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A Passion for Natural

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: August 29, 2008, from the February 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.
Hain Celestial’s Andy Jacobson

Working in the family business was the seed that grew into a career in the natural product industry for Hain Celestial’s Andrew Jacobson.

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“If you excuse the pun, my going into this business is, well, a natural. When something has been in your life for so long and is something you truly believe, you develop a passion for it.” Today, Jacobson has a family of his own, and he said they try to eat or live with the best quality products that they can, including skin care. It’s the same mind set he takes to work with him every day. “For me, following the principle of making the most efficacious products with the very best plant-based and naturally derived ingredients, while respecting the environment and fulfilling a consumer need, is just the way things should be,” he said, echoing the original philosophy of the organic movement that stood on a balanced platform of local ingredients and sustainable practices among others—including being pesticide- and hormone-free.

His is a powerful statement. At a time when the notion and practice of sustainability are being pushed into the mainstream beauty industry by various forces, companies such as The Hain Celestial Group have been immersed in it for many years. In Jacobson’s view, though, they just don’t get a lot of credit for what they do. He said that if one were to look historically at the brands at Hain, one would see the results of expanding organic farming in support of the family farmer and sustainable organic agriculture.

Jacobson believes that by making a strong investment in its brands, The Hain Celestial Group enables those brands to live up to their original mission. “Hain doesn’t get a lot of credit about the environment or blow its own horn. At Hain, we really do invest in the brands, and we invest in the industry. Natural products are important to all of us. It is always going to be the place where the newest products will be found,” he said.

It is also a “place” that is getting a lot of attention from consumers. Euromonitor put the 2006 global market for natural cosmetics at $3.9 billion, and forecast growth of 9% annually through 2008. In a Euromonitor article from July 2006, the research firm pointed out, “While ‘natural’ is appearing on product labels with increasing frequency, there is no agreement about how the term should be defined and, therefore, what products can legitimately use it.” The article continues, “Using food-grade ingredients circumvents potential consumer skepticism about a product’s naturalness, and also enables manufacturers to take advantage of the known health and beauty benefits of fruits and vegetables.” Jacobson agrees that much of the advancement in the naturals market has come from the food side.