The Vita Coco hair care range – in the planning since around 2016/17 – was made up of three lines: Nourish for dry hair; Repair for damaged hair; and Scalp for irritation, each featuring coconut as the star ingredient. The certified vegan offering included shampoos, conditioners, a serum, hair mask and scalp scrub, each formulated with up to 31% coconut and 95% natural ingredients.
The range was available in Vita Coco shops across the UK, France and Germany and online via its own brand website and Amazon, and Tim Rees, managing director of EMEA at Vita Coco, said more retail listings were in the pipeline and further growth planned for the wider EMEA region.
“By 2022, it will be a widely available product range across European retail,” Rees told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
“…I don’t want to give away any spoilers on NPD, but what I would expect for 2021 is launching our range of nine SKUs and establishing those three platforms. As we look forward to next year, you can expect enhancements to the hair care range,” he said.
Beverages to beauty: Scalp care is a ‘very, very exciting part of our portfolio’
Vita Coco was particularly excited about growing its Scalp range, Rees said – a fast-evolving opportunity in hair care.
“This for us is a very, very exciting part of our portfolio (…) I think consumers now are getting this broader understanding that anti-dandruff
doesn’t just mean flakes on the shoulders, but it’s more about how we can support and address scalp health,” he said.
And this opportunity stretched far beyond traditional wash and rinse-off products, he said, with plenty of innovation happening in beauty tools like scalp brushes for exfoliation. “It’s that element of skin care slowly transitioning into hair care.”
Whilst the European hair care market was slightly behind other global markets in scalp care, with the likes of Brazil, China and Russia operating a far more established category, Rees said Vita Coco had high hopes for Europe with the right marketing and product education.
Longer-term, he said the brand would also look to stretch into other personal care spaces – the likes of cleansing and nail care, for example, had already proven important for the coconut ingredient, with benefits already widely acknowledged. “We would like to take Vita Coco into more aisles of the personal care and beauty space, carrying those same credentials of how we showcase the benefits of coconut with innovative, natural-based products that excite those categories as well.”
Entering the market with a ‘very good partner’ and ‘wonderful brand equity’
Vita Coco had partnered with German beauty and personal care specialist New Flag on the product development, manufacture and European distribution of the new hair care range – a partnership Rees said would prove critical given natural hair care was such a competitive category.
“We found a very good partner with New Flag who can aid us admirably on the technical aspect of the product. The brands in their portfolio show technical leadership within their categories and the people within their business are built on careers stemming [from] beauty. In terms of product portfolio and NPD, we’ve got absolute confidence with our partners,” he said.
Asked if this would be enough to enter the highly competitive hair care space, he said Vita Coco also planned to leverage its “wonderful brand equity” and continue its “community engagement and disruptive advertising” as it forayed into the space.
“We are a beverage brand who created a category of coconut water. We have had Coke and Pepsi, via their brands Innocent and Naked, enter and challenge our leadership within those categories and we have successfully fought them off and hold a 70% market share of coconut water in the UK market. So, we are confident we have the organisational agility and level of consumer disruptiveness innate in our DNA for us ‘not to be scared of’ the big businesses and players that are established in some of these categories already.”
“…I think we are an agile, disruptive brand that likes to have fun in the category and share that fun and that humility with our consumer base. That’s how I think we stay relevant,” he said.