L’Oréal’s recent launch of Seed Phytonutrients is the latest foray of multinationals in the natural & organic cosmetics market. Unilever has also launched the Love, Beauty and Planet brand in the last 12 months. Both brands are looking to capitalise on consumer demand for ‘clean beauty’ products.
More Natural Product Launches (NPL) are expected from multinationals, however Ecovia Intelligence believes not all will be successful. As was shown at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in Hong Kong in November and will be shown in San Francisco this month at the Natural Cosmetics Masterclass (www.ecoviaint.com/masterclass 19/), the global natural & organic cosmetics market has many intricacies. Retail sales of such products have grown from almost nothing to USD 10.2 billion between 2002 and 2017.
Consumers are turning to natural & organic products as they wish to avoid contentious synthetic chemicals in cosmetics & toiletries. The primary motive is avoidance of parabens, SLS / SLES, and chemicals with associated health risks. However, many consumers are also buying such products because they want to support small independent ethical brands.
Ecovia Intelligence sees consumer acceptance as a major challenge for multinationals. Research shows consumers identify with small / indie brands with green values; the same consumers will shun green products from large corporations. As has been shown at sustainability summits, the way forward may be integration while differentiation: acquire natural / organic brands yet maintain their independence and core values.
As ethical consumerism becomes mainstream and natural & organic products continue to make inroads in conventional channels, the multinationals cannot ignore this important trend. Large companies like L’Oréal and Unilever will continue to hedge their bets between developing green products and outright acquisitions.