Forward Thinking: By Nature


Natural and organic food and beauty products are an area of interest heavily driven by consumers’ desire for healthier lifestyles. Trendincite’s Perfumer & Flavorist “Forward Thinking: Crafting Beauty with Nature’s Resources,” article, which appeared in October 2013, examined the evolution of natural products within the beauty segment and focused on fine fragrance and skincare. Two years earlier, Trendincite’s “Forward Thinking: Au Natural,” October 2011 Perfumer & Flavorist article, researched activity in natural fragrances and flavors, with a focus on botanicals, organic, vegan and raw ingredients. Trendincite’s “Forward Thinking: Health Wellness and Reboot” article, which appeared in the April 2016 issue of Perfumer & Flavorist magazine, explored clean labels with organic ingredients and plant-based products, which overlap with the natural trend. All of these trends discussed over the last six years are still relevant. In fact, consumers’ interest and demand for natural products is not waning and has become a global phenomenon.

To measure attitudes and purchase behavior towards all-natural beauty products, Harris Poll conducted Kari Gran’s second annual “Green Beauty Barometer” survey among 1,126 U.S. women ages 18 and older in August 2016.a According to the findings, “Skin care products are again the most in-demand all-natural products among all beauty categories, with the highest amount of women claiming purchasing all-natural is important to them when it comes to these products. Skin care was also the top category that women plan to buy more all-natural products within.”

In addition, 73% of millennial women seek out cleaner, all-natural products.b Similarly, according to Mintel data,c 53% of UK consumers use skin care products with natural ingredients, while 21% say they considered whether a product is organic/natural before making a purchase. In Italy and Spain, 48% of consumers buy natural and organic products.

Clean fragrances, natural deodorant, food grade beauty and natural beauty retailers are driving innovation on the fragrance side of the industry while plant-based beverages and ghee lead the way in natural food and beverage activity.

Natural Vs. Organic Defined

The terms “natural” and “organic” are often used interchangeably in both the food and beauty industry, but they are not the same. According to the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), “There is no official regulatory definition for the term ‘natural’ for the fragrance industry.” However, “natural” is defined as meaning that it exists in or is produced by nature. Similarly, the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have a formal definition for natural. According to the FDA, the term natural “means that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.” FDA adds, that “this policy was not intended to address food production methods, such as the use of pesticides, nor did it explicitly address food processing or manufacturing methods, such as thermal technologies, pasteurization, or irradiation.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines organic food “as food that is produced using sustainable agricultural production practices, which excludes conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” IFRA defines organic materials as elements created with natural raw ingredients that are “guaranteed organic” and are grown without using conventional pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Interestingly, the FDA does not define or regulate the term “organic,” as it applies to cosmetics, body care or personal care products. However, if a cosmetic, body care or personal care product uses organic ingredients and follows organic practices including production, handling, processing and labeling, it is eligible to be certified under the USDA/Natural Organic Program (NOP). IFRA states a natural product is not necessarily organic, as it can be grown with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, et cetera. Inversely, an organic product is always natural.

Natural Beauty

Kline & Co. estimated the natural beauty and personal care market represented $36 billion in 2015 in manufacturer sales.d Retailers and industry experts believe it is growing at 20%. According to Transparency Market Research (TMR),e the natural fragrant ingredient market is estimated to be worth $5.3 billion by 2024. In addition, the European natural fragrance ingredient market is expected to acquire 29.74% of the overall market share by 2024, with a progress of 6.5% CAGR during the period. Future Market Insights’ (FMI) “Herbal Beauty Products Market: Europe & Asia Pacific Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment, 2016-2026” reportf expects the herbal beauty products market to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecast period. The market has been segmented into hair care, skin care, fragrance and oral care; among all the segments, skin care represents the highest value share of 45.7% in 2016 and is expected to dominate over the forecasted period.

Clean Fragrance

Consumer’s interest in natural, clean products has led to a variety of natural fragrance introductions. Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand Goop entered the fine fragrance market with the launch of Edition 01—Winter 2016 at the end of last year. According to Goop, the fragrance is “composed entirely of natural elements, harnessing the healing and even mystical powers of plants, flowers and barks” and highlights “a perfume of cypress smoke, snow and sensual quiet” tagline. Furthermore, the copy reads, “Because of our commitment to clean beauty and transparency, we list every ingredient in our fragrance. We’re proud of our ingredients: They’re not only non-toxic and safe; they also have many healing properties.” Sigil Scent is a unisex collection of organic, wild-crafted, powerful plant-based perfumes, which are hand-blended and poured in small batches. Bloom is the brand’s newest scent and calls out Bulgarian rose otto, jasmine and styrax.

