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Physicians Formula Goes Organic

Physicians Formula is going natural with the launch of Organic Wear, the first certified organic makeup line to be sold in the mass market.

Physicians Formula is going natural with the launch of Organic Wear, the first certified organic makeup line to be sold in the mass market.

According to Physicians Formula chief executive officer Ingrid Jackel, research from sources such as Datamonitor and the Organic Trade Association showed that last year’s U.S. organic sales hit $24 billion, growing a healthy 20 percent from 2005. Jackel noted that organic personal care is now an $8 billion industry, with expectations of surpassing $12 billion by 2011. She added that personal care has seen a 15 to 20 percent growth rate each year for five years and is expected to become a major force in the U.S. beauty industry by 2012.

“We found that more than half of women in the U.S. are seeking natural personal care products, and 44 percent are specifically looking for organic ingredients so we wanted to create something based on certified organic ingredients to fulfill the needs of this new demographic,” said Jackel.

Launching in January in major food, drug and mass retailers, Physicians Formula will introduce 42 color cosmetic items, including a tinted moisturizer, liquid bronzer, pressed powder, loose powder and matte finishing, along with bronzing veil, bronzer and a blush, which contain the Ecocert organic certification. In order to get Ecocert certification, Jackel said 95 percent of the ingredients had to be of natural origins and at least 90 percent of the total formula needed to contain certified organic ingredients and be produced by organic farming. Priced at only a dollar more than the normal price point for Physicians Formula, the assortment retails from $10.95 for the tinted moisturizer to $13.95 for the bronzer.

“Getting into organic makeup made sense to us because we’re a problem-solution-driven brand and not color-driven. We’re about bringing new innovation to the food, drug and mass chains,” said Jackel. “Our mission was to make this available to a broad range of consumers between the ages of 18 and 54, who are shopping across all categories in personal care.”

Each product contains the EcoBlend proprietary complex, designed to condition, fortify and protect skin from environmental impurities. EcoBlend complex features trademarked formulas OrganiSoy and Eco-Olive, certified organic soy and olive designed to help nourish and protect skin. The organic soy helps to even out skin tone and texture to restore smoothness, while Eco-Olive acts as an antioxidant to help protect skin from environmental aggressors. The formula also contains a variety of ingredients such as cornstarch, organic corn, jojoba seed oil, rice silk and orange extracts, which vary depending on the product.

According to Information Resources Inc., the 52 weeks ended Oct. 7 showed Physicians Formula dollar sales up about 12 percent to $97.4 million, not including Wal-Mart.

Jackel predicts that organic color cosmetics will be the driving force throughout the channels of distribution and will be much larger than the organic personal care market, the appeal of which may not be as broad.

“There’s a specific need for consumers who break out and have sensitive skin that are looking for a high level of coverage,” said Jackel. “We see organic as a lifestyle change — something that’s much broader that addresses a variety of needs and doesn’t solve just a specific skin problem. I feel that the organic trend in makeup will impact the cosmetic market in bigger waves than minerals did.”

Jackel noted that research shows sales in color cosmetics in the food, drug and mass category are only up 1 percent, while the premium and “masstige” category is flat. She attributes the “sluggish year” to a decline in consumer traffic in major retail chains, in addition to declines in consumers’ overall cosmetics purchases.

“Masstige cosmetics typically aren’t hurt by downturns in the economy, but this year is an exception. If it’s not an absolutely necessary item, consumers are cutting their spending,” said Jackel, who attributes another part of the poor performance within the category to a decline in Revlon sales. IRI data for the 52-week period ended Oct. 7 show sales of Revlon products down 3.2 percent, not including Wal-Mart.

In color cosmetics, the sales driver has been mineral makeup, said Jackel.

With the new assortment, the company is targeting the same consumers they’ve courted for the past decade. According to Jackel, these are “cross shoppers” who haven’t yet found a “green” makeup alternative, but are looking for a natural finish and organic ingredients. The company also sees an opportunity in attracting potential new consumers for food, drug and mass.

Packaged in recycled paper, the compacts use 93 percent less plastic than standard compacts, while maintaining the same functionality.

“We wanted to be sure not to compromise on any features, but make sure the packaging was still highly functional,” said Jackel.

According to Jackel, the launch for Organic Wear will be supported by an extensive advertising campaign set to break in February that will include about 20 magazines, outdoor advertising and online initiatives.

Hoping to place the new Organic Wear assortment alongside its existing items, the company is asking retailers for an additional foot of space. Physicians Formula will also offer incentives to retailers, such as permanent end-cap presentations, store signage, shelf talkers and store boards.

Retailers hope the new assortment will add some excitement to the category.

Jack McAuliffe, publisher of Beauty Handbook, said he feels this is one of the best put-together lines he has seen, with everything thought of, including the green packaging.

Luba Sasowski, national cosmetic manager of Pharmasave Drugs Ltd., said organic cosmetics could be a way to attract new consumers as well as create consumer loyalty.

“We’ve seen that overall cosmetic sales are flat and the growth we are seeing seems to be coming from the mineral segment at this time,” said Sasowski. “Adding an organic line may be a way to create customer loyalty and increase basket size.”

Since space is limited in these stores, Sasowski said they will be testing prepacks and sidewinders before committing to peg wall space.