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The Lure of Organic Ingredients

By: Abby Penning
Posted: October 26, 2012, from the November 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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“When marketers choose to incorporate certified organic ingredients, which are generally higher in price, they certainly take the opportunity whenever they can to highlight, in their promotions, whether it’s in the media or on the label itself—with banners or other copy—that organic ingredients are in there,” says Fondots. “They’re really depending on that unspoken beneficial link that the consumer has in mind between ‘organic’ and that which is good—‘that which is good for me’—so marketers don’t even have to make that explicitly point. We’re at a point now where ‘organic’ to the consumer of cosmetic and personal care ingredients certainly means ‘pure,’ ‘less toxins’ and ‘something I want to use that doesn’t cost me too much money.’ ”

Gill also notes the importance of how organic ingredients can help set a particular beauty product or brand apart. “The market space is so intensely crowded out there, even the natural market space, and it’s so difficult for a brand to get a product onto the market,” he acknowledges. “So, ultimately, what you are going to find is that people are reaching for just about any way that they can gather the attention of that consumer. And one perfect way of doing that is to put out a name brand standard, which is the USDA Organic [standard]. It requires zero marketing [of USDA Organic]—everybody knows what it means, or everybody understands the basic idea of what it means.”

There are greater storytelling options with organic ingredients, too. “Depending on how sophisticated they are and what story they want to tell to their consuming market, [marketers] will inquire about the growers,” Fondots explains. “Some will come to us and they want us to identify where [ingredients] are grown, they want to know something about the sustainability practices of that farm. Some of the marketers out there—companies like Aveda and Burt’s Bees—they even want to go see the actual plantations.”

Sabará also notes these benefits, saying, “[Organic ingredients’] supply chain can be fully traceable, and they can be as efficient as synthetic products. The raw materials used in their manufacturing processes are also sourced in a sustainable way while preserving the environment and contributing to social development.”

More attention is also being paid to the efficacy and claims side of organic ingredients. “Something I’m noticing for the first time is the cosmetic industry is taking a serious look at organic ingredients and actually creating organic ingredients with physiological studies that prove a structure-activity relationship. Cosmetic ingredient suppliers are starting to take a little bit more of a scientific approach to what organic is and what organic means,” Gill says.

As organic continues to be a beauty industry buzzword, more brand and more consumers will be interested in seeing what organic has to offer them. And while there are still challenges, ultimately, the benefits seem to outweigh drawbacks in this sector of the beauty world.