Redefining value with the beauty of unit dose capsules
The best things often come in small packages, particularly those that encapsulate a wealth of benefits.
Consider unit dose capsule technology. High potency skin health actives, protected from oxidation in individual capsules, that offer a combination of skin health benefits and convenience. For consumers on-the-go, it offers an affordable format that can be relied on for the gym, to the office, to a night out – even a fortnight’s vacation. Twist-off capsules are easy to open and dispense, with formats offering precise pre-measured dosing with targeted concentrated applications – important for both wastage and efficaciousness. And in a cost-conscious age, the appeal of ‘petit’ is clear for both cash-strapped and curious shoppers, who can enjoy an affordable entry point to prestige or luxury brands.
“As consumers of all ages face an uncertain economic future, both in the short and long term, petit product offerings can give lower-income shoppers access to their desired products, regardless of how aspirational they may seem,” said Carson Kitzmiller, Senior Analyst – Beauty & Personal Care (BPC) at Mintel, at a recent webinar about beauty and skin health trends.
Yet the value of single-dose formats extends beyond price, portability and prestige. As consumers evaluate their beauty regimes and turn to products that address specific needs, and seek intrinsic qualities, how can formulators and brands demonstrate the value of unit dose formats?
An ever-growing focus on sustainability
While price remains a key consideration for consumers, sustainability and biodegradability are emerging as two key factors where brands can show value. Sustainability continues to be top of mind for global consumers and brands alike, with 30% of US adults believing that products made with sustainable materials and methods denote ‘quality’.1 Indeed, sustainability is becoming a cost of entry for BPC brands, and one that is anticipated to become non-negotiable in the next two years.
As global environmental concerns become ever-more complex and impactful, the BPC market has responded with innovations showcasing sustainable attributes in products that contribute to positive planetary outcomes. And the onus is increasingly on the market to deliver; 64% of US adults say brands and retailers should help them to be more environmentally friendly.2 The question is, how?
With an ever-growing environmental focus on packaging reduction and biodegradability, brands that can demonstrate biodegradable attributes in both packaging and ingredient claims increasingly appeal to eco-conscious consumers. Research shows that in the last year, 51% of French shoppers have reduced the number of beauty and grooming products they use that aren’t biodegradable.3
Data also shows 36% of US soap, bath, and shower product users try to take shorter showers to conserve water, and there has been a steady stream of waterless formulations, designed to cut water waste and CO2 emissions, into the market.4 In 2015, Mintel BPC predicted water as one of four key trends to impact the market over the coming decade, requiring brands to address how they manufacture and formulate products to limit their dependence on water.
Waterless formulations have included hydrating solid bars, dissolvable and single dose formats. Notable among these is a leading unit dose capsule technology, CosmoPod®, a 100% plant-based delivery format, made from sustainably-sourced materials that are biodegradable, eliminating product waste. Made from premium-grade sustainably sourced red seaweed, the capsules biodegrade over 60% in the first 10 days and have the ability to protect anhydrous formulas without preservatives.
Ingredient focuses are a global priority
Yet sustainability is just one factor denoting quality. “There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to winning over eco-minded consumers,” says Mintel’s Kitzmiller. “Consumers purchase new products for a wide variety of reasons and sustainability claims alone are not a singular purchase driver, especially if efficacy is at stake.”
Global consumers are also turning to ingredients as an indicator of value, and brands which can communicate ingredient and component-led storytelling are going to engage. Ingredient trends have been shaped by the vegan movement – vegan claims in BPC product launches in the US more than doubled between 2018-2021, with US adults aged 18-44 more likely than their older counterparts to seek BPC products containing only plant-based ingredients.5 This has driven brands to innovate, particularly in the clean beauty space.
Health is also a driving factor, with 46% of US personal care users believing their skin health is a reflection of their overall health, indicating a mindset shift in holistic health, encompassing diet, exercise and mental wellbeing.6 Consumers are seeking functional ingredients in BPC products, particularly those which support the microbiome and skin barrier – 90% of Chinese female skincare users believe that microbiome health is related to a positive effect on skin barrier health.7 Formulations containing – or excluding – ingredients that address specific health needs can help brands further showcase their value.
And ingredients that promote health is an area brands can afford to buy into, too. Data shows that 34% of US BPC users are willing to pay more for products that use scientifically proven or medical-grade ingredients.8 In a world of misinformation, where claims can be exacerbated by social media, consumers trust ingredients that are backed by credible sources and science, thereby proving products are effective.
Research shows that 87% of US beauty and personal care consumers do some type of ingredient research around their products and, of those, 29% do so because they are looking for specific active ingredients in their formulations.9 With this level of engagement, and with potent and expensive active formulations actively sought by skincare consumers, educating them on the correct amount of formula to use is important – for both product-saving abilities in these cost-conscious times, as well as safety reasons especially with ingredients like vitamin C and retinols.
Catalent can help brands drive value here with unit dose solutions which support oils, serums and challenging ingredients. Designed to keep products fresh and efficacious against exposure to light and oxygen, CosmoPod® capsules dispense contents directly onto fingertips or to target area to deliver precise concentration applications that promote efficient dosing and prevent unnecessary wastage, both of which are key for highly active ingredients.
Thanks to their expertise in formulating with oil soluble ingredients and powders, Catalent’s formulators can also vary textures to suit a range of applications. With expertise in formulating with oil soluble ingredients and powders, Catalent has a Product Library of formulations proven to respect the microbiome of the skin and reduce skin sensitivity.
And for brands seeking two complementary or incompatible ingredients in a single, easy-to-use capsule, CosmoPod® Duo capsules use the same twist-off technology to combine two active ingredients into one dual-chamber capsule.
As global consumers of all ages face an uncertain economic future, they are showing that value goes beyond pricing. From products that maintain their freshness and effectiveness with every use, to those that are convenient and easy to use, the appeal of small-sized or dosed skincare products is growing, particularly for Gen Z shoppers as a way to experience luxury for less.
Access to samples, mini sizes and single-dose formats aligns with Gen Z beauty consumers who like to experiment with their appearance (66%) and keep up with trends (55%), while offering curious cash-strapped shoppers an affordable entry point to aspirational and luxury brands.10 With personalized formulations in smaller formats that are better for the environment, portable and have the potential to contain higher concentrations of active ingredients, capsule-size formats can offer the chance to try out more desirable products.
With global travel now recovered post pandemic, consumers are spending more time out of the home, and need on-the-go treatments that will take them from morning to night, and on trips where they can travel light. CosmoPod® capsules offer a diverse range of sizes, shapes and colors to deliver every-day skin boosters to use before moisturizer. They also give consumers control in prescribing their own treatments to boost optimum skin wellness, all while addressing their skin’s changing needs across the seasons and environments.
With access to Catalent’s Product Library, customized solutions, advanced development and product encapsulation solutions, the beauty for brands is in the infinite potential of meeting consumers’ ever-evolving needs and delivering true value.
Missed the webinar? Catch up On Demand here.
1. Mintel Profiles / Mintel (August 2021).
2. Kantar Profiles / Mintel (June 2022).
3. Kantar Profiles / Mintel (March 2022).
4. Kantar Profiles / Mintel (December 2022).
5. Mintel GNPD (September 2018-21); Kantar Profiles / Mintel (August 2021).
6. Kantar Profiles / Mintel (July 2022).
7. KuRunData / Mintel (June 2022).
8. Kantar Profiles / Mintel, (September 2022).
9. Kantar Profiles / Mintel (September 2022).
10. Mintel Reports: Gen Z Online Shopping Habits – US – 2022; The Gen Z Beauty Consumers – US – 2022.