Natural and organic personal care sector driven by health concerns

The latest Consumer Insights report by Organic Monitor has revealed that health concerns regarding synthetic chemicals are driving consumers to switch to natural and organic personal care products.

The study found that 90% of UK consumers of natural and organic products in this sector cited ‘avoidance of synthetic chemicals’ as being important or very important to them. When asked to name specific chemicals they try to avoid, almost two-thirds said parabens. Awareness of synthetic chemicals has markedly increased compared to the previous study in 2007. For instance, the survey showed 19% of buyers wanted to avoid phthalates and lanolin in 2014, compared to just 3% in 2007.

And certification is increasingly important to consumers too, with 43% of buyers looking for symbols and logos on personal care products, up from 33% in 2007. The report reveals that the Soil Association logo is the most associated with certified products, with nearly 30% of buyers seeking it out.

Highlighting the confusion regarding natural/organic terms and certification, 21% of buyers said they look for the Fairtrade symbol. However, the Fairtrade symbol represents the presence of certified Fairtrade ingredients, but does not represent certified finished products.

Organic Monitor found that all of those surveyed were willing to pay more for certified products, with 72% saying they’d pay up to 20% more. Just 12% said they would pay a premium over 30%.

The research also showed that although the number of brands has mushroomed in the UK, established brands comprise most sales in every product category, with Weleda, Dr Haushcka and Jason Natural being some of the leading brands.

Consumer behaviour is a major theme of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, taking place in Paris on 24-26 November. Key findings of this new study will be presented for the first time at the summit.

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