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The Rise in Natural Functional Fragrances

Kristen Walker, Mintel

As consumers continue to seek more functionality and value from the products they purchase, product introductions across a range of categories have been revamped and reformulated to appeal to a broad range of consumers with various tastes and needs. Although much of the initial activity occurred in food and beverage segments, today products across the board have been reformulated to appeal to consumers who want more purpose and function from their purchases. The fragrance category has been no exception, and there have been many recent introductions that do far more than simply refresh and freshen-up the consumer.

Natural Instincts

There has been a heightened awareness in recent years regarding the use of synthetic materials. Consumers first began to demand more product naturalness from their food and beverage purchases; however, in recent years, we have seen all-natural, organic and preservative-free products appear in a growing number of categories, including the personal care segment. According to Mintel GNPD, between 2005 and 2007, global organic fragrance introductions increased by more than 400%, and these products are set to continue this trajectory through 2008.

In the United States, for example, Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom Solid Perfume is said to have a stirring scent of fresh, sweet lemon blossoms, lemon peel and dry grass. This perfume contains a blend of essential oils and is certified vegan and free from GMO's. Beyond the GMO-free formulation, Pacifica's solid perfume also contains no preservatives and uses the natural elements of organic coconut wax and organic soy wax. Similarly in France, L'Occitane en Provence Citrus Verbena Intense Eau de Toilette is a concentrated formula that brings together zesty notes of citrus fruits and refreshing verbena in a travel-friendly design. The product is formulated with organic verbena extract, lemon essential oil and grapefruit extract.

A Sensory Experience Through Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy product claims in the fragrance category have skyrocketed in recent years, and these introductions have already increased by 73% when comparing 2007 to the first nine months of 2008, according to Mintel GNPD. Fragrances are a natural fit for aromatherapy claims, and as consumers continue to seek more functionality from their products, launches that promise to awaken, relax and revive consumers are growing in popularity. Formulations claiming to relax frequently include lavender and vanilla, while products positioned to awaken and energize the consumer often include bold floral and citrus scents.

In the United Kingdom, Avon Make Me Smile Eau de Toilette is a new fragrance said to give the wearer an uplifting experience with mandarin, bergamot and florals. In the United States, Seven Palms SpaOasis White Tea Lavender Relax Eau de Parfum combines the notes of white tea with lavender to promote restful enjoyment all day long.

Functional Fragrances

Functional claims have recently been made by several fragrance products. These products claim to do more than simply provide the consumer an alluring scent, and an increasing number of products are citing tangible benefits that can be achieved through specially formulated fragrances. Giving products this functional positioning has done much to add value to a number of personal care sectors, but functional benefits in the fragrance category is particularly noteworthy.

In the United States, for example, Harvey Prince Ageless Fantasy claims to be the first antiaging fragrance that also promises to make users smell younger and more youthful. It is formulated with essential oils that produce feelings of well-being, including a blend of pink grapefruit, mango, antioxidant-rich pomegranate, jasmine and musk. Also in the United States, one product line promises to enhance users’ yoga and meditation practices. Aveda Chakra 5 Balancing Body Mist is a fusion of pure essential oils blended to balance the throat chakra according to ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India. Essences of organic grapefruit, rosemary and ylang-ylang are said to leave the user feeling well-balanced.

Consumers will continue to seek functionality and multiple uses from the products they purchase. Not only will many fragrances achieve their original, intended purposes, but we will likely continue seeing new product functionalities appear as fragrance manufacturers work to appease consumers seeking more products with natural formulations and unique benefits.

Courtesy of Perfumer & Flavorist magazine.

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