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Markets & trends

Retail: “With Sources, Carrefour banks on the need for transparency”

The new beauty store concept set up by French retail giant Carrefour has just opened in Paris. The company developed an offering that meets the expectations of consumers in search of transparency and products free from any controversial ingredients. Helped by the Beautylitic analysis tool devised by Candice Colin, creator of the Clean Beauty application, the new point of sale is aimed to provide accurate information on the ingredients contained in 3,400 beauty references. 76 controversial ingredients have already been excluded from all compositions and some of them have got the most restrictive “Les Yeux Fermés” (eyes closed) Clean Beauty label. Together with Candice Colin, Valentine Fournier and Gwenaëlle Ogor, Beauty Project Manager and Category Director of Carrefour, have told Premium Beauty News a bit more about the concept and its objectives.

Premium Beauty News - What did a general company like Carrefour focus on to launch Sources?

Gwenaëlle Ogor - What has been going on in the food industry is now visible in beauty: consumers increasingly use applications to know exactly what they buy. According to a study conducted by Statista, the product composition has become the second buying criterion, after the price. It is now considered more important than product efficacy, and it is a major issue, so we wanted to meet this customer need for reassurance.

Premium Beauty News - So, should we talk about transparency and/or clean beauty?

Valentine Fournier - It is definitely a store dedicated to transparent beauty. Transparent, because we explain everything about product composition to our consumers – we do not hide anything. Thanks to the Beautylitic tool, we now know everything about every single reference in our selection, so we can signal products containing phenoxyethanol, for example. Of course, we take action for clean beauty and hope that in the long run, the selection will be more significant than it is now: we have decided to ban only 76 controversial ingredients. We have made this choice because we consider than in certain categories, the market is not advanced enough yet for us to offer both efficient and clean products – typically, makeup and sun products. However, 17% of our products have the “Les Yeux Fermés” label, which guarantees they contain no controversial ingredient or allergen, according to the Clean Beauty application. So, we can also offer 100% clean products if consumers want us to.

Premium Beauty News - What value does the Beautylitic tool add?

Candice Colin - This software was designed to carry out a dynamic analysis of thousands of references, i.e. whole departments, in order to manage referencing more efficiently. Taking into account multiple crossed criteria, our algorithms decipher products according to the nature of the ingredients, their use per product category and function, their regulatory aspects, the scientific studies potentially characterizing a solid controversy regarding the very typology of the product concerned… All this is meaningful due to the use of a number of controversial ingredients in most daily products, and not just cosmetics, which creates cocktail and cumulative effects we have no control upon. And as it is managed by our scientific team, our work is fully documented.

We provide distributors with essential data for them to understand what they sell. This has become crucial. Generally speaking, there is a huge crisis of confidence going on, and to me, distributors are increasingly considered responsible for the products they offer.

Premium Beauty News - As the creator of the Clean Beauty cosmetics deciphering application, are you “comfortable” with the fact that all these products are not clean?

Candice Colin - Today, although of course, consumers look for products with more and more irreproachable compositions, I think that above all, what they want is transparency, so they can make well-informed, conscious choices. No one can live a 100% clean life, but we can definitely make choices. That is where the strength of the Sources concept lies. The store offers both highly safe and more conventional products, but it is all clear and explained by beauty advisors. That is the message I want to send.

Of course, we try and contribute to developing more virtuous chemistry practices, but what is really important is the notion of not taking customers for fools. The crisis of confidence in our industry results from a huge gap between product reality and what advertizing has done with it.

Premium Beauty News - Let’s talk about Sources again. Beyond the features we have already mentioned, how is the offering positioned?

Valentine Fournier - We do not attract customers with the price, but with the composition. And yet, the brand is still affordable. 60% of our selection is also available in Carrefour supermarkets and in our parapharmacies. In addition, we have developed our offering so it meets the needs of every single customer in each category. Lastly, we are keen on discovery. We want to be a real new brand laboratory to provide constant renewal. Plus, we offer many mixed services: barber, beauty enhancement, hairstyling, makeup, and manicure bars, beauty salon for both men and women…

Premium Beauty News - Are you going to deploy the concept?

Valentine Fournier - It is a pilot store, so we are going to wait for a few months to see how it does and possibly develop the concept. We might also create an online version.

Interview by Kristel Milet


  • Candice Colin, creator of the Clean Beauty application
  • Gwenaëlle Ogor, Beauty Category Director of Carrefour
  • Valentine Fournier, Sources Project Manager at Carrefour
© 2019 - Premium Beauty News -
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