Come April 23, a new 100 percent USDA-certified organic bath and body collection will launch exclusively in all Whole Foods Market doors, of which there are approximately 300 nationwide. The range, called Nourish Organic Food for Healthy Skin, is being created and distributed by Sensible Organics Inc., a Pennsylvania-based organic beauty care company.

Industry sources believe Nourish — said to be the first full range of organic body products on the market to be certified — could generate more than $10 million in its first year at retail.

“We knew this category and how to work with organic materials,” said Rick Ruffolo, chief executive officer and president of Sensible Organics, which has been primarily operating in custom product development and as a private label manufacturing facility for organic products. “It’s not rocket science, but it is food science.”

Acquired in September 2011 by the Renewal2 Investment Fund, Ruffolo said Sensible Organics is the first personal care manufacturing facility to receive organic certification by the USDA, in 2003.

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“With us, there is no middleman,” said Ruffolo. “We make our own product. We already had an expertise and there was a real desire to make this happen.”

To that end, every Nourish formula utilizes USDA-certified extracts from fruits, vegetables and plants and organic ingredients like coconut milk, sunflower seed oil and aloe leaf juice.  Each product — available in five versions — Fresh Fig, Almond Vanilla, Lavender Mint, Wild Berries and unscented — retails for less than $10. In addition, the line contains no artificial chemicals and relies on an “organic preservation system” to keep product formulas fresh.

“We wanted a full line that was accessibly priced,” said Ruffolo. “We didn’t want this to be a special-occasion line. We want it to be part of people’s lifestyles every day.”

The line comprises a body wash, hand wash, body lotion, body butter, body polish and deodorant. Only the hand and body washes and body lotion will be available this month. The rest will roll out later in the summer.

According to Jeremiah McElwee, executive Whole Body coordinator of the Global Purchasing Team at Whole Foods, the launch of Nourish coincides perfectly with a recent labeling initiative at the retail emporium. He said that by June of this year, Whole Foods will require that any “organic” personal care product contain substantial amounts of organically grown plant-based materials.

“One of the dynamics we observed throughout our 30-year history at Whole Foods is the most important thing to our customers are our product labels,” said McElwee. “It was very evident that consumers were very confused shopping in this category.”

McElwee said the move towards “cleaning up organic claims” in beauty aisles is essential because “there are no federal guidelines for the term ‘organic’ in personal or body care like there are when it comes to food.”
“We thought, Why can’t customers walk around the stores and know what organic means?” he said.

When it comes to packaging for the line, Ruffolo, who has worked previously with brands like Bath & Body Works, Crabtree & Evelyn and Yankee Candle, says the goal was to create a feeling of “high efficacy, high indulgence. It’s built around an indulgent experience, but one done organically and at a good value,” he said, adding that a Web site, nourishusda.com, will be fully running, with e-commerce, when the products launch.

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