What’s influencing the Japanese naturals market?

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Japanese natural cosmetics
As consumers seek natural and organic cosmetic products, we deliver the second part of our interview with Jorge Larranaga, Senior Manager Manufacturing Division at Number Three in Japan on what developments in the cosmetics and associated industries are significantly impacting the naturals market.

Last week we explored how hair care is leading the way in product innovation for the naturals market, but with the region experiencing slow growth, we asked why the naturals trend has appeared restricted.

"The main beneficiaries so far have been Japanese cosmetics importers and distributors of natural cosmetics that were able to introduce natural brands before the boom for natural cosmetics started,” ​said Jorge Larranaga, Senior Manager Manufacturing Division at Number Three in Japan.

“While there have been some Japanese manufacturers that have succeeded in this niche market, still their growth has been limited, which explains why the biggest Japanese cosmetics companies have not fully invested in this trend,”​ he went on to say.  

Certification credibility

Number Three was the first Japanese cosmetics company to achieve GMP, Halal and COSMOS certification. While its GMP certification has brought benefits to its quality and manufacturing procedures, Larranaga said that the company is still in the development phase of organic and halal production.

“Japan is an environmental leader in the region and in general Japanese people are concerned about environmental issues that have a direct and perceived effect on their health.”

“Our expectations are high...and new green certifications are on the way to strengthening our commitment to developing sustainable and natural products for hair salons,” ​added Larranaga.

Number Three also achieved certification under the Kyoto Environmental Management System Standard (KES) in 2011.

“Adapting our manufacturing procedures to comply with the environmental requirements of the COSMOS standard was a challenge that laid the foundations of a renewed environmental policy that will be released to all departments, from our manufacturing plant to all our offices in Japan."

Food influences cosmetics

The connection between the food market and the cosmetics sector has strengthened as health and safety regulations, high-quality ingredients and selection processes seek to overcome consumer concerns and appeal to changing attitudes.

Larranaga has seen how this relationship between food and cosmetics attracts Japanese consumers to the naturals market: “While European and US consumers attracted to the natural and organic cosmetics market are those with healthy lifestyles that expand their healthy choices into the personal care area, in Japan there has not been such a transition from healthy food habits to customer care."

“In general, Japanese food is perceived as healthy, so the attraction of Japanese consumers to natural products is related to the search for safer products [as these are] perceived as being less harsh to the skin and can potentially reduce the risk of atopy. Other frequent ethical or sustainable claims in the West are not well understood by Japanese consumers,”​ added Larranaga.

Product Development in 2017

Number Three continues to embark on innovative and evolving developments in a variety of cosmetics and beauty sectors.

“In 2017, all Number Three activities will revolve around the concept of ‘Wellness’. Number Three’s natural brand ‘Yululuka' will be renovated, and a new COSMOS certified line will be launched to complement our existing offer of natural hair care treatments. A revolutionary natural hair styling product called ‘Botanical Web’ will be also released, which we believe will be a breakthrough for professional perm treatments,"​ highlighted Larranaga.

Jorge Larranaga, Senior Manager Manufacturing Division at Number Three in Japan will give a talk on Accessing the Japanese Naturals Market: Opportunities and Pitfalls at 11.20am on Monday 14th November at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit.

For more information on the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit  in Hong Kong on 14th - 15th November 2016, visit http://www.sustainablecosmeticssummit.com

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