Exclusive interview

Mother nature part 1: Adapting ingredient use

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Mother nature part 1: Adapting ingredient use
We spoke to Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, beauty and personal care, Mintel about how brands can harvest natural ingredients to protect and preserve sources in their nearby environment.

Protecting the environment

Climate change and global warming are impacting the natural beauty arena as they affect the environment and the ability to gather resources.

These are “key issues that have a direct impact on water sources, something that plays a vital role in farming and many other industries, including beauty”,​ Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, beauty and personal care at Mintel emphasised.

“Poor harvests, floods, droughts and other climatic changes affect the harvest of certain natural ingredients, resulting in low supplies for a period of time,”​ added Kwek.

Consumer preferences are evolving too, as today’s cosmetics shoppers are “better informed of the contents found in their beauty and personal care products—and it is this behaviour that is driving the demand for naturals”.

“On top of looking for these ingredients, consumers are also increasingly growing aware of their origins and how they are sourced,”​ shared Kwek.

Commenting on why brands are looking to local suppliers to obtain their ingredients, Kwek added: “The appeal of local ingredients, particularly in Asia, lies in an ingredient’s strong association with history, for instance, Ayurveda in India and Thanaka in Myanmar.”

Making science exciting

Biotechnology has been big business in the beauty and personal care space and this is set to continue impacting the natural segment.

“While the harnessing of the biosphere is not newsworthy, putting it across and making it more visible to consumers within the beauty industry will be an interesting space to watch—especially when it comes to seeing how brands will market an ingredient and its source,”​ Kwek highlighted.

Highlighting the major developments in biotechnology within the beauty, pharmaceutical as well as food and drink industries, Kwek revealed that “at present, most brands amplify about cashing in on nature but there is an underlying layer of biotechnology within the beauty industry that hasn’t been brought to life”.

With this said, “nature is ever-changing and challenged; it is only a matter of time before natural resources run dry”.​ Unsurprisingly, with their sustainability initiatives and resource-heavy plans in place, the beauty industry will need “to find alternative sources and methods to continuously feed the rising consumer demand for natural and organic ingredients”.

A concern for large multinational companies may be how they effectively and ethically follow this local stance and diversify their ingredient sourcing to nearby markets.

The second part of our interview exploring the mother nature trend will be published on Wednesday 10th January 2018.

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