Report, PCPC sniff out truth on fragrances’ safety
WASHINGTON —A new report by activist group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics alleging that a number of popular brand-name perfumes and teen body sprays have “secret” chemicals that could be harmful to consumers is “erroneous” and “does a disservice to consumers,” stated John Bailey, chief scientist of the Personal Care Products Council, in response to the claim.
The report, titled “Not So Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance,” was released on May 12 by the U.S.-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group.
An analysis of 17 fragranced products conducted at an independent laboratory allegedly found that, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, they contained “a dozen or more secret chemicals not listed on labels, multiple chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions or disrupt hormones, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety by the cosmetics industry’s self-policing review panels.”
“Something doesn’t smell right—clearly the system is broken,” stated Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund. “We urgently need updated laws that require full disclosure of cosmetics ingredients so consumers can make informed choices about what they are being exposed to.”
Responding to the report, Bailey stated: “The validity of the report is seriously undermined by its failure to include quantitative measurements of the ‘secret’ ingredients it purported to find. Such measurements are a fundamental element of toxicological risk assessments. Without them, it is impossible to make valid judgments about potential risks.”
“The report also erroneously alleges that many of the materials ‘revealed’ in their testing have not been assessed for safety. In fact, most of the ingredients have been the subjects of a safety assessment by one or more authoritative bodies,” he continued.
“Usage standards for fragrance are set based on the recommendations of a scientific panel of toxicologists, dermatologists, pathologists and environmental scientists that is overseen by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, the research arm of the International Fragrance Association. The RIFM database contains a significant volume of information on fragrance materials,” he said.
With regard to the allegations of sensitization from fragrance ingredients, Bailey said that it has long been known that some people are sensitive to some natural or manmade materials in the environment. He also explained that because fragrance components are made up of so many substances, it is literally impossible to list them all on a product label. Given this, virtually all countries, including the European Union, allow fragrance ingredients to be declared on a label under the general term of “fragrance.”
With regard to the allegations in the report that some fragrance ingredients could be hormone disruptors, Bailey stated that this is “based on incomplete assessments of available scientific data about potential hormone effects and do not take into account actual exposure in cosmetic products. The studies relied upon in the allegations are not directly relevant to human exposure, and many of laboratory tests that have been done were completed under conditions that are not directly applicable to the use of these ingredients in cosmetic products. In some substances, the hormone effects measured are tens of thousands of times less than what would be expected to cause effects in humans. The weight of evidence in hormone disruption science today does not support the conclusions presented in this report.”
Bailey also stressed that cosmetic and personal care manufacturers take their safety requirements very seriously and that consumers can be confident in the safety of the products as cosmetic ingredients are carefully selected for safety and suitability for their specific applications.
Founded in 1894, the council has more than 600 member companies that manufacture, distribute and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the United States.
Mack Elevation Forum examines how NOT to become SKU-rationalized
SAN DIEGO It’s a new game. And the winners are the ones that follow the new rules of the game. That was how Swanson Group VP Dan Mack teed up the discussion here, Friday morning, at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel, for the latest edition of The Mack Elevation Forum.
The share group — which merged with the Swanson Group last November — organized and coordinated by Mack, brings together executives from noncompeting, generally smaller to mid-sized companies to examine critical business issues with the ultimate goal of enabling participants to align their sales and marketing strategies with the broader vision of the retailers they do business with. In all, executives from more than 20 different supplier companies were in attendance.
Among other things, the new rules, Mack explained, dictate that the pie of which suppliers fight to secure a share is smaller than it once was as retailers focus on growing their store brands; the new “value” consumer continues to grow in number — and value isn’t always defined by price; social media continues to level the playing field from a brand marketing standpoint, even as SKU rationalization does its best to shrink the playing field; and customer loyalty has reached an all-time low.
Special retailer guest, Bill Bergin, VP health and beauty for Rite Aid, provided attendees with an insider’s view of how suppliers can better engage Rite Aid, and shared details of key programs — such as the chain’s newly