held steady in the 38-39% range, according
to TABS Group, Inc., a Shelton, CT-based
marketing research and consulting company. While food represents the bulk of the
organic purchases, skin care and hair care
were the only two categories that registered
consecutive years of gains. Skin care came
in at 7%, hair care at 5% and cosmetics at
3%, according to the company.
Designation and Destination
So, how is an ingredient defined as natural? According to industry suppliers, it’s all
“Today, natural chemistry is based more
on sustainability and efficacy than it is on
just certification. As a result, natural ingre-
dients are increasingly defined by how en-
vironmentally sound the practices sur-
rounding their sourcing was, and are sup-
ported by proven efficacy and safety pro-
files,” said Julia Hernandez, marketing
manager, The De Wolf Companies (De Wolf
Chemical, Inc.-Glenn Corporation), War-
wick, RI. “This, in combination with green
certifications, which endorse finished prod-
ucts and help to bolster brands, helps to
provide natural products with a competi-
tive advantage in the eyes of the con-
Juan R. Mateu, director of new innova-
tions, Jeen International, agrees.
A Pandora’s Box in the Beauty Industry?
• Soaring oil prices and developments in green chemistry are encouraging chemical companies to switch to plant-based materials. Many
companies have started to promote these “green” ingredients on their
environmental credentials, however Organic Monitor believes this development could open up a Pandora’s Box in the beauty industry.
Chemical companies often cite environmental benefits as a reason
for the switch to plant-based raw materials. Apart from a renewable
source, these cosmetic ingredients often have a lower environmental
footprint than petroleum-based counterparts.
However, the diverting of agricultural land from food crops to make
cosmetic ingredients raises many ethical and ecological questions. There
has been much debate about using agricultural land for bio-fuel crops
while many developing countries suffer food shortages. An increase in
plantations of plant crops for cosmetic ingredients could spark a new debate about food vs. beauty crops, according to Organic Monitor.
Food security is becoming a major global concern because of rising food prices and scarcity of agricultural land. The global population
is expected to rise 50% to over 9 billion by 2050, however agricultural
land is projected to decrease over this period. If agricultural land needs
to be diverted from food production, at the very least the beauty industry must ensure that the ingredients are sustainably sourced.
Organic Monitor sees some early indicators that the beauty indus-
try is moving in this direction. L’Oréal and Unilever have already made
commitments to sustainable sourcing. Unilever, which has received
much criticism for its raw material sourcing in recent years, has made
ingredient sourcing a key part of its Sustainable Living Plan. In the U.S.,
Walmart is putting pressure on its suppliers to adopt sustainability prac-
tices via its Sustainability Index program. Apart from the supply chain,
the media and NGOs are putting pressure on companies to become