The company conducted a survey of 1,252 consumers which revealed that while 72 percent of respondents did not trust natural and organic claims made by brand owners, 77 percent had faith in third party certification.
“It’s frustrating to see consumers confused about whether a beauty product is ‘organic’ or not,” said founder and president of Saffron Rouge, Kirstin Binder. “A certified organic product is the only way consumers can ensure that a beauty product is made from genuinely clean and natural ingredients,” she added.
Consumers want ‘zero synthetic ingredients’
The survey also revealed that consumers want zero synthetic ingredients in ‘organic’ beauty products, clear differentiation between ‘certified natural’ and ‘certified organic’ and to see abusers penalized.
Binder noted that although there is already clear differentiation between certified natural and certified organic, the problem may be a low level of consumer awareness over the different standards that exist and what they represent.
She added that demand for products with zero synthetic ingredients is realistic if we keep in mind that synthetic ingredients mean those that do not exist in nature.
“[‘Zero synthetic ingredients’] does not mean an end to derived ingredients but it means that the source and methods of producing those derived ingredients are restricted to acceptable sources and processes,” she said.
Binder also believes that those who abuse the term ‘organic’ could be penalized, as, “just as we saw within the food industry, eventually federal governments will regulate the use of the term ‘organic’ in the beauty industry.”
“Already about half a dozen major American brands have been taken to court by Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps and the Organic Consumers Association for the misuse of the term ‘organic’” she added.
Global harmonization is the way forward
For Binder, the ideal way forward is the harmonization of the global standards bodies.
“This will result in a couple of core certifications becoming prolific in the global marketplace. Recognition for those certifications will become clear and much of the consumer confusion will end,” she said.
Binder noted that this is already beginning to happen with NaTrue’s equivalency agreement with NSF now in place and a similar agreement being developed between NaTrue and NPA.
Similarly, the Cosmos ‘certified natural’ and ‘certified organic’ is amalgamating the six European standards under one umbrella.
“Eventually Cosmos and NaTrue may partner because the differences between them aren’t that different and then we’ll have one global seal for organic and one for natural,” Binder speculated.
“Organic will likely have two levels: a 95+ percent USDA food grade level (also NaTrue 3 star) and a 70-95 percent organic content (which is the NaTrue two star and NSF),” she added.