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The Process of Going Organic

By: Darrin Duber-Smith
Posted: October 26, 2012, from the November 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.
  • As natural and organic beauty products continue to be a growing trend, more beauty brands are seeking out the process to create and develop certified organic products.
  • The major organic certifications in the U.S. are the USDA Organic and the NSF certifications, but there are variations and caveats to both of them.
  • Going organic isn’t something to be taken lightly. Organic-seeking consumers can turn on products and brands that appear to be greenwashing, so beauty companies need to be prepared to follow through when they make the organic commitment.

There is no doubt the beauty industry has become aware of the need to incorporate natural and certified organic ingredients into its products. The demand for products that are free of synthetic ingredients and processing has not abated, and economic conditions—including the rough ones seen in recent years—do not appear to affect the natural category to any great degree.

Yet, recent research conducted by the Nutrition Business Journal revealed only about 14% of consumers answered “very important” when asked about the relative significance of natural and organic labeling. It appears most consumers still shop on price and that if a product is either natural or certified organic, that could be considered a tiebreaker for many. (For more insight on consumers’ changing behavior toward organic beauty products, see “Organic Beauty: Hip ... or Just for Hippies?”)

What kinds of considerations does this translate to for beauty brand owners? If natural and organic isn’t “very important” to most people, should marketers bother with this process?

Perhaps this discussion should be framed in a different way, however. Because the natural and organic sector has been growing at near double-digit rates for several decades, is it possible consumers might be saying one thing and doing another? Yes, it does, and this happens all the time. Industry growth rates don’t necessarily jibe with what consumers say they want and do, and all consumer data should be taken with a grain of salt.