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Survey finds 75 percent of women prefer ‘cruelty-free’ cosmetics

By Michelle Yeomans , 23-Oct-2012

A recent survey by online retailer Vitacost.com has found that one label that definitely matters to US women is ‘cruelty-free’, with almost 75 percent admitting to purchasing cosmetics that feature the label over products that do not.

The company specializing in organic cosmetics and personal care products revealed that more than three-quarters of its respondents said it was either ‘extremely important’ or ‘somewhat important’ that the cosmetics they buy are labelled 'cruelty-free', if all other factors, including price and quality, were equal.

Key findings

The nationwide survey looked at close to 1,300 American women aged between 18 -60+ and resulted in mirroring that of an internal survey Vitacost conducted simultaneously of 903 of its female customers.

The findings also revealed that 31.5 percent of the respondents purchase cosmetics every 1 - 2 months, 36.7 currently own most beauty products that are ‘cruelty-free’, and that the second most important label to American women is price, with affordability listed as the most important factor influencing the decision when purchasing a beauty product.

On discovering this demand Vitacost is now said to have launched a new cruelty-free specialty store which offers cosmetics that are not tested on animals and are independently certified under the Leaping Bunny programme.

“Marrying together the cruelty-free label and the discount price tag gives today's savvy cosmetics customer the opportunity to look great for less, while upholding personal morals and values," says Chief Marketing Officer, David Zucker.

Call for legal definition of ‘cruelty-free’

Earlier in the year researchers at the University of Missouri and Oregon challenged law makers to set a legal definition for what constitutes ‘cruelty-free’ in order to protect consumers, having found that many misunderstood products featuring these labels.

Many cosmetic companies use the term cruelty-free to attract buyers, giving consumers the impression that no animal testing was used while manufacturing and testing the products. However, that is not always the case.

Avon, Estée Lauder and Mary Kay were all caught out for this particular offense in recent months.

“Because there is no legal standard for what is and isn’t cruelty-free, consumers are vulnerable to deceptive advertising,” said Joonghwa Lee, a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

“If the product information consumers receive is misleading, then they are not able to make important decisions in ways that they would consider morally correct. Creating a legal standard to define terms like cruelty-free will aid consumers in making the best decisions for themselves and their families,” she added.

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