Ditching microbeads boosts facial scrub category


Ditching microbeads boosts facial scrub category

Government legislation introduced at the start of this year banning the manufacturing of products containing plastic microbeads found in facial scrubs, has lead to a plethora of new natural ingredients being introduced in the facial scrub market over the last year.

The latest market data from IRI, the provider of big data and predictive analytics for FMCG manufacturers and retailers, shows that new product development in facial scrubs has added +£1.4m in sales in the last year (Source: IRI Infoscan 52 weeks to 27 Jan 2018).

Microbeads are very small pieces of plastic used in facial scrubs and other skincare products. Concern with the thousands of tonnes of plastic microbeads washing into the sea every year and harming marine life led to a Government ban and consumer concern about buying these products. Skincare brands took products off the shelves and have rapidly innovated so that they could offer their customers the same benefits of daily exfoliation – principally a glowing complexion – but with natural ingredients that biodegrade and pose no harm to marine life.

As a result, NPD using natural ingredients made a huge contribution to sales in this category over the last year.

Clay has contributed a massive 339% to the value growth of facial scrubs, with sugar and salt contributing 39% and 37% respectively. The health benefits of clay are widely accepted – it draws out impurities from the skin, offers circulation boosting properties and assists with skin break-outs – but its use in the facial scrub market is new; historically it has been used in facial masks.

Salt is an ingredient most commonly associated with cooking but its high mineral content, particularly in sea salt, can help reduce inflammation and breathe new life into skin.

Sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid that penetrates the skin and encourages cell turnover, retaining moisture and keeping skin hydrated. Facial scrubs containing sugar have grown by £74k in just one year.

There are some other natural alternatives that may start to see more of as brands get creative. These include oats, walnut shells, jojoba beads and coffee grounds.

Since 2017, the facial scrub market overall has gained +2% in value sales to £11.7m.

Kaajal Bhatti, Senior Insight Manager at IRI commented: “The landscape of brands operating in this popular skincare segment is changing. New product innovation has clearly hit the mark and proved a huge winner with customers – with sales of new products adding £1.4m to the category in the last year. Sales of the biggest brands in 2017 declined whereas new entrants, offering natural and environmentally friendly ingredients and packaging, demonstrated positive sales growth.

Established brands will have to be more nimble to adapt to changing consumer trends and broader environmental concerns. It will be interesting to see how the marketing strategies of both segments play out and what natural product will be next for our skincare exfoliation regime.”

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