‘Safe’ ingredients tops list of brand responsibilities for beauty consumers

By Julia Wray | Published: 2-Feb-2022

New Mintel report, shared exclusively with Cosmetics Business, shows consumers are rewarding brands that take action on ‘me, animals and the environment’

A Mintel report into how purpose can drive beauty leadership has revealed the brand responsibilities prioritised most by consumers.

Nearly half of 35,000 respondents quizzed globally (48%) reported ‘not use ingredients that harm the customer’s health or safety’ as the most important brand purpose, followed by ‘do no harm to animals’ at 39%.

In the Americas, animal rights was a hot-ticket issue, with 47% citing this as a priority, putting it in joint top position with ‘safe’ ingredients for Americans.

However, while 49% of APAC respondents prioritised ‘safe’ ingredients, just 29% put ‘do no harm to animals’ at the top of their checklist.

Globally, the third-placed brand responsibility cited in Mintel’s Future Forward: Leadership Strategic Brief was ‘follow environmental regulations’ at 34%.

This was followed by ‘do what’s best for the earth, even if it is less profitable’ (28%); ‘create less waste’ (27%); ‘be honest about their business practices’ (29%); ‘pay all employees enough to allow a decent living standard’ (21%); ‘be inclusive’ (15%); ‘give back to local communities’ (11%); and, finally, ‘take a stance on social issues’ (9%).

“Me, animals and the environment: these are the three highest priorities that consumers chose,” said report author Jane Henderson, Chairman, Mintel Beauty and Wellness.

“Creating products that are safe and healthy for them, doing no harm to animals and respecting the environment is the mission that consumers expect beauty brands to undertake.”

“Consumers want more than just a product and they want to put their money where their values are,” added Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project,” who provided insights for Mintel’s report.

“There is a growing consciousness among consumers of their impact on the world around them and an expectation that companies will absolutely do their part to help.”

The Future Forward: Leadership Strategic Brief further investigated who consumers thought was principally responsible for addressing sustainability issues: companies, governments or consumers themselves.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 500 queried consumers largely laid responsibility at the doors of governments with ‘increasing forestation’, ‘increasing use of renewable energy’, ‘reducing the use of fossil fuels for energy’, ‘stopping pollution entering rivers and seas’, ‘reducing investments in companies/industries that rely on fossil fuels’, ‘conserving clean water supplies’ and ‘promoting equality’ all viewed as administrative issues.

Private companies, meanwhile, were slated as responsible for ‘increasing the amount of packaging that is recycled’, ‘reducing emissions from aircraft/flying’, ‘reducing emissions from vehicles’ and ‘ensuring fair conditions and fair pay for workers’.

However, Henderson warned that “in the coming years, they [brands] will be risking calls of tokenism if they do not plan to be at the forefront” of purpose.

She adds: “Those that embrace it with courage and creativity will capture more consumer hearts and more sales.”

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