Latin America beauty market rethinks its approach to water

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Latin America beauty market rethinks its approach to water
In Latin America changing weather patterns and pollution have had a significant impact on urban water supplies in recent years, putting pressure on beauty and personal care brands to become a part of the solution, rather than the problem.

These issues were highlighted by a recent report on the Bath, Body and Soap Category in Brazil, published earlier this year by leading market intelligence provider, Mintel.

The report focused on a number of threats to the water supply that are impacting the category in Brazil, issues that are also being mirrored in other countries throughout the region.

Shower products fall under the microscope

It is because Bath, Body and Soap products are the ones that we take into the shower – often a twice daily activity in many parts of Latin America - that this category really comes under the microscope when it comes to personal water use.

Tying in with this, the Mintel report draws on statistics from the Sao Paulo Water and Waste Management Company, highlighting the fact that in August 2018, the Cantareira system, the city’s biggest water reservoir, fell to below 40% of its capacity, a potentially dangerous level that threatened supplies to 7 million people.

Brazilian media took up on this story, and as the threat to the city’s water supply became more apparent, it triggered concern that more needed to be done to ensure a clean water supply and avoid a shortages.

How can beauty brands help save water?

Jane H
Jane Henderson, Global president of Mintel Beauty and Personal Care

So what does this mean for beauty and personal care manufacturers in Brazil, and elsewhere in the Latin American region? How can they contribute to ensuring a clean and reliable water supply in the face of these concerns?

“Beauty brands, especially soap, bath and shower products, need to take this type of message on board and change their formulations as a means of limiting the amount of water involved in the production and use of personal care products,”​ said Jane Henderson, Global president of Mintel Beauty and Personal Care.

“This not only means reducing the amount of water that is involved in the manufacturing of product care formulations, but also minimizing the use of water used in bathroom by creating quick rinse formulations, for example.”

The threat of microplastics

The Mintel report also highlighted another pressing problem: the threat of pollution to water supplies. Across Europe and North America in particular, the use of microbeads in personal care formulations is rapidly being outlawed, but in Latin America the issue has been slower to reach people’s radars.

“Consumers in Brazil, and throughout the Latin America region, are becoming more and more aware about microplastics, and are increasingly demanding that products such as face and body scrubs are formulated without non-biodegradable plastic microbeads,”​ said Henderson.

“The particles are small enough to get through effluent screens and contaminate groundwater, and therefore the entire watershed is at risk from contamination, so it poses a massive risk to water supplies in the Brazil and throughout the region.”

Henderson went on to explain that, although brands in Europe and North America have already begun to develop Soap, Bath and Shower products made with natural ingredients that replace microplastics, similar product formulations are now starting to be launched in Latin America.

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