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Parents Look to Nature for Baby Care

By: Sara Mason
Posted: April 7, 2009, from the April 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

Sweet Grass Farm launched its FarmBaby line last spring, with the goal to provide affordable, natural baby care to eco-conscious moms.

Baby care is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global cosmetics and toiletries market and will remain so during the next five years, according to Euromonitor International’s forecast. The market is expected to expand by nearly $1 billion, reaching $6 billion by 2012. Growth has been fueled by the constant introduction of new brands, product extensions from existing brands and the increasing accessibility of these brands. Notably, the natural niche within this segment has grown as more consumers switch to natural personal care products for both themselves and their babies.

Questions over the safety of a number of cosmetic ingredients took center stage last year—with phthalates, parabens and triclosan all taking their turn in the spotlight. And a widespread and general consumer concern about chemicals in personal care products is pushing both expectant mothers and parents of new-born babies to ante up for personal care products that are free of certain chemicals and synthetic colors, fragrances and dyes. Parents have become particularly concerned about the level of chemicals in baby products—which, combined with environmental issues, are alleged to be factors in the rising rates of baby allergies.

“As a result, we have seen an increase in mothers desiring a healthier, more natural lifestyle for themselves and their families and a lot of newly generated excitement about the increased trend toward products that utilize ingredients found in nature,” said Vincent Maupu, product director, Aveeno Baby. “These parents believe that using natural and organic skin care products for little ones is just as important as eating healthy, nutritional foods.”

Affordable for Consumers and Buyers

While trends are particularly strong where more affluent parents choose premium priced natural products, parents of varying income are more informed about their children’s well-being and tend to choose natural-positioned products from day one. Despite the economy, women have made the purchase of perceived safer products for themselves and their babies a priority. Moms are looking for products that offer functionality—multifunctionality is even better—along with benefits such as ease of use and portability, according to Natalja Millsap, president and owner of Sweetsation Therapy, which is currently working on an organic sun care product for babies.

In addition, she says that peace of mind trumps small monetary savings for many of these consumers. With new brands entering the marketplace all the time, however, consumers may find it is not necessary to sacrifice their pocketbooks to go more natural.

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