Tag Archive | whole foods

Go organic, baby!

baby-little-products-hi-res1It’s no secret that people are going green. How much more so for our precious little ones? Growth in baby care, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global cosmetics, has been fueled by the increasing accessibility of these brands as more and more consumers switch to natural personal care products both for their babies. Moms now have lots of choices, from well-known, mass-produced Aveeno Baby to strict organic lines such as Sweetsation Therapy and from the affordable but adorable FarmBaby found in small local boutiques to the more clinical pediatrician-developed vedaBaby, available only online.

As brands strive for position in a market saturated with misleading products and skeptical consumers, more and more brands will be turning to pediatricians and physicians to leverage their credibility. With the safety of a number of cosmetic ingredients taking center stage last year, phthalates, parabens and triclosan have all taken their turn in the spotlight. And parents are especially concerned about the level of any harsh chemicals in baby products.

But babies born at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital are getting their first baths toxin-free, courtesy of products from Earth Mama Angel Baby. The “go organic” program, which began in January, was started because the hospital, located in a suburb of Chicago, made the decision to offer only personal care products and samples for new moms and babies that are 100 percent toxin-free, cruelty-free, vegan and free from all artificial preservatives, fragrances and dyes. They chose Earth Mama Angel Baby as the brand that exemplifies those qualities. “We take a whole-person approach to wellness that takes into account mind, body and spirit,” says Kathy Mitchell, Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital’s chief nursing officer. “For our tiniest patients, this means using natural and organic herbal products.” In addition to the products used by the hospital staff for newborn babies, all new moms receive a gift bag filled with products from the brand’s line.

“The goal we work every day to achieve is to formulate the safest, most effective products possible,” said Melinda Olson, founder. “And to have hospitals recognize that goal, and work together with us to help babies begin life toxin-free is the greatest honor.”

Several of Earth Mama Angel Baby’s products were submitted to an independent, FDA registered, DEA registered and ISO certified laboratory for industry-standard tests for safety of cosmetic products. The safety of the ingredients and finished products has always been a primary concern. “These products are being used to give babies their first bath in hospitals,” explained Olson. “I wanted to reassure the parents, hospitals and birth centers using our products that we not only use the safest and most effective ingredients, but that our finished products are clinically tested.”

Earth Mama Angel Baby products are also available at Babies ‘R’ Us, as well as Whole Foods where it features the retailer’s Premium Body Care seal. The brand lists all ingredients on product labels and on its web site. In addition, newsletters are full of consumer protection information like how to read labels, details about chemicals and additives and why the company doesn’t use them, as well as facts about the healing herbs it does use, and why.

Read more in the April 2009 issue of Global Cosmetic Industry: Parents Look to Nature for Baby Care.

Committed consumerism

avtu_14What was originally a niche category has taken over the beauty aisles in almost every developed market, and industry insiders predict that natural and organic cosmetics will hold up well in 2009 even if they do not enjoy the dramatic sales growth of previous years. Consumers are beginning to make long-term, realistic changes to their lifestyle. They feel a huge responsibility not only to the planet but to themselves … They now include their own personal health as a microcosm and reflection of the health of the planet, stated the Natural Marketing Institute’s annual report. The mass consumption society as we knew it is over.

But this can be good news for the natural market. Increasingly, consumers’ values are resonating with companies that are able to fuse both a personal and planetary perspective into their brand. Aveda has found that 68% of consumers will remain loyal to a company that has a social and environmental commitment. This is a growing trend in which consumers are “voting with their dollars,” and supporting brands whose values resonate with their own.

With that, consumers are learning to read product labels to avoid greenwashing words like “natural” and “planet friendly” that aren’t backed up by standards or third-organizations. As like-minded groups come together, there is an attempt to cut through the confusion, and the focus of the media on greenwashing has forced the brands to become more open in their claims. But as a variety of organizations vie for the right to be the “official seal” of natural beauty, things could get worse instead of better. The recent suit by Dr. Bronner and the Organic Consumers Association is just one attempt to ensure those organizations such as Ecocert aren’t loose with their certifications. The point is to make it easier for the consumers and give products credibility.

The market is driven by a perfect storm of consumers, non-profits, industry, media and government, all of whom demand more truly natural and environmentally sustainable products. And while the industry can’t anticipate a continuation of the dramatic growth rates of recent years, opportunities still remain.

Retailers who educate consumers and provide strong assortment will come out on top. But strong assortment does not mean aisles and aisles of product but choice among the best-performing, authentic brands. Read more in the March 2009 issue of Global Cosmetic Industry magazine: Breaking Barriers: Retail’s Natural (R)evolution