Low quality natural and organic products threaten category, expert claims

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cosmetics

Dr. Barbara Olioso, founder of the Organatural consultancy, opens up on the subject of natural and organic cosmetic formulation, and draws attention to the fact that cheaper, low quality products, could damage the category.

Dr. Olioso is drawing on her 12 years of experience in the formulation of natural and organic cosmetics to give a presentation at next month’s in-cosmetics Asia event, entitled Developing Natural & Organic Cosmetics - Challenges and Opportunities​.

In the first of a two part interview, here Dr. Olioso focuses on the threats to this category, underlinging the fact that there are a lot of brands ‘pretending to be natural’.

Education of consumers is crucial

“It is important, therefore, to educate the consumer to help them understand and appreciate the real difference between truly natural and those that merely appear to be so,”​ Dr. Olioso told CosmeticsDesign in an exclusive interview.

Likewise, there is one particular trend that is exacerbating this threat, and that’s the increasing occurrence of natural and organic cosmetic products being repositioned or launched in the mass market category.

“Inevitably a new and successful brand will go mass; it is part of the game. However the quality in these mass brands is just not there,”​ she said. “The products are made cheaply, with very few active ingredients, often hybrids and synthetics are used to bulk up the product, and they are made on very tight budgets; whereas real and quality naturals aren't cheap! “

Dr. Barbara Olioso

Low quality copies pose big risk

“Mass brands have a lot at stake, and therefore hate taking risks - so they make sure they keep an eye on the genuine innovators and creative trend setters, and simply copy them - or create poor quality facsimiles. The world of natural botanicals is not for the faint hearted or people that are afraid of being creative and innovative - you need courage!”

Invariably this situation is leading to a highly competitive market, where companies will go to almost any length to try and get ahead of their competitors.

Dr. Olioso highlights the fact that around 80 percent of new launches in the natural and organic category are set to fail, because of the immense competition, which she believes is leading to increasingly sophisticated strategies that try to ‘manipulate' consumers.

The trick of predicting consumer behaviour

“One of the latest trends is to use research into neuroscience to study and predict consumers’ behaviour at brain level, this almost amounts to brain ‘manipulation’,”​ Dr. Olioso said.

“My basic approach is about creating relationships, people buy from people, therefore building true relationships based on trust and honesty, and therefore genuine loyalty creates continuing sales and further recommendations.”

Dr Olioso will examine this subject in further depth in during the presentation at in-cosmetics Asia, which will take place on 14 December at 14.30 in the Marketing Trends Theatre. For more information, please click here​.

Related topics Market Trends All Asia-Pacific

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