Provision by Sherri Sebastian is a new a collection of “highly crafted apothecary products and fine fragrances designed to enhance your mood, environment, body and spirit as you move throughout your day.” Available in eight SKUs, Provision offers three Eau de Parfums: Las Flores, Maitri and Resonance. Dream Extract is an interesting product that can be misted onto sheets and pillows before bed “to evoke a sense of peace and deep relaxation,” or spritzed onto one’s clothes during the day “to evoke your dream atmosphere.” Strongest Minds is an emotional/mental wellness brand, which makes flower remedies with essential oils. Available in seven Mind and Body sprays, such as I Am Awesome Bergamot Peppermint for great confidence and Aid For the Anxious Lavender Mint, “each spray has a specific purpose for bringing positivity and calming negative challenges we are all faced with,” according to Amy Cohen, founder.

Deeply by Love Myself Organics is a self-described organic and natural perfume, which “contains no artificial coloring, scents, sugar, starch, salt, wheat, gluten, yeast, milk or soy derivatives.” According to the company, “All ingredients are sustainable, biodegradable and so pure you could drink it.” In February, U.K.’s brand Neom Organics launched its first completely natural fragrance, Energy Burst. According to Neom, the crisp scent blends grapefruit with lemon and a hint of rosemary and is crafted using “17 of the purest possible essential oils, and always natural, always 100% natural.”

Personal Care Gets Organic

According to Allied Market Research,g the global market for organic personal care and cosmetic products is expected to reach $19.8 billion by 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.2% from 2016 to 2022. The report noted that North America was the largest market, which accounted for approximately 35% of the global market revenue, followed by Europe in 2015. Asia-Pacific is estimated to grow the highest at CAGR of 11.1% during 2016-2022. Similarly, Research and Marketsh reported that the global organic personal care market is expected to reach $25 billion by 2025. The analysis notes, this increase is due to the growing demand that consumers have for organic and natural personal care items, such as hair care, skin care and cosmetic products.

Fresh Pits

According to Technavio,i the U.S. deodorant market is expected to reach close to $3.47 billion in revenue by 2019. Consumers are scrutinizing ingredient labels across categories and there has been a heightened awareness of active ingredients in antiperspirants and deodorants. Consumers are searching for effective, aluminum-free deodorants. This demand has created an increase in natural deodorants that are formulated with alternative natural ingredients to stop wetness.

PiperWai, a natural deodorant company, launched in 2014 with a crème deodorant formulated with “super-absorbent activated charcoal.” In December 2016, the company introduced a stick applicator version that provides an invisible, absorbent and pH-balanced shield to neutralize odor. It is formulated with charcoal, organic coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, pure vitamin E oil and a proprietary blend of 11 therapeutic-grade essential oils. In January, Rustic MAKA introduced the DETOX: Underarm Care System. The line consists of a 3-step system designed to help accelerate the detox process during the initial transition from conventional antiperspirants to natural deodorants. Step 1 CLEANSEis anActivated Charcoal Soapthat isplant-infused with Konnyaku and accompanied by anActivated Charcoal Konjac Sponge that ismineral-rich in Kaolin clay. Step 2 EXFOLIATE features Purifying Clays, which is a combination of Kaolin, Bentonite and Rhassoul clays with Bamboo charcoal and rice flour. Step 3 BALANCE is anAntioxidant Serum formulated with rosehip and camellia oils and Black cumin.

Although not a natural product per se, Dove Men+Care Elements is a new men’s range “that combines ingredients inspired by nature with Dove Men+Care’s nourishing formulas.” The line includes deodorants, antiperspirants and body washes in three variants: Minerals + Sage, Charcoal + Clay and Mineral Powder + Sandalwood.

