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Green Convergence

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: June 5, 2007, from the June 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

Momentum is growing in the areas of naturals and natural product sustainability, and global cosmetic and personal care markets benefit from increased interest and spending. The new naturals consumer, in addition to interest in organic foods and natural health care methods, is interested in appearance and personal care as a means of preventive health care.

According to Euromonitor, consumers are increasingly aware of their health from a holistic standpoint and value the recognition of beauty as an outer reflection of that. The realization that both are integral to one another has affected demand for natural and organic ingredients.

The link between nutrition and beauty, says Euromonitor, is becoming well understood, inspiring beauty supplements such as Inneov from L’Oréal/Nestle and functional food-based cosmetics, including Origin’s mushroom-based antiaging line, endorsed by Dr. Andrew Weil. Still, other marketers are rolling health care and beauty into overall treatment programs. Murad Inclusive Health Center, for example, offers visitors the Murad Method Program—combining diagnostic tests, skin analysis and nutritional evaluations with treatments that include topical, internal and stress reduction recommendations to promote longevity and healthy beauty from the inside out.

Conscience and Economics Converge

While the terms “naturals,” “organics” and “ethically wild crafted” are becoming familiar vernacular in the beauty and health arena, both manufacturers and consumers are feeling their way through a transition as conscience and economics converge. The natural personal care market, says Darrin Duber-Smith, president of Green Marketing, Inc., is currently valued at $6.5 billion, and the category has been growing at 15% annually for the past 10 years. “That is significant growth as the whole personal care market is growing at 3%,” said Duber-Smith.

Natural remains a decidedly ambiguous term. Unlike organic, which is strictly regulated by federal organic food guidelines, the word natural is variously defined to include products that may contain ingredients that are naturally derived or contain a certain percentage of natural materials. “You can’t define a natural product until you define a natural ingredient; for example, ‘derived from nature and naturally processed,’ meaning it is not synthetic and not synthetically processed. Animal, vegetable and mineral is natural, but if you introduce synthetic processing, it’s no longer natural,” says Duber-Smith. “Organics have been defined and the organics industry has a competitive advantage, which will cross over into personal care. Since the naturals industry is 10 times larger than the organics industry, it is important to have a clear definition and understanding of naturals to eliminate potential consumer confusion.”