Natural and organic hair and skin care products fit right in with the upscaling trend in these categories.
“Natural is expanding and consumers are looking for more natural products in the skin care segments,” said Tony Harrington, business manager, HBC, Topco Associates, Skokie, Ill., a privately held cooperative providing procurement and other services to its member-owners. “Consumers are definitely looking to return to a more natural way of living, including taking care of their skin and hair.”
While price and technology are drivers of the main hair and skin categories, “the emphasis on health and wellness will be an overriding theme for all lines, particularly natural/organic products,” said Larry Ishii, general manager, GM/HBC, Unified Western Grocers, Commerce, Calif.
“We are starting to see more interest in organic skin care,” Debbie Leland, natural and specialty foods buyer, Kowalski's Markets, Woodbury, Minn. “People realize that what they put into their skin is absorbed into their bloodstream, and just also an overall concern for the environment. They want products that are clean, that are produced in a clean way and they feel good about using.”
Kowalski's carries organic skin care, lotions, body wash and shampoos, as well as a private-label salon line of natural items that are not 100% organic, she said. “We partnered with a local salon owner, and used his formulas,” she said. The salon continues to sell the products under its own name. The 18 stockkeeping units include green tea body lotion, and lavender shampoos and conditioners, she said.
Retailers need to be careful about positioning products as ‘organic’ if they are not certified, said Dan Spears, director of HBC and GM, Ingles Markets, Asheville, N.C. “Those consumers are not going to be fooled. The true organic customers know organic when they see it.”
The uncertain economic times will show how dedicated these customers are, he noted. “If people have made the choice to go organic, then we'll just have to wait and see if they follow through with that, or scale back,” Spears said.
Bi-Lo, Greenville, S.C., carries natural and organic hair and skin care products, said Terry Cerwick, senior category manager, non-edibles. “We've seen good gains in those categories and we are looking to expand and incorporate them into our regular sets,” as the retailer has done with oral care products. “You will probably see more and more of that going forward. It will become more mainstream,” he said.
The Clorox acquisition of Burt's Bees reflects how the natural/organic market is going mainstream, said Jim Wisner, president, Wisner Marketing Group, Libertyville, Ill.