“Given how quickly non-GMO has become an important consideration for consumers, it’s going to move from being the fastest growing category in foods and supplements to cosmetics,” predicts Suzanne Shelton, managing partner-strategic communications at The Shelton Group, a marketing and PR firm specializing in dietary supplements and natural products.
Demand and supply
E-commerce sites like the newly launched credobeauty.com signal that consumer demand for naturals is strong. That company—founded by Shashi Batra, previously of Sephora USA—has protocol in place to ensure products sold on the site are “free of harmful toxins in the form of artificial preservatives and synthetic fragrance,” according to a press release.
Soy, quinoa, vegan, and preservative-free products are already doing well with cosmetics consumers interested in natural products. Looking to non-GMO as an eminent trend, Sheltonpointed to a couple auspicious statistics: “In a recent Nielsen study of 30,000 consumers, 80% said they would pay more for products labeled non-GMO. Sales of non-GMO products last year exceeded $10 billion.”
Many natural beauty ingredients first gain popularity in food and wellness industries. “It’s interesting how ingredients are crossing over between cosmetics and foods. Take coconut: a few years ago coconut water exploded amid publicizing its health benefits…now suddenly everyone is using coconut oil on their face. Probiotics are starting to show up in topical products, which is new,” Shelton told Cosmetics Design.
Consumers who are ready to buy non-GMO cosmetics already look for that designation on the label. They choose to buy non-GMO foods, and according to Shelton have started thinking “wait a minute, what about what my family and I are putting on our skin?” She also sees an interest from older consumers who came of age during the environmental movement.
The appeal of non-GMO products isn’t limited to a single tier of the cosmetics market. From mass to prestige, “consumers can now look up anything, right there in a store aisle on their smart phones, so transparency is going to be ever more vital going forward. It’s a big part of our client’s marketing campaigns, from providing detail on how products are tested to sourcing of ingredients,” explains Shelton.
Third-party endorsements could help the trend succeed: “For cosmetics, the Natural Products Association has a natural seal that’s been very successful with consumers. It would make sense for them to expand this seal to cover GMOs,” Shelton added.