Food Grade Beauty

Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, and fruits like papaya and avocado, as well as coffee and coconut oil, are finding their way into natural beauty products including skin care, hair care and oral care. Launched in 2016, Espinache is a unisex, handmade, spinach-infused hair and skin care line. Using locally-New Jersey grown organic spinach, all products are PETA certified vegan and cruelty-free. According to Dora Sobze,co-creator, the (SPIN)mist Hydrating Dry Oil is “slightly scented with a unique ‘earthy’ blend of kelp, oakmoss, orchid and black pepper and infused with nourishing botanicals like chia seed and avocado oil.” Superfoods + Science Youth To The People brand offers a skin care line that uses 100% vegan ingredients, cold pressed extracts sourced in the U.S. and 100% recyclable packaging. The newest product is Kale + Aloe + Sunflower Oil + Tripeptide 5 Age Prevention Superfood Eye Cream, which is an age prevention nourishing cream designed to hydrate and visibly firm the skin. Founded by Mark Veeder, a hobbyist gardener, Farmacy isa farm-to-skin product line formulated with a patent-protected variant of Echinacea Purpurea, GreenEnvy that contains a high concentration of the phytochemical Cichoric acid. Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm is a nourishing cleansing balm with sunflower and ginger root oils, Moringa tree extract, papaya extract and an aromatic blend of lime, bergamot and orange essential oils.

Live Clean is a new eco-friendly hair, skin, body and baby line that is formulated with a minimum of 96% replenishable, renewable and sustainable plant ingredients. The formulas are free of sodium lauryl sulfate, diethanolamine, parabens, phthalate and phosphate. Sold at Target, Walgreens and Harmon Face Values, variants include Hydrating Fresh Water, Moisturizing Coconut Milk and Restorative Exotic Nectar Argan Oil. Nature’s Gate launched the company’s first-ever natural Professional Hair Care Line sold in partnership with Sally Beauty. The collection is vegan, paraben free, gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO. It is free of sodium lauryl/laureth/coco sulfates, phthalates, butylene glycol and artificial colors. The line includes five shampoos and conditioners formulated with Abyssinian oil and quinoa protein. In addition, the shampoos feature premium botanicals such as wild cherry bark, turmeric, pomegranate, avocado and tea tree.

Ana-hob is an organic scented coffee body scrub line made with a special blend of organic robusta coffee, brown sugar and virgin coconut, jojoba and rosehip oils. The scrubs are offered in four scents: Grapefruit, Lavender, Vanilla and Unscented. Mahalo added Unveil Cleanser Melt Concentrate to its line. It is a 100% water-free concentrated cleansing complex that melts upon contact with skin and features avocado, papaya, matcha green tea, sunflower oil and antimicrobial fragonia. In addition, it has an aroma of lemon combined with pink peppercorn, cardamom and hints of warm cocoa.

Lip & Oral Care

Bite Beauty, the brand known for natural, food grade ingredients and its interactive lip beauty lab, added the Agave Lip Balm to its line. Inspired by the Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask, the lip balm is formulated as a lighter, everyday version with the same hydrating properties made from agave and rare Madagascan vanilla CO2 extract. Cocodent is a new oral care product dubbed “the world’s first coconut oil toothpaste” and contains organic virgin coconut oil, baking soda and organic spearmint oil. The company also offers a tooth spray and tooth oil.

Natural Beauty Stores & Services

Health and wellness has become mainstream and to address consumer’s interest in healthier beauty products there has been a “clean beauty revolution” and independent retailers and department stores are catering to the general population by offering a large selection of natural beauty products.

San Francisco-based Credo, originally an online natural beauty retailer, which specializes in safe, sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients and cruelty-free beauty brands, opened its first brick and mortar store in San Francisco in June 2015. In addition to natural beauty care, the store offers beauty services such as facials, waxing and makeup applications. The expanding company’s tagline is “totally clean, super good, and absolutely beautiful.” In May 2016, Credo launched another boutique in New York City’s Nolita neighborhood. In February this year, Credo opened its third boutique in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles store offers three new brands: Alima Pure, a makeup line that uses no synthetic dyes; Goldfaden MD skincare formulated with natural ingredients and Susanne Kaufmann skincare, a luxury line with natural anti-aging properties. Similarly, Boston’s natural beauty store Follain, which is Gaelic for “healthy, wholesome and sound,” opened its fourth boutique in New York’s Soho neighborhood at the end of last year. With a statement “for your safety and the safety of the environment,” Follian has a 25+ list of restricted ingredients and the company’s credo includes “Spa-grade and U.S. made.” Canada’s Saje Natural Wellness, a retailer of 100% natural, plant-based products, will be opening several U.S. storefronts; five California locations and one New York City location are slated for spring 2017.

