Ingredient Disclosure: new Rite Aid chemical policy calls for fragrance transparency

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (paulynn)
© Getty Images \ (paulynn)

Related tags Fragrance fragrance transparency Rite aid

This week the drug store chain announced updates to its Chemical Policy. The most significant changes will affect food packaging, ethical certifications and free-from claims, and fragrance ingredients.

“We're proud of our work to offer cleaner, more sustainable products,” ​says Erik Keptner, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer at Rite Aid, in a press release posted to the company site on Wednesday.  

“Our expanded commitment,” ​he says, “is another step forward in our journey to offer our customers product choices they can feel great about.”

The Chemical Policy update is part of the retailer’s new strategy—RxEvolution—foregrounding pharmacists and consumer health. “Rite Aid's RxEvolution is about promoting whole health, and we're dedicated to ensuring that our merchandise is aligned to that goal,”​ explains Keptner.

Mass market beauty retailer Rite Aid takes one step closer to full fragrance transparency

Rite Aid (which was acquired by the Walgreen’s Boots Alliance in 2018) announced its Chemical Policy in 2016 with the objective of banning 8 chemicals from its own brand formulated products by the close of 2020. According to this week’s press release, the retailer has “achieved 98% compliance” ​with that commitment.

Just for reference, those 8 chemicals are: triclosan, propyl paraben, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, diethyl phthalate, butyl paraben, and nonylphenol ethoxylates.

Full fragrance transparency is still a challenge, with very few suppliers or fragrance houses sharing complete ingredient lists with their customers. (Palette Naturals​ and Sozio’s Clean Label collection​ are 2 notable exceptions.)

But Rite Aid’s new policy, which won’t be in full effect until December 2023, aims to “[offer] increased product ingredient transparency by requiring suppliers to provide additional disclosure surrounding generic ingredients, like ‘fragrance’,” ​explains the press release.

And the retailer’s Chemical Policy page​ goes a bit further: “Rite Aid will promote more comprehensive ingredient disclosure to consumers and will encourage suppliers to publicly disclose all intentionally added ingredients (including the constituents of fragrance and other proprietary components and allergens), as well as nonfunctional constituents, online and on pack (if practicable).”

Consumer expectations and retailer pressure are changing beauty ingredient standards

Rite Aid (like numerous other retailers including Sally Beauty, Ulta Beauty, Target, Sephora, etc.) is involved with the Mind the Store campaign led by non-profit Safer Chemical, Healthy Families​. The organization’s focus is on toxic chemicals.  

Mike Schade, Director of Mind the Store campaign shared his comments with the press this week as well, saying “We are very pleased to see that Rite Aid is taking concrete actions to safeguard its customers and communities from toxic chemicals.”

“Today's announcement shows excellent progress; setting higher bars on chemical management is a growing sustainability trend among retailers. In our work with Rite Aid over the last year, we have been impressed by the significant progress made despite the global pandemic,” ​he says.

Read the full Rite Aid Chemical Policy update announcement​ online. 

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