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Results Driven

Sara Mason

Complementary to "The Future is Here," Mike Efting,president, Viachem, Ltd., offers insight on how the industry is responding to consumers’ desires for innovative and results-driven antiaging products.

What role does innovation play in bringing enhanced quality of product to consumers?

Innovation is the life blood of new product introductions. We’re seeing major personal care companies increasing their R&D budgets in 2010, and planning to introduce new, higher quality products into the market.

For example, to target the growing aging population, which is expected to grow as much as 115% over the next 10 years, many companies are targeting the segment with innovative and high-end quality products tailored to their needs. Necessity is the mother of invention, which is why we saw 2009 bring the first introduction of an antiaging aftershave by Dermaplus. This month, Olay is expanding its antiaging offering with facial and full-body creams, lotions and body washes.

How do innovations help products achieve marketing/technical goals?

All products have a “life cycle”, especially in the personal care industry. Consumers can be fickle, motivated by competing factors (price, brand, ingredients), and have constantly evolving needs (from feminine hygiene to diapers). New products, especially niche products, help personal care producers meet their marketing goals. Especially when tailored to popular trends as in the use of botanicals (now organic botanicals) in creams, lotions, conditioners and shampoos. When we work with our end-use customers, it’s to understand how to incorporate fine or specialty ingredients into products in development to ensure the best product possible.

Again, the growing aging population, as well as the spending power of younger demographics. I also feel the economic downturn had a lasting effect on the buying habits of those with limited spending power, reinforcing the need for affordable development.

What is the future of skin rejuvenation?

With the burgeoning aging population, product developers and marketers have a real opportunity to capture the pursuit of “youth” through skin treatments. Given budgetary restrictions for clinical treatments, skin rejuvenation is being adapted to products available from brands, or sub-brands, familiar to this demographic. Again, Olay has a handful of antiaging introductions this month, CoverGirl cosmetics is targeting the market with new products, men have antiaging aftershave and even dishwashing liquid from Dawn promises to beautify hands.

Stem cell technology, cell-targeting and even research into fetal skin healing presents real opportunities in the development of everything from antiaging formulations to scar-smoothing.

One obvious limitation is any controversy that may come with these approaches. However, the possibilities of these technologies include revolutionary solutions for everything from burn victims to products specifically formulated to various areas of the body, namely antiaging. These technologies are fully dependent on the resources dedicated, both staff and financial, as well as imagination, innovation and ability to apply learning in the lab to the development of real products.

What is new and upcoming in innovative technologies from the industry?

One innovative technology that emerged in 2009 was the glycation process, which impairs the functioning of biomolecules that weaken skin structure at the cellular level. Anti-glycation agents, then, prevent this weakening, which leads to a less firm surface and a greater tendency towards wrinkling. Again, we see the focus on antiaging product and ingredient development as driven by consumer demand.

The increased cost of R&D and more costly ingredients affect the finished product costs. This increased expense can compromise the progress of product innovation.

What innovations would you like to see for the industry?

The industry would benefit from developing greener ways to produce finished and raw material ingredients and products. This kind of innovation not only has obvious environmental benefit, but it also will appeal to younger consumers, and upcoming product and ingredient developers.

What innovations are on the horizon? Where is the industry heading?

Again addressing the demand for affordable solutions in the antiaging skin rejuvenation category, we’re seeing more complementary pairings of internal and external solutions. For example, combining dietary supplements containing coenzyme Q10 and a selection of antioxidants and minerals designed to decrease skin roughness and fine wrinkles, with a topical lotion solution and marketing the pairing as an “antiaging system”, which has the potential to replace more expensive and invasive products. We’ve also seen this kind of pairing in marketing acne treatments.

From what other industries can we learn from and glean new ideas?

More so than other industries, we can learn from and glean new ideas from other cultures. Our industry, while rich in development, is short on history, whereas other cultures have a lengthy track record of innovation with diverse products, treatments, solutions, herbal remedies, etc.

How can companies demonstrate responsibility in the marketplace, with regard to ingredient innovation?

Again, we can work to develop greener ways to produce finished and raw material ingredients and products. We can examine ingredients in packaging and packing products to minimize negative environmental impact.

What can the industry do differently in preparation for meeting the needs of tomorrow's consumers?

The industry can evolve its development and introduction process to be more interactive – something we’ve seen in the auto industry as executives engage with customers using social media. The upcoming generation has a need for instant gratification, and expects corporate responsibility and responsiveness. Participating in the conversation through blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets can help the industry understand preferences, concerns, complaints and highlights – from actual products to packaging to marketing.

How does innovation keep brands connected with younger and younger generations of consumers?

Innovation with many products today seems to be tied more the marketing, tying the product to celebrities or popular characters, rather than promoting its benefits. Again though, engaging through social media allows brands to understand preferences for product performance and ingredients, and respond accordingly. The company marketing sunblock needs to know if the Lycus UV Maxgard benzophenone effectively provide the stated UV protection.

What role does the need for sustainability have in ingredient development?

In terms of raw materials, it’s essential to fully examine the sustainability of any natural ingredient as a source. For example, if we found an exotic plant that had great medicinal purposes, we cannot use this ingredient commercially until we have fully determined its sustainability in its natural or a simulated environment. One key area affecting how products are perceived, believe it or not, is in the packaging. Expect to see more bio-plastics, which are more environmentally friendly as opposed to carbon-based plastics. Smaller packaging, and the marketing of it, speaks volumes to consumers about what’s “inside.” In addition, endorsement of healthy or natural claims by regulated agencies or associations create a credible perception, allowing perception to avoid the “snake oil” factor.

How can cosmetics products merge high-tech and natural ingredients?

Natural cosmetics can easily reap the rewards of high-tech ingredients. For example, we’ve seen an increase in sales of Lycus’ UV Maxgard benzophenones based on the incorporation of sunscreens into cosmetics and lotions that would not have contained such ingredients a decade ago. The more demanding consumer expects fewer products to do more, and they expect us to “put it together” for them, similar to the natural multi-vitamin and high-tech acne treatment.

What new or upcoming finished products feature innovative ingredients You are excited about?

With all the resent concerns about DiButyl phalates in the market in both nail lacquers and packing products we are excited about the very effective greener alternatives products such as Tributyl Citrate and Acetyltributyl Citrate offered by Jungbunzlauer through Viachem.

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