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Clean, Green Profits
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Green bath and body products are sizzling hot. With sales expected
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to grow at an average annual rate of 27 percent, here’s a look at a
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product category you can’t afford to ignore.
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Emily Lambert
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Organic
A third category of products, containing a minimum
70 percent organic ingredients, can be labeled “made with
organic ingredients.” Products in this category cannot
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carry the USDA seal. Anything made with less than 70 percent
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organic ingredients cannot carry an organic label, although
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the manufacturer can list the ingredients that are organic.
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Craig Minowa, environmental scientist for the
Organic Consumers Association, in Finland, MN, refers
to the confusion as labeling anarchy. “The USDA label is
the only way to tell if it’s truly organic,” he says.
To add to the confusion, the USDA labels apply to
food. So if a bath and body product has to carry the USDA
label or meet organic certifications, it has to be made with
organic food ingredients. Such is the case with Erbaviva,
says Gonzalez. The company’s products carry the coveted
USDA Organic label because they are made from organic
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food ingredients.
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Natural products
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“Natural” products are those made with ingredients
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derived from nature. Some products, such as soap, can be
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“nearly natural,” made with many natural ingredients but
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using chemical stabilizers.
Trending up
ucas Heldfond sees it every day. The owner of Spring, a store in
The market for organic bath and body products is especially
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San Francisco that specializes in “green” products, says that green has
hot. Barbara Haumann, press secretary for the Organic
increasingly become a buzzword in consumers’ consciousness.
Trade Association, says sales of organic personal care
Ruby Gonzalez agrees. “People in stores are reading ingredients more
products (including those made with organic ingredients)
and more. Overall, there is more awareness,” says Gonzalez, director of
totaled $282 million in the United States in 2005, and
sales and marketing for Erbaviva, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified V
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manufacturer and wholesaler of organic bath and body products in Los Angeles.
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N project it will grow by 27 percent on average from 2007 to
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Decoding the lingo
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2010,” she says. “It is a very healthy market with a lot of
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If, as Gonzalez says, customers are reading ingredients “more and more,” they
growth.” The Greenfield, MA-based association aims to
will surely have questions to ask you. The explosion in this market has lead
encourage global sustainability by promoting diverse
to terms that many find confusing. There’s organic, there’s natural, there’s
organic trade.
certified organic. What do all these mean?
If you include natural products, the market becomes
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Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients
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even bigger. Packaged Facts, a division of marketresearch.com,
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Certified organic
and methods, which can be labeled “100 percent organic.”
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estimates the U.S. natural/organic personal care market was
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture issues organic certification to make buying
Products with at least 95 percent organic ingredients,
valued at $6.1 billion at retail in 2006, an 11 percent increase
organics easy. Only two types of products can carry the USDA Organic seal:
which can be labeled “organic.”
from the prior year. In its 2007 report, “Natural and Organic
greenretailermag.com n Summer/Fall 2008 n GREENRetailer
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