The personal care category was perhaps the most unpredictable during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some product segments, such as hygiene, have thrived, others have struggled to sell. Across the beauty, cosmetics and personal care sector, the market intelligence agency McKinsey projected a total decline in sales of up to 30% as a result of the global health crisis.
Fortunately, we are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and a more stable and stable market, which makes the focus on new product development extremely important. Personal care brands and formulators must innovate to capture the vital attention of consumers and capitalize on resurgent demand.
The “beauty” trend is seeing ingredients traditionally used in food products find a new lease of life in personal care formulations.
The idea of food ingredients making this leap isn’t entirely new – olive oil is a prime example. Historically used in cooking and food production, the oil successfully made the leap into personal care applications many years ago. Olive oil has been shown to be a very effective skin care ingredient, with moisturizing and emollient effects, and is now commonly found in creams and lotions.
What is particularly exciting now is the diversity of the ingredients that follow. Today’s personal care product developers have access to a large catalog of potential ingredients from the food industry.
Ingredients that are good enough to eat are shaping product developments today, but what is driving the change and what can it say to brands about the future of formulation?
All in all, the world is heading towards a healthier lifestyle. Product categories such as organic, non-GMO or vegan, once considered niche products of special interest, are now firmly entrenched in the mainstream. Consumers are more health conscious than ever, and reaching and engaging with this audience is all about “added nutrition”. A strong consumer theme also seen in the food, health and nutrition industries, buyers are looking for a combination of more natural components, fewer ingredients overall, and a strong nutritional profile.
Buyers are used to providing essential nutrients to the body through food, but now they treat personal care products applied to skin and hair with the same care. What is considered healthy for the inside of the body can be just as good for the outside. In addition, the composition of food ingredients tend to be very stable and highly compatible with the formulation process of personal care products.
A powerful example of this in action is avocado, available in the form of oil and butter. It’s no secret that avocado has grown in popularity in the food world, but it’s also starting to gain a foothold in personal care applications. Avocado butter retains the characteristic sweet aromas of avocado, with the versatility to impress in a wide range of products.
It has a strong nutritional profile, especially for skin care applications. Avocado is a naturally abundant source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, and is renowned for its powerful hydration and ability to retain moisture in the skin.
Trends in purchasing behavior show that the attentive consumer is looking for ingredients that are more natural than synthetic. Natural ingredients are simply considered to be more sustainable, environmentally friendly and ethical than chemicals and synthetic compounds.
A synthetic ingredient could be made in an extremely sustainable way, but unfortunately the semantic baggage that accompanies the term “synthetic” means that it will often be seen as less environmentally friendly than ingredients derived from natural sources.
From butters and body lotions to shampoos and conditioners, natural ingredients are proving beneficial in store as consumers pay more attention to ingredient lists. Likewise, buyers are focusing more on the origin and traceability of ingredients, wanting to know more about where their products come from. In turn, this helps them get a more complete picture of the brand and its sustainability credentials.
Study and consulting agency Kline & Company previously highlighted “natural” as the most important trend across the entire personal care industry. We are now seeing what effect this has on brand competition, especially in the wake of an uncertain retail environment where brands must seize every available opportunity to differentiate themselves.
The natural power of herbal the ingredients on synthetic or synthesized additives can be seen very clearly in personal care, especially for brands looking to get creative with formulations. We know macadamia nuts as a convenient snack with a smooth, buttery flavor and a distinctly creamy aroma. However, macadamia oil is also found to be an attractive natural addition to personal care formulations; rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with a perfect 1: 1 ratio.
Popular uses for macadamia nut oil include body and face moisturizers, massage, and therapeutic oils. The oil can imbue products with the appealing qualities of the nut without the need for synthetic components. Macadamia oil offers product developers an innovative natural moisturizer and emollient, meeting consumer demand for more natural products and less artificial ones.
With the increased stress of foreclosure and the many challenges that come with it, premium products have grown in popularity as consumers seek escape and an experience, not just a product. The shift from food ingredients to personal care applications opens up a whole new avenue of creativity for product developers. The sweet scents and aroma of food products can be infused into luxury personal care products for simple line extensions, as well as the development of new lines.
A good example of the beautification trend is coffee butter. A rising star in personal care formulations, coffee beans offer a number of new benefits. The butter retains the distinctive and attractive aroma of fresh roasted coffee, in the form of a soft, malleable butter from a rheology modified base. Created by hydrogenating the oil from pressed coffee beans, the fantastic aroma is not the ingredient’s only strength. Highly hydrating, coffee butter is able to protect and repair the skin and is popular in anti-aging soap formulations and sensitive skin. Notably, butter does not contain caffeine, as caffeine is a water soluble component of the bean.
In summary, embellishment is growing in popularity as it addresses a number of consumer trends head-on. The combination of strong nutrition, ‘natural’ thinking and innovation is fueling the transition from food markets to personal care markets. Brands that can harness food ingredients and use their various advantages as a competitive advantage to drive innovation in personal care products will find strong business opportunities available.
TO Kerfoot Group, we specialize in helping formulators and brand owners to energize product development, harnessing the best of nature. Supporting the personal care, food, health and nutrition sectors with our portfolio of oils, ingredients and soap bases, our team of technical experts relies on logistics and storage powerful to complete projects of any size and complexity.
Could beautification be the next lucrative direction for your personal care line?
Founded in 1980, Kerfoot, an Avril Group company, is a global supplier of bulk and packaged, refined and specialty oils. With a portfolio of over 500 products, Kerfoot is a leading supply partner for brands, manufacturers and distributors in the food and personal care markets. Kerfoot has over 130 employees working from its head office in Northallerton and three locations in Goole, Yorkshire, UK. For more information: www.kerfootgroup.co.uk