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Sustaining Natural Growth

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: October 3, 2008, from the April 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 8

“Product stability and preservation have always been a challenge, especially as the industry has taken a paraben-free stance,” said Setzfand. “Jason has been paraben-free since 2002 and will continue to research and evaluate alternative methods of preserving our products effectively.” Educating consumers about the difference between a truly natural brand such as Jason or Zia and a natural brand in name and marketing only is another big challenge for the company. “There is significant consumer confusion regarding the definition of natural and organic and how natural means vastly different things to different brands,” said Setzfand.

“The organic personal care market in the United States is becoming increasingly competitive with newcomers to the market with fresh marketing approaches,” said Weleda’s Barckley. So, the company works continually to differentiate itself from competitors, communicating product quality, history, brand philosophies, efficacy and more.

Sustainable Supply

It stands to reason that a company committed to producing and marketing natural and organic products would seek to extend the product benefits to the environment and to push that thinking along the supply chain.

Weleda uses recyclable packaging that is safe for its products and safe for the environment. They use either glass bottles or aluminum tubes with protective plastic coating to protect the formulations, or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. Their packaging serves to preserve its products as no synthetic preservatives are used in their formulations. Therefore, packaging is very hygienic. “We are also constantly working to make our packaging even more user-friendly and globally sustainable for both the end user and for the environment,” said Barckley.

At Zia and Jason, they seek to utilize materials made from renewable resources and recycled materials. This extends to marketing collateral, labels, packaging and packing material. “In the past, sourcing such materials has not only been challenging, but also in many cases cost-prohibitive,” said Setzfand. “However, our suppliers have been very responsive and supportive as our volume and demand for environmentally friendly materials grow.” In addition, technological advances have led to the creation of more sustainable materials that are more cost-effective. Increasingly, items are made from corn-based resins instead of petroleum, and post-consumer waste paper has improved dramatically over the last few years, said Setzfand.