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Rise of Ethical Consumerism in Europe

Posted: May 7, 2008
The latest research from Mintel Cosmetic Research shows more than 2,260 ethical cosmetics and skin care products* were launched throughout Europe in 2007 alone, a five fold increase from 2006 figures. And 2008 looks set to be another bumper year for the market, as more than 420 new ethical beauty products have already hit the shop shelves in Europe this year. Together, the United Kingdom  and France accounted for 74% of all ethical beauty launches in Europe last year, showing just how in touch with the ethical movement these nations are today.

Although cruelty-free products, which have not been tested on animals, comprise the largest group of ethical beauty products, those that highlight their eco-friendly packaging saw the fastest growth between 2006 and 2007. Approximately half of women in France (49%) and the U.K. (51%) say that they look out for "not animal tested" when buying beauty products. All natural products have also struck a chord, as this is, in fact, the primary consideration for the majority of French women (51%). Meanwhile, 43% of British women also look to go all natural when it comes to their cosmetics and skin care products.

Currently, there is an ever-widening selection of causes and claims made by the beauty industry that continue to capture people's imagination, states Mintel. There is now heightened interest in eco-friendly and fair trade beauty products, and French women are again leading the way. Although 20% of British women want their beauty products to have packaging that is recyclable, this rises to 25% among French women. And when it comes to fair trade products, French women (16%) are twice as likely as British women (8%) to look for this.

* Includes products that are fair trade, not tested on animals, that support a charity and that are environmentally friendly or have environmentally friendly packaging.