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Natural and Organic: the Emerging Revolution

By: Jack Corley, Royal Aromatics Inc.
Posted: August 23, 2006, from the September 2006 issue of P&F magazine.

Why? Because, just four months earlier, the organization declared that it would have nothing to do with certification of personal care products. Fast-forward to 2006, and we see the emergence of an F&F industry that views the organic movement as much more than a short-term market aberration. This is indicative of nothing less than a social and lifestyle evolution among consumers and the F&F industry.

Consider the Facts (and Nonfacts)

The interest in organic and natural products in personal care continues to expand and grow. Market researcher Packaged Facts projects that the US natural and organic skin care, hair care and cosmetics market will grow from 2004’s $5 billion to $7.9 billion by 2009. (Organic oral care and cosmetics, to cite just two segments, totaled $589 million and $336 million, respectively.) These numbers may seem modest considering that the global personal care sector is about $150 billion in manufacturer sales (2004). However, if you consider the fact that natural and organic personal care is a segment growing at a 25 percent rate, it takes on an entirely different meaning.

The increasing movement of consumers to healthier lifestyles, coupled with a growing fearful perception of the possible carcinogenic effects of certain chemicals, has encouraged the market to look for alternative products containing natural ingredients. In the United States, for example, consumer interest in natural and organic products has risen in conjunction with the demand for cosmeceuticals, aromatherapy and spa-type products.

Growth has been attributed to baby boomers and Generation X consumers who increasingly crave safer, nonchemical-based fragrances, shampoos, lotions, deodorants, toothpastes, etc. It is important to state here that the average consumer likely associates the adjectives “synthetic” or “harmful” with the term “chemical,” as opposed to the true definition offered, for example, in J.W. Hill et al.’s “General Chemistry”: “A chemical substance is any material with a definite chemical composition, no matter where it comes from.” Consumers, after all, are not, generally speaking, chemists. It is important to keep in mind that buyers’ opinions often are shaped by misperceptions — a true challenge for all personal care industries.