Department stores recognize the demand for clean beauty and look to strengthen partnerships with independent retailers. In response, stores like Target and Nordstrom have created partnerships with natural beauty brands and have beefed up their product offerings. In September 2016, Target and Beautycounter, the beauty brand known for its carefully crafted formulas (the company has banned over 1,500 ingredients from its products), collaborated and offered a limited-edition line of 17 skin care and makeup items exclusively made for Target. According to a WWD Feb. 10, 2017 article,j in 2016 Target registered a double-digit percentage lift in sales of natural skin-care products. The retailer has been supporting current natural brands like S.W. Basics, Fig + Yarrow, Nourish Organic, Plant, Savannah Bee and Zum and adding new brands such as Alaffia, Little Seed Farm, Nubian Heritage, Thayers Natural, The Seaweed Bath Co., Nature’s Gate and W3ll People to its natural lineup. To build its natural beauty business and lead the mass market, Target has set a lofty ingredient policy. By 2020 there will be full ingredient transparency for beauty, personal care, baby care and household items and Target is banning phthalates, propylparaben, butylparaben, formaldehyde, formaldehyde donors and nonylphenol ethoxylates in product formulations. Nordstrom announced it was launching “natural beauty outposts” in 46 of its brick-and-mortar stores, including Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle and expects natural beauty sales to exceed $13 billion by 2018.

Natural nail care is also of interest. Last year, Van Court, a non-toxic nail salon, launched in downtown Manhattan. Van Court specializes in waterless manicures and features a selection of nail lacquers that are 5- (Formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor.), 7- (Formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, and xylene) or 9- (Formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, parabens, and acetone) free formulas. Deborah Lippmann, Floss Gloss, Jinsoon and Londontown are a few examples of partner brands.

Natural Flavors

In addition to natural beauty, consumers want natural food, beverages and flavor. According to Beverage Industry’s New Product Development Outlook 2016 study,k which was released on Jan. 11, 2017, natural was listed as the number one product attribute. The study revealed that 87% of survey-takers plan to use natural flavors versus the 13% that plan to use artificial flavors in their 2017 new product development. In addition, among those using natural flavors, 56% indicated that this was an increase of natural flavor usage with consumer demand/preference/request being the most frequent reason listed. Similarly, 85% are planning to use natural colors in 2017 driven by consumer demand and preference.

Plant-Based Beverages

There is a growing interest in vegetarian and vegan products, with a focus on plant-based ingredients. This trend is evidenced by the Eco-Atkins diet, which is “a plant-based spin on the Atkins diet that calls for 31% of daily calories to come from plant proteins, 43% from plant fats and 26% from carbs.” Plant-based beverages have been driving innovation in the beverage segment.

Karuna is a new plant-based beverage “created to help consumers choose the best beverage to meet their specific needs.” The company’s mission is “to bring together all-natural ingredients and eco-friendly processes to create nutrient packed drinks.” Karuna Heal, Karuna Hydrate and Karuna Fuel are the three variants. Karuna Heal contains aronia berry and mung bean sprout used for their antioxidant properties while Karuna Hydrate is designed to refresh and is offered in two flavors: Sunny Date and Fruity Longan. Karuna Fuel is offered in two shake varieties: Divine Chestnut and Divine Three, which are formulated with complex carbohydrates and proteins to energize.

Burt’s Bees is moving into the food and beverage arena with the launch of a new line of plant-based protein shakes. Daily Protein, Protein + Gut Health with Probiotics and Protein + Healthy Radiance with Antioxidant Vitamins A, C & E are the three formulas offered. Formulated with 70% organic ingredients certified by California Certified Organic Farmers, the line contains 15 grams of protein per serving sourced from pea, rice, flaxseed, sunflower seed and oat. Additionally, the protein shakes contain vitamins extracted from spinach, shiitake mushroom and strawberry and are non-GMO and gluten-, soy- and dairy-free. The packaging is manufactured from 100% post-consumer recycled HDPE and is fully recyclable.

CASON an acronym for Clean Alternative to Soft drinks plus antioxidants and Natural sweeteners, introduced an all-natural premium sparkling superinfused plant-based beverage line. Currently offered in Ginger and Lemon Lime flavors, and Wildberry Pomegranate are expected later this year. The beverages are gluten-free, soy-free and vegan and formulated with natural flavors, natural sweeteners and exotic antioxidants that boost your immune system and detox your body. RSVP Skinnies is a line of healthy beverage mixers in four flavors:Baja Margarita, London Gimlet, Maui MaiTai and NY Cosmo. The mixers are all natural, zero calories, preservative free and made with 100% plant based ingredients, according to RSVP Skinnies. For flavor and color, the company uses dehydrated fruits and plant extracts and stevia and erythritol for sweetness.

