Practical sustainability to shape the market in 2011

Practical sustainability is set to shape the beauty market in 2011 with eco-conscious brands and spas finding economically viable ways to opt in and to market their credentials, according to Mintel.

The market research agency has named this year's primary beauty trend as 'Down to Earth', which focuses on the practicalities of making and marketing green beauty.

Mintel said beauty companies will be thinking hard this year about managing price pressure due to varying supply and demand of natural and organic raw materials and learning to master the challenges of green chemistry, such as the use of sustainable surfactants, 'green' solvents and alternatives to parabens. It suggested 'free-from' formulas, a key trend in 2010, will continue to evolve in an effort to avoid petrochemically-derived ingredients.

According to Mintel figures, in 2010, 13% of new skincare, hair care and cosmetics made the paraben-free claim, up 5% from 2008. Also in 2010, almost 9% of those companies made the organic claim (twice as many as in 2007); the all-natural claim was found in fewer than 3% of launches in 2010.

Nica Lewis, head consultant at Mintel Beauty Innovation, said: "Paraben-free claims actually outpaced organic and all-natural claims in new skincare, hair care and cosmetics launches in 2010, backing up Mintel's Nu Natural trend that predicted that brands would emphasize results and free-from claims over certification. 2011 will see beauty companies placing increased importance on the environment, focusing on sustainable sourcing with attention to maintaining biodiversity. A renewed emphasis on repackaging to minimize waste will also be a factor." 

Around the world, anti-aging claims were still important in 2010, with more than one in four launches making this claim, up 5% over 2009. New skincare products with environmentally-friendly packaging were also up 5% on the previous year showing manufacturers' commitment to recycling and eco-friendly materials - a trend Mintel expects to have real impact in 2011.

Vivienne Rudd, senior beauty analyst at Mintel, added: "2010 was a year for rebuilding with new skincare product launch activity almost matching pre-recessionary levels. The past year saw M&A activity resumed too as credit markets eased, with consolidation amongst ingredient suppliers and Unilever, Shiseido, L'Oreal, Estee Lauder and Coty all inking deals.

"This development will influence brands in the year ahead from a marketing perspective linked to the Down to Earth trend too. Simplifying text and 'stripping back' to tell straightforward, direct stories of plant-based ingredients will be key and manufacturers who treat consumers as educated shoppers instead of novices stand to benefit."