The Potential of Organic Cosmetics in Brazil

The global market for natural & organic cosmetics continues to expand, with international sales poised to break the US $10 billion barrier this year. The market share of Brazil, as well as the wider Latin American region, remains small.

Although Brazil has the third largest market for cosmetics in the world, the market for natural & organic cosmetics is tiny. As will be shown at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, less then 0.5% of cosmetic sales are from pure natural and organic products. Why does this growing economic superpower have such a small market share?

Organic Monitor research finds several reasons behind the low market share. Brazilian consumers are not well-educated about natural and organic cosmetics. Indeed, few are aware of the possible risks associated with synthetic chemicals, such as parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, etc. (the major driver of growth in Europe and North America).

Distribution and product availability are also factors behind low demand for natural and organic cosmetics. The products that are available are usually in pharmacies and organic food shops. In comparison, natural and organic cosmetics are now widely available in supermarkets, department stores, beauty retailers, pharmacies & chemists in most parts of Europe. Cosmetic brands also cite formulation and raw material issues for reasons for them not developing natural & organic cosmetics.

The single most important factor behind the insignificant market size is arguably government regulations. The Brazilian government introduced regulations for organic agricultural products in 2003. The regulations have given integrity to the organic products industry by providing national standards. Since then, the organic foods market has grown in stature with domestic sales and exports accelerating. Organic food exports from Brazil reached US $130 million in 2013. However, there remains no market for organic cosmetics.

This is because the Brazilian government has introduced regulations to control production and marketing of organic cosmetic products. Organic cosmetics can therefore only be labelled and marketed as such if they meet Brazilian national regulations. Yet, it has not yet drafted an organic cosmetics standard. Organic cosmetic products can therefore only be marketed as such if they meet the Brazilian national standard, which has not yet been developed.

Thus, international organic brands like Weleda cannot market their products as organic in the Brazilian market – even if they are meeting universally accepted standards. Some Brazilian companies are taking the unusual step of marketing their cosmetics as organic in export markets, but not in their home market.

With Brazil’s beauty industry gathering so much attention, one can only ask ‘what about organic cosmetics?’ When the national standard is eventually introduced, the market is expected to take off. Until then, organic brands will shy away from organic claims and continue to play the ‘natural’ card.

The formulation and marketing issues associated with natural & organic cosmetics will be featured in the Latin American edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. The summit will be hosted alongside in-cosmetics Brasil on 10-12 September. Source: Sustainable Cosmetics Summit

At in-cosmetics Brasil you can buy the latest formulations and ingredients being launched for personal care manufacturers and distributors, as well as learn more about trends and challenges facing the industry. Click here to find out more about the event and REGISTER ONLINE NOW to attend the exhibition free of charge.

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