Arnd Henning Heissen, Berlin’s Ritz-Carlton fragrance bar Mixologist and Valeriya Fridman, ISIPCA perfumery graduate, have collaborated to create Botanical Fusion, a line of 100% natural flavor extracts that can be used in food and drink “to recreate any perfume in form of a cocktail.” The company states “a cocktail which tastes like your perfume smells,” Botanical Fusions are sold as 15-ml. dropper bottles and available in eight flavors: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Jasmine, Mandarin, Patchouli, Pine, Sandalwood and Vetiver.

Not a beverage, but a notable new product is Freaky Health Chocolate, a line of chocolates formulated with adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, maca, reishi and goji berries to help strengthen the nervous system. Available in four variants:Beauty Bar, CAP Beauty Mountain High Bar, Energy Bar and Immunity Bar, all are formulated with raw cacao, raw cacao butter and raw mulberries as the core sweetener. The CAP Beauty Mountain High bar was created in partnership with CAP Beauty, one of New York’s natural beauty boutiques. Crafted with CAP Beauty’s pink Himalayan mountain salt and Freaky Health Chocolate, the bar contains 84 minerals and trace elements. The Beauty Bar features rose petals, He Shou Wu (to nourish blood, hair, skin and nervous system) and Tocos (to promote healthy skin and connective tissue) while the Energy Bar highlights maca (to enhance energy and stamina), chlorella (to detoxify and energize) and goji (to promote a healthy mood, mind and memory and boost immunity). The Immunity Barcontains reishi mushroom (to combat stress and fatigue), ashwagandha (with restorative properties to increase immunity) and chaga (to boost immunity and normalize blood pressure).

Ghee, A Healthier Butter

It’s been reported that the average American eats nearly 23 sticks of butter a yearl and according to the American Butter Institute, American butter consumption reached 5.6 pounds a year in 2012 versus 4.1 pounds in 1997.m Consumers looking for better-for-you butter alternatives have been turning to ghee. Popular in India and South Asia, ghee is clarified butter made from buffalo or cow milk. Because of the way it is processed, melted and simmered to boil off all the water leaving no milk residue, ghee can be stored unrefrigerated.

Fourth & Heart are makers of artisanal ghee products, sourced from grass fed, pasture-raised cows in New Zealand. Available in five flavors California Garlic, Himalayan Pink Salt, Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Original and White Truffle Salt, the products are high in vitamin A, D, E, K and butyric acid. At the end of January, Fourth & Heart collaborated with LesserEvil, the maker of healthy, organic and non-GMO snacks, to create the Buddha Bowl OhMyGhee organic, butter flavored popcorn, which launched at all Wegmans’ locations in February.

Carrington Farms introduced Organic Coconut Oil & Ghee, a gluten-free healthy replacement for butter. The blend is formulated with organic ghee clarified butter and high levels of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) as a result of the coconut oil. According to the company, it can also be used in one’s beauty regimen to smooth hair and moisturize skin.

Future Initiatives

Although natural is still being defined and does not have a regulated consumer packaged goods definition, consumers clearly want their food and beauty products to be healthful and free of harmful ingredients. This is evidenced by how mainstream it has become for consumers to scrutinize labels to self-identify safe or harmful ingredients. There are a variety of initiatives happening to address the consumers’ escalating demand for natural products such as ingredient disclosure policies, byproduct research and new gardening services.

Several independent natural beauty retailers have restricted ingredient lists and as the term natural evolves, retailers like Target are being proactive and initiating their own transparent ingredient policies. In February, Unilever announced the company’s new ingredient transparency initiative for its personal care and home brands. Through its SmartLabel digital tool, by 2018, Unilever plans to disclose fragrance ingredients, which is voluntary since it is not yet required by the FDA. In addition, the company will supply enhanced fragrance allergen information and have a “What’s in our Products” section on Unilever websites, which will provide consumer access to information beyond the label.

In addition to ingredient disclosure policies, other recent initiatives include byproduct research. For example, in December 2016, the Almond Board of California (ABC) announced an initiative to research alternative applications for the use of almond byproducts such as almond hulls, shells and other woody material in personal care and cosmetics. ABC will look at additional industries including food, automotive and plastics, which will support their sustainability and zero waste goals.

Netherlands’ Albert Heijn supermarket chain has a completely different approach. The supermarket has in-store farming and grows its own herbs. Using herbs that are ready to be harvested, Albert Heijn recently introduced Help Yourself Herb Garden, a new service designed for its customers to pick exactly what they need, from a full plant to a few sprigs.

Regardless of how consumers interpret natural, brands, manufacturers and fragrance and flavor suppliers will need to create new products and services that address consumers’ enduring demand for natural products.

More in Trends