Marketers are searching for the next “hot” ingredient that will make their products superior, and more and more of them are turning to nature to find it. The overall natural grooming market is expected to reach $5.9 billion at retail by 2008, according to the “U.S. Market for Natural Personal Care Products” report by Packaged Facts, a publishing division of MarketResearch.com. This record level is expected to be achieved by gains of approximately 8-9% during the 2003-2008 period.
“Natural ingredients are growing at almost 8% per year, while natural products themselves are seeing growth at double-digit rates,” confirmed Darrin C. Duber-Smith, president of Green Marketing Inc., Nederland, CO.
Entering the Mainstream
“Certainly natural ingredients are growing much faster than ingredients that are synthetically derived and/or processed,” commented Mr. Duber-Smith. “Since demand for ingredients is derived from the end-user, one need look at the growing consumer segment for natural products to project that this rate of growth for ingredients will not slow. Not only is the consumer demand in the natural channels driving growth, but also the inclusion of natural ingredients in more mainstream brands.”
This July, Coty Inc. will introduce Organics, a new natural products collection from The Healing Garden. According to experts interviewed by Happi, launching an organic line for mass market shoppers is a clear indication of what the future holds in terms of consumer demand for natural products.
“Demand has increased dramatically for organic certified botanical extracts, and I believe we are just seeing the beginning of serious interest on the part of manufacturers of personal care products for the mass and specialty markets,” commented Edward Matson, vice president, sales and marketing, Carrubba Inc. “I believe the launch of Coty’s Healing Garden Organics line will further stimulate demand for organic certified ingredients.”
Last year, Carrubba launched a line of aromatic extracts. Typically used to mask base odors without the use of fragrance, Mr. Matson pointed out that marketers are now using higher levels to impart pleasing, natural aromas to personal care products.
|Omni-Smooth Super contains a protein extracted from wheat to promote anti-aging.|
A Natural Approach to Anti-aging
When it comes to any ingredient—whether natural or not—the dominant trend is toward anti-aging, pointed out Mr. Duber-Smith.
“Baby boomers refuse to age and younger generations use these products to remain looking and feeling young,” he commented. “Also, natural products positioned toward men are slow to appear on the shelves. This is perhaps the greatest opportunity for marketers in the natural personal care area due to the acceptance of these products in the mainstream.”
To combat the signs of aging, MGP Ingredients, Inc., Atchison, KS, recently introduced Omni-Smooth Super, a low odor version of its popular Omni-Smooth product. The natural skin-tightening agent consists of gliadin, a protein fraction that is extracted from wheat. In tests conducted at an independent laboratory, the skin tightening effect of a skin cream containing 3% Omni-Smooth Super was measured versus a control cream by an Instron machine on vitro-skin. One hour after application, the cream with 3% Omni-Smooth Super showed a two-fold increase in contractile force compared to the control cream. A six-fold increase versus the control was measured six hours after application and the increased skin-tightening effect was maintained up to 15 hours, according to the company.
“Overall, consumers who fit into the baby boomer category are quite sophisticated and selective,” commented Steve Pickman, vice president of communications for MGP Ingredients. “Health and wellness, as well as a desire to maintain a younger look longer, are factors which play into their purchasing decisions. ‘Natural’ is universally associated with the terms safe, healthy and good. Therefore, personal care products labeled as natural or containing natural ingredients are viewed as being more beneficial, both functionally and in the sense of being nourishing to the hair and skin.”
Finding The Source
As is always the case for suppliers, the goal is to find available new sources that are effective, but not yet discovered.
“Soy proteins, essential oils for natural fragrances, green tea, ginseng, and many other botanicals, as well as vitamins such as C, are big sellers,” said Mr. Duber-Smith. “There are countless natural ingredients indicated for a variety of conditions. Indeed, there is a natural ingredient substitute for every single synthetic on the market. Prices are falling as demand rises and producers become more efficient in their manufacturing processes.”
|Gattefossé offers a line of fruit waters extracted right from the pulp.|
Gattefossé Corporation, Paramus, NJ, introduced a substitute for regular water. The company recently extended Original Extracts, its line of fruit waters, which are directly extracted from the heart of nature as they are the water molecules constituting the natural water from the inside of the pulp.
“Gattefossé is always active in developing upstream network by working with different research groups to develop new ideas and sources of actives either from plants and/or minerals not yet used in personal care application,” commented Arnie Esperance, technical and marketing manager, personal care division. “We are constantly trying to improve extraction technologies to better identify and extract the active components,”
Extracts & Ingredients Ltd., Union, NJ, turned to another fruit, the pomegranate, for its nutritive effects on the body. Pomegranate seed oil is one of about six plant sources known that contains conjugated fatty acids with alternating double bonds. It has significant natural anti-inflammatory properties.
When it came to finding new raw materials, Elmwood Park, NJ-based Finetex went nuts—literally. The company introduced Natrlfine Mac-P3M, a new ingredient derived from triglycerides found naturally within macadamia nuts. According to company executives, macadamia nut oil contains approximately 15-21% palmitoleic acid and approximately 55-67% oleic acid. The percentage of palmitoleic acid is of particular importance, the company pointed out, because it is a component found within the moisturizing constituent of naturally occurring skin lipids. It can be incorporated into all types of skin care, hair care and cosmetic products.
|Draco offers a full line of fruit and vegetable extracts.|
San Jose, CA-based Draco Natural Products offers a full line of highly concentrated fruit and vegetable extracts that can be used in a wide range of functional foods, beverages and dietary supplements.
Presperse, Somerset, NJ, went all the way to South Africa to find the most effective extracts.
Unfermented green rooibos extract exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging properties and has been used for years to promote health; honeybush extract is used in South Africa as a treatment for colic, coughs, allergies, sleep, sun damage and digestive disorders; devil’s claw extract is used for it analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties; and buchu extract is used as a flavor component in herbal teas, while providing relief from rheumatism.
Krismark recently introduced organic red palm oil into its product line with the launch in January this year of the Krismark Harmattan brand of body care products with palm oil and shea butter. The red palm oil contains beta carotene, the highest found in any vegetable oil. It also has vitamins E, K and tocotrienols, which is only found in red palm oil.
|Botanicals and other natural ingredients are going mainstream.|
Delivering on Promises
Many experts were quick to point out that today’s consumer is quite savvy when it comes to purchasing products.
“More and more marketers are seeking to develop products that are predominantly natural, instead of conventional products with promotional amounts of natural ingredients for label claim purposes,” said Mr. Matson of Carrubba.
Although many marketers in the natural personal products category realize this, mainstream marketers must embrace this reality as well, Mr. Duber-Smith pointed out.
“As large marketers with vast distribution begin to offer products that are truly natural, they will begin to attract and expand a loyal customer base,” commented Mr. Duber-Smith. “Yet, simply sprinkling a few botanicals in a largely synthetic formula does not constitute a natural product. They are not fooling many people.”
According to Mr. Esperance, the demand in natural products has become a race not just for chemical suppliers but also for personal care product manufacturers.
“It’s become a race to find new sources of natural products, figure out how to offer these products and see who can launch the new ‘cutting edge’ product in the market,” commented Mr. Esperance. “Gattefossé offers a wide range of products for each and every need: ‘classical’ low cost plant extract as well as high-end actives from the vegetal and mineral world. We are always ready to give the best answer to our customer’s needs, from a marketing concept to a highly technical ingredient.”
Last year Gattefossé launched a certified organic version of the company’s No. 1 active, Gatuline RC, which is extracted from beech tree buds. The anti-wrinkle and anti-aging active is derived from the concept of “gemmotherapy,” a medical science that uses buds for therapeutical goals. Gatuline RC translates this therapy to cosmetics by taking advantage of the highly potential actives hidden in the buds. The harvesting method used to obtain these buds is done with respect to the environment, the company assures. The beech tree buds are gathered from lower branches in order not to interfere with tree growth from a specific region far from urban and industrial areas where there’s no pollution and away from cultured fruit and grain areas (no pesticides). The unique extraction process is based on the stabilization of active components using ultra-high frequency technology without any use of other chemicals and solvents. The in-vitro test shows increase in cell consumption, which indicates an improvement in cell metabolism dynamics, an increase in intracellular energy reserve and keratinocyte protein synthesis with no associated cell growth, according to the company. The in-vivo substantiation shows wrinkle reduction and an increase in skin moisturization.
A More Healthy Approach
There has been an increased demand for joint health products that provide a safe alternative to some prescription drugs recently removed from the market due to safety concerns, pointed out Regan Miles, executive vice president, Unigen Pharmaceuticals.
“Unigen’s Univestin raw material ingredient answers that call by providing a natural alternative to joint health, without the side effects often associated with these drugs,” commented Mr. Miles.
Univestin is an all-natural product derived from two traditional plants that have a history of consumption for thousands of years in India and China. The major components are flavonoids, which are widely distributed natural compounds in fruits, nuts, vegetables and foodstuffs, such as flavins from green teas. Many natural compounds, such as polyphenols from green tea, curcumin from Turmeric, gingerol from ginger, flavonoids from citrus, and fatty acids from olive oil, modulate pro-inflammatory pathways. Univestin is also a strong antioxidant. The multiple natural occurring benefits make it a viable all-natural option for consumers seeking a dietary supplement alternative to aid the body in achieving joint flexibility and joint comfort.
According to Mr. Duber-Smith, there is plenty of room for growth when it comes to natural ingredients, especially in the area of nutritional supplements.
“Many have been slow moving, but consumer data shows the demand for nutritional supplements for personal care is high, indicating that something is wrong with the marketing strategy,” he said. “Perhaps they are not merchandised properly, maybe they should be alongside topical products instead of buried in the supplements section. Perhaps partnerships between personal care companies and supplement manufacturers/marketers need more maturation so that the synergies we know are there can be realized. The supply chain will figure this out in due time.”
The (Nature) Trail Ahead
Even though natural products have been on the market for years, natural products have become much more commonplace and consumers are responding with the demand for more.
“Educated consumers are taking a more active role in their choice of personal care products, and many prefer to use natural products that offer biologically active components with clinically proven health benefits and safety profiles as opposed to the sometimes harsh synthetic ingredients used in the past,” commented Mr. Miles of Unigen. “Though this trend has been in place for a long time, natural products have become much more commonplace, and consumers are realizing the value that natural and effective products—even those used externally—have on one’s overall health. This trend has resulted in more science-based discovery and clinical studies sponsored both by ingredient suppliers and consumer product manufacturers.”
According to Mr. Esperance of Gattefossé, there is still a lot of confusion that needs to be cleared up.
“There is a great future for natural personal care products, but it has to be handled with a perfect respect of the end users, the ultimate consumer,” said Mr. Esperance. “What does natural mean? Are we talking about natural, or apparently natural? Are we talking about naturally renewable sources? Are we talking about products free of GMO, pesticides, heavy metals? Are we talking about certified organic products? There is a wide range of possible definitions which probably need to be clarified. But overall, our industry is mature and we believe that everything is made for the benefit of the end user all along the supply chain. Finished products and ingredients are safer than ever, and their sensory profiles and efficacy are better than ever. Let’s go on giving pleasure to the end users in a better and more natural world.”