The quality and supply of organic and natural ingredients is still an issue for manufacturers and brand owners, according to a new research by Organic Monitor. “Having sufficient supply of high quality raw materials at reasonable costs is a major concern for many companies,” explains Judi Beerling, Technical Research Manager at Organic Monitor. In order to fill the gap, many companies - such as Weleda and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps - have invested in ethical sourcing projects to guarantee supply of raw materials. In parallel, ingredient firms such as Greentech and Earthoil have set up organic agriculture projects in developing countries.

Other formulation challenges are also linked to the specificity of certified natural and organic products where standards are imposing restrictions on the use of synthetic chemicals, processes and formulations.

For instance, high levels of natural ingredients in product compositions are affecting product stability and performance. Thus, the issue of preservation is a key challenge for these products.

However, according to Organic Monitor, there is increasingly less of an issue about functional materials, such as emulsifiers, surfactants, silicone replacements, as many ingredient companies have filled the gaps, but there becomes a concern about how these new ingredients react and constitute the new formulation.

Such technical issues are leading formulators and product developers to sacrifice efficacy and sensory aspects in favour of ingredient and stability requirements. As the natural and organic cosmetics market evolves, a growing challenge for formulators and product developers is to ensure certified products match rising consumer expectations,” says the market research company. “High prices of many natural and organic cosmetic products are leading many consumers to demand products that match conventional products with high sensory value,” they add.

Organic Monitor will be conducting a dedicated seminar on ‘Meeting the formulation challenges of developing natural cosmetics’ at the upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit that will take place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York, on March 24-26th. Judi Beerling will highlight the major technical and formulation challenges and offer practical solutions in an interactive seminar. Also co-chairing the seminar is Dr. Liliana George, Executive Director of Estee Lauder Companies. The summit also has a dedicated seminar on ethical sourcing of natural & organic cosmetic ingredients.