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The trend that has seen consumers shun synthetics and seek out more natural, healthy and organic products – from food to clothing to cosmetics – has helped to boost the natural beauty category to consistent double-digit annual growth in recent years. In the past year the naturals trend has been accentuated by the arrival of so-called fresh-batch skincare brands – brands based on the concept that as with food, fresh is best.

Fresh-batch skincare sees brands offering products in small-quantities to ensure that the ingredients are fresh when the product is applied, and like food they often include a best before date. Fresh-batch skincare brands often also lay claim to being vegan, halal, organic, or not tested on animals. Examples include Danish fresh-batch skincare brand Nuori, whose products have a limited twelve-week life cycle. The brand offers a start-using-by date as well as an expiration date to ensure consumers benefit from the optimum freshness and efficacy of the ingredients. Australia’s Khloris Botanicals creates limited-edition facial toners from distilled plant waters on a three-month seasonal basis. The brand provides a use-by date on opening and says each batch of products will be slightly different depending on the season and ingredients available. The products are packaged in 100ml or 50ml dark glass bottles that are designed to prolong shelf-life by protecting them from UV rays. Other brands capitalizing on this trend are US-based Farmacy, which claims its products contain farm-grown botanicals that are delivered fresh to consumers and Canada-based Sustainable Healing.

Food Influences

The fresh-batch trend dovetails with consumer demand for customizing skincare products to individual needs at home. Products include the Beauty Juicer, which creates hydrogel masks made of fresh fruit and vegetables or the Romy Paris Figure, which analyzes the skin and formulates a customized serum on a daily basis using a combination of active ingredients.

Beauty industry observers have long stated the influence of the food industry on the market and say that this trend will continue. UK-based market-research group Mintel predicts that the use of probiotic fermented plant extracts will become more prominent in cosmetic formulations over the coming year. Meanwhile, a growing number of North American cosmetics brands are adopting ethical food labels, as consumers demand the same level of traceability and safety from personal-care products as they get from natural and organic foods, according to new data from research group Organic Monitor.The company said 15% of natural personal-care products are now certified, representing a market value of over $700m. Non-GMO Project Verified is the fastest-growing ethical label, and has been adopted by about 500 personal care products within a few years. Gluten-free labels on personal-care products are also becoming more widespread, due to an increased use of food ingredients in cosmetics.

However, whether the fresh-batch segment remains a niche or carves out a more significant place in the market remains to be seen. To date, fresh-batch brands are in the prestige price bracket, and while some are available in selective distribution, most are banking on e-commerce to generate sales. A sign of the category’s strength will come from the interest, or lack of, shown of course by retailers, but also by the multinationals in developing or acquiring such a brand.