Natural Foods Merchandiser

Personal care bubbles over at Expo West

After a lucrative 2008 with 28.6 percent growth, sales of natural and organic personal care products hit a wall in 2009. The good news: For the 12-week period ending in late November 2009, NOPC sales were up 2 percent over the previous year, according to SPINS, a Schaumburg, Ill.-based market research firm. If Natural Products Expo West exhibitor space is any indicator, personal care continues to head in the right direction. Attendees will see at least 268 personal care exhibitors this year. “While we have slightly fewer big companies exhibiting, it has opened the door for new, smaller companies,” says Adam Andersen, Expo West show manager. Personal care themes likely to bubble up at the show: at-home spa products, antiaging skin care, oral care and organic labels.

At-home spa products.
Body and massage oils and natural hair-color products were big winners in personal care in 2009, with 7 percent and 8 percent growth, respectively, according to SPINS. “Rather than going to the spa or salon, consumers are making one at home,” says SPINS consultant Beata Pabian. Learn more about the sustainability and uses of oils at the Expo West education session Essential Oils, presented by Tim Blakley, an aromatherapist for essential oil manufacturer Aura Cacia, Thursday, March 11,11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Antiaging skin care.
U.S. sales of antiaging skin care products reached $1.6 billion in 2008, according to Mintel, an international market research firm. In a March 2009 report, Mintel predicted the skin care category will grow 10 percent from 2008 to 2013. Scout the Expo West show floor for new skin care products containing high-potency, multitasking ingredients, such as the darlings of grocery that now are jumping the aisle to become the next personal care stars: superfruits like acerola, buriti, cupuacu, murumuru, urucum and sea buckthorn.

Natural and organic oral care.
The U.S. natural and organic oral care market was valued at $160 million in 2008, and according to market researchers Organic Monitor, it is predicted to grow annually at 20 percent to 25 percent in the next few years. Check out the Expo West show floor for toothpastes infused with xylitol to help prevent cavity-causing bacteria growth, alcohol-free mouth rinses and eco-friendly toothbrushes.

Organic labels. The standoff over organic labeling in personal care is coming to a head. Personal care manufacturer Dr. Bronner’s and the Organic Consumers Association filed lawsuits and called on federal regulators to enforce the use of the term organic. In November 2009, the National Organic Standards Board recommended that organic personal care products be recognized like food by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. At Expo West, product specialists and legislation experts will clear up the confusion over personal care labels and claims at the Organic Personal Care education session, Friday, March 12, 8:30 to 10 a.m.

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