Attribute to Simon Corner, Sales & Marketing Director at Kerfoot Group  

After a volatile and challenging period, the personal care product sector is finally finding its commercial footing once again. Where brands focused on volume and logistics in an attempt to combat panic buying in 2020, the focus is now back on new product development and driving market share. 

The personal care category has perhaps been the most unpredictable during the Covid-19 pandemic. While some product segments, such as hygiene, have flourished, others have significantly struggled for sales. Across the whole beauty, cosmetic and personal care sector, market intelligence agency McKinsey projects a total decline in sales of up to 30% in the wake of the global health crisis.  

Fortunately, we’re now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and a more settled and stable market, which makes focusing on new product development extremely important. Personal care brands and formulators must innovate to capture vital consumer attention and capitalise on the resurging demand. 

Introducing the new ‘beautrition’ trend 

The ‘beautrition’ trend sees ingredients that are traditionally used in food products now finding a fresh lease of life in personal care formulations.  

The idea of food ingredients making this jump is not altogether new – Olive Oil is a great example. Historically used in cooking and food production, the oil successfully made the leap into personal care applications many years ago. Olive Oil has proven to be a highly effective ingredient for skin care, with hydrating and emollient effects, and is now commonly found in creams and lotions.  

What is particularly exciting now is the sheer diversity of ingredients that are following suit. Today’s personal care product developers have access to a wide catalogue of potential ingredients originating from the food industry. 

Ingredients that are good enough to eat are shaping today’s product developments, but what’s driving the change – and what can it tell brands about the future of formulation? 

Stronger nutritional profiles 

Across the board, the world is moving towards a healthier way of living. Products categories such as organic, GM-free or vegan, once considered niche special interest products, are now firmly in the mainstream. Consumers are more health-conscious than ever before, and to reach this audience and engage, it’s all about ‘added nutrition’. A strong consumer theme also seen in the food, health and nutrition sectors, shoppers are looking for a combination of more natural components, fewer ingredients overall and a strong nutritional profile.  

Shoppers are familiar with providing essential nutrients to the body through diet but are now treating personal care products applied to skin and hair with the same attention. What is considered to be healthy for the inside of the body can be just as good for the outside. Plus, the composition of food ingredients tends to be very stable, and highly compatible with the personal care product formulation process.   

One powerful example of this in action is Avocado, available in both oil and butter format. It’s no secret that Avocado has risen in popularity in the food world, but it’s beginning to find a strong foothold in personal care applications too. Avocado Butter retains the soft characteristic aromas of avocado, with the versatility to wow in a wide spectrum of products. 

It has a strong nutritional profile, particularly so for skincare applications. Avocado is a naturally abundant source of Vitamins C, E, K and B6, and is renowned for powerful hydration and its ability to lock moisture into the skin.

Favouring the natural over the synthetic 

Purchasing behaviour trends demonstrate that the mindful consumer is looking for more natural ingredients over synthetic. Natural ingredients are simply seen as more sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical than synthetic chemicals and compounds.

A synthetic ingredient could be manufactured in an extremely sustainable way, but unfortunately the semantic baggage that accompanies the term ‘synthetic’ means it will always be seen as less eco-friendly than ingredients derived from natural sources.

From body butters and lotions to shampoos and conditioners, natural ingredients are proving advantageous in store as consumers pay closer attention to ingredients lists. Similarly, shoppers are putting more focus on ingredient origin and traceability, wanting to know more about where their products have come from. In turn, this helps them build a fuller picture of the brand and its sustainability credentials. 

Research and consulting agency Kline & Company have previously highlighted ‘natural’ as the more important trend across the entire personal care sector. We are now seeing what effect this is having on brand competition, particularly in the wake of an uncertain retail environment where brands must take every opportunity to differentiate available. 

The natural power of planet-based ingredients over synthetic or synthesised additives can be seen very clearly in personal care – particularly for brands looking to get creative with formulations. We are familiar with macadamia nuts as a handy snack with a soft, buttery flavour and distinctly creamy aroma. However, Macadamia Oil is also proving to be an attractive natural addition to personal care formulations; high in both omega-3 and omega-6 fats with the perfect 1:1 ratio.  

Popular uses of Macadamia Nut oil include body and face moisturisers, massage and therapeutic oils. The oil can imbue products with the attractive qualities of the nut without the need for synthetic components. Macadamia Oil offers product developers an innovative natural hydrator and emollient, meeting the consumer demand for more of the natural, and less of the man-made. 

Fresh creativity 

With heightened stress over lockdown and the many challenges that come with it, premium products have spiked in popularity as consumers seek escapism and an experience, not just a product. Switching ingredients from food to personal care applications opens a whole new avenue of creativity for product developers. The sweet scents and aroma of food products can be imbued in luxurious personal care products for simple range expansions, as well as the development of new ranges.  

A great example of the beautrition trend is Coffee Butter. A rising star of personal care formulations, coffee beans offer a number of new benefits. The butter retains the distinctive and attractive aroma of fresh roast coffee, in the form of a soft, pliable butter from a rheology-modified base. Created by hydrogenating the oil of pressed coffee beans, the fantastic aroma is not the ingredient’s only strength. Highly moisturising, Coffee Butter is able to protect and repair skin and is proving popular in anti-ageing and sensitive skin soap formulations. Notably, the butter does not contain caffeine, as caffeine is a water-soluble component of the bean. 

In summary, beautrition is surging in popularity because it meets a number of dovetailing consumer trends head-on. The combination of strong nutrition, ‘natural’ thinking and innovation is powering the transition from food to personal care markets. Brands that can harness food ingredients and use their diverse advantages as a competitive edge to drive personal care product innovation will find strong commercial opportunities are available. 

At Kerfoot Group, we specialise in helping formulators and brand owners supercharge product development, harnessing the best of nature. Supporting the personal care, food, health and nutrition sectors with our portfolio of oils, ingredients and soap bases, our team of technical experts is backed up with powerhouse logistics and stockholding to deliver on projects of every size and complexity.

Could beautrition be the next lucrative direction for your personal care range? Speak to our team today to discover how simple it can be.