According to ecostore's head of marketing, Angelina Ashcroft, there are several emerging trends and changing preferences within the beauty and hygiene category.
One significant trend has been the growing emphasis on sustainability and environmental consciousness. Enviro Personal Care is growing faster than mainstream brands as customers have become increasingly more knowledgeable and conscious of what they put on their skin and into the world. This indicates that consumers are seeking products that align with their values.
"Eco-friendly products, which were once niche, are now in high demand," said Ashcroft.
The Body Wash market, including mainstream brands, has grown by 12.2 percent. In contrast, Enviro Body Wash alone has grown by 17.9 percent. Ashcroft also pointed out another example with the Bar Soap market increasing in value by 7.1 percent, while Enviro Bar Soap increased by 12.0 percent in the same period.*
The sustainability movement has been integral to ecostore since its inception. It has led the category while proudly ensuring each product is gentle on the environment and free of harmful chemicals.
People have so many decisions to make every day, let alone when they're doing the supermarket shopping. Ecostore aims to make it easy and accessible for customers to make responsible choices.
"People have so many decisions to make every day, let alone when they're doing the supermarket shopping. Ecostore aims to make it easy and accessible for customers to make responsible choices."
Ecostore has been innovating and building trust with consumers over the last 30 years, making it easy for people to make great product choices that are effective and safe.
Ashcroft said that striking a balance between the effectiveness of the product and the well-being of consumers and the planet was of utmost importance. Ecostore uses locally sourced, native New Zealand flax Harakeke. Harakeke is a luxurious botanical moisturiser packed with linoleic acid, which boosts the skin's barrier layer, helping seal in natural moisture.
Globally, there has been a trend towards product development centred on better performance and sustainability options. An example of this is the use of oat milk. Oat milk has been adopted across many categories as a key ingredient due to its environmental benefits and effectiveness, particularly in beauty products. The sustainable cultivation of oat milk and its benefits to the skin contribute to the ingredient's market growth, which is anticipated to be worth US$4.21 billion by 2027.
"At ecostore, we're always striving to meet demand and have just launched an oat milk soap range, which includes our Ultra Sensitive Oat Milk Soap and Oat Milk Baby Soap."
Regarding sustainability, ecostore recognises that it involves more than the product itself. It also includes its packaging, which is why the brand has developed a range of hair care bars entirely free of plastic packaging. Where plastic is required, ecostore has developed refill options and its own Plastic Return Programme to ensure it takes accountability for recycling these materials.
In another sustainable innovation, ecostore has utilised concentrated formulas that remove unnecessary water from the final product. This minimises the need for larger containers and reduces the resources required for shipping. Expanding on their concentrated cleaner refills, ecostore now offer concentrated refills for their new foaming hand wash range. The 50 ml glass bottle of refill concentrate saves on larger bottles and the associated resources required to ship them.
"Our concentrated refills reduce plastic waste and promote a more conscious approach to product usage."
Ashcroft emphasised that ecostore believes that initiatives like these would soon become the general expectation from consumers.
"Consumers are becoming much more aware of how their choices impact the world around them, and we believe they will prefer those who lead in this space."
In 2024, sustainability will remain at the forefront of challenges and opportunities for businesses across the category. The heightened environmental awareness and demand for safer products are driving this shift, with more brands aiming to place sustainability at their core to navigate these challenges effectively.
"As one of the primary challenges is the pressure to reduce the environmental impact of products, we are constantly reassessing our supply chains, sourcing practices, and packaging materials."
Ashcroft stated that a pivotal aspect of sustainability revolves around the ingredients used to create and craft products. Clean-label products have become increasingly in demand as consumers want to know what is in the product they use and want transparency for every point of its inception, including ethical sourcing.
Focusing on using sustainable, ethical, and natural ingredients will be essential for brands to maintain a competitive edge in the market. Hand-in-hand with being sustainable includes the adoption of circular economy practices.
Ashcroft concluded small changes added up, and there are opportunities for all to do better, with ecostore being passionate about leading by example, providing information, and sharing knowledge to empower other brands and their customers to make conscious decisions.
*(Source: Circana scan data for NZ Grocery for the 26 weeks to 14/05/2023 vs YA)
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