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Anti-pollution part 2: Lessons Asia can teach Europe

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Anti-pollution part 2: Lessons Asia can teach Europe

Related tags: Skin care, European union, Europe

In the second part of our interview with Vivienne Rudd, Director of Global Innovation and Insight, Beauty & Personal Care, at Mintel, we look at whether comparisons can be drawn between Asia and Europe, and what’s missing from the European anti-pollution narrative.

Drawing comparisons with Europe

Alternatively, pollution has “only relatively recently become part of the conversation for European consumers”.​ This may appear surprising as even though some companies have had anti-pollution products for years, Rudd relayed that it is “only now that such products are having any real impact”.

Demonstrating the appeal and opportunity in the European market, Rudd revealed that only 4% of French consumers and 6% of Germans state that pollution is not an issue in their country today.

Although the apparent need for anti-pollution skin care items does exist in Europe, Rudd suggested that there is “a definite gap between fear of the issue and belief in the solutions”.

Product belief

According to Mintel research, for example, only 16% of Spanish and 13% of Italian consumers believe anti-pollution skin care products are very useful and 37% believe they are somewhat useful.

These figures are even lower for France and Germany, however, where only 6% believe the products are very useful.

“That is not a ringing endorsement, and more work needs to be done to convince them of their efficacy,”​ stated Rudd.

Hair care is up

When asked what’s the next area for brands to make inroads into the anti-pollution segment, Rudd divulged, that hair care is “definitely next in line”​ for anti-pollution growth.

As the industry has already welcomed shampoos and pre-washes that promise to clear away pollution particles, the opportunity is now available for the category to move towards offering “more comprehensive claims”.

Seeing the success and popularity of skin care innovations, hair care has increasingly “adopted the language and rituals”​ of this sector, which will be a benefit to the growth of anti-pollution products.

Cosmezi Tratto Liquid Umbrella, for instance, claims to create an ultra-thin film over the hair to protect it from pollution, while caviar prevents yellowing.

In terms of applying this cutting-edge use of technology to skin care, Rudd, observes that this is a direct equivalent of products like Cellcure's PM2.5 Block Relief Cream, which uses biosaccharide gum-4 to shield the skin.

At present, “the only missing element is a PM claim, but that will come in the future”,​ Rudd notes, sharing how researchers from King’s College London are looking into whether PM0.1 can affect hair condition.

Strong expectations

Looking to the future of anti-pollution items, Mintel has found that half of Spanish consumers and 43% of German consumers expect levels of pollution to get worse in their countries in the coming years.

As a result, the anti-pollution segment will “grow exponentially over time”​. In addition, “the claim will become standard in skin care and sun care products, and will go deeper into hair care and colour cosmetics”.

When it comes to the growth of anti-pollution products in Europe compared with Asia, Rudd put forth that “in time, we will get used to anti-pollution claims on European packaging in much the same way that we have got used to SPF claims”.

With this said, just as “SPF claims are still not fully understood by many consumers, the same will inevitably be true of anti-pollution claims”.

“Transparency and honesty will be more important than ever,”​ concluded Rudd.

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