation we will have to be resilient and to continue to innovate and adapt to this new normal,”​ Andersen told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

So, how exactly did Cargill Beauty plan to push forward in 2020?

Beauty must anticipate ‘rapidly changing’ consumer behaviours

The goal over the next few years for Cargill Beauty, she said, would be to maintain a strong focus on ingredient innovation in hair care, coloured cosmetics, facial masks, rinse-off products and wider personal care applications. But, this would have to be done whilst anticipating “the rapidly changing behaviours of consumers”, ​she said.

Bente Korsgaard Andersen, managing director at Cargill Beauty
Bente Korsgaard Andersen, managing director at Cargill Beauty

“In the past decade, we have seen a series of changes on how consumers are informed and influenced, and how they make purchase decisions. Information has become increasingly available and social media has enabled to rapid sharing of information and opinions. The growth of e-commerce, the race against plastic, the demand for transparency, the rise of veganism – just to name a few challenges – just can’t be ignored.”

Andersen said consumers were becoming “more mindful”​ about the beauty products they purchased – demanding transparency and looking to understand the story or stories behind each one.

“They want to know where their product comes from, how it is produced, what’s in it, and be assured that is has been produced with respect for the planet and the welfare of both people and animals. Building a strong story behind the brand is a priority for personal care manufacturers in order to maintain or regain consumers’ trust.”

Rising demand for nature-derived beauty products ‘that also perform’

And these consumer trends translated to a “massive increase in demand for nature-derived cosmetic products that also perform”, ​Andersen said.

“…When we look at the market and specifically the consumer demand for nature-derived and more sustainable ingredients, the potential is almost unlimited.”

Cargill’s recently launched starch-based emulsifier StarDesign Power and its citrus peel fibre stabiliser FiberDesign Sensation that was made from an existing pectin sidestream both tapped into this, she said. Both developments also harnessed Cargill’s expertise in other areas – notably food technology, she said.

“In addition to a dedicated beauty team, our business has strong relationships with the other Cargill segments to support sourcing and production of the ingredients we bring to market,”​ she said.

“…It’s one of the great things about being part of Cargill, is there is actually a lot to leverage in order to really make a difference”.

Small business unit with ‘very high growth aspirations’

Andersen said that whilst Cargill Beauty remained a small business unit within the wider company – less than 100 people among the 160,000-something within Cargill – Cargill Beauty had “very high growth aspirations”.

“The beauty business is a key pillar in Cargill’s growth strategy,” ​she said.

“…Cargill Beauty has managed to substantially grow our business in various segments year on year. At the same time, we realise that we are relatively new to the industry, so it takes time to understand the market and the customers and respond to their demand with relevant product launches.”

The goal, she said, was to continue learning more and investing in worldwide ingredient launches - largely in hydrocolloids -with a particular push in Asia and China – a region and market “growing at warp speed”.

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