Personal care leads the US naturals segment

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

A new market reports claims that the naturals and organics market
is being led by very strong growth in the personal care category,
as consumers continue to seek products without harsh chemicals.

Colorado-based Natural Foods Merchandiser reported that the US market for naturals products, which includes foods, personal care and supplements, grew by 9.7 percent to $56.7bn in 2006 across all channels. However, off the three segments that constitute the market, it was the personal care category that reported the strongest growth rates, increasing by an estimated 18.4 percent to reach $2.78bn. The market report, which was published in the June edition of the company's magazine and on its website, highlights how US consumers are continuing to invest their spending power in products that are perceived to be better for their health and well-being. "U.S.consumers continue to demonstrate a growing appetite for natural and organic products, as manufacturers and retailers expand into new and nontraditional areas and deepen their offerings. In fact, total sales for the natural and organic industry increased 56 percent between 2002 and 2006,"​ said Marty Spencer, editor-in-chief of the report. Breaking the retail figures down for the market as a whole, the company revealed that 81.2 percent of the sales, or $46.06bn, were accounted for by the retail channel. However, specialist natural retailers experienced the biggest growth in the retail segment, with sales up 10.7 per cent during 2006, while accounting for close to 50 per cent of the total sales with a figure of $28.27bn. However, it is not all plain sailing for the industry, and one particular issue that is facing the US naturals and organics category at the moment is certification. Many in the industry claim that efforts to sell genuinely natural- or organic-based personal care products are being hampered by a lack of cohesive and industry-wide certification that clearly identifies the fact that they comply with standards. Indeed, a recent report by market information providers Kline & Company mirrors mounting confusion among consumers and industry insiders relating to the many ways companies define their products as 'natural'. The report highlights that many brands are not being sold through audited certification channels, leaving consumers confused over what is and what is not natural. Indeed, the Kline report also highlights the fact that because the US currently has no official regulation for natural or organic personal care products, consumers are left vulnerable, with the industry as a whole left open to dubious claims concerning the authenticity of the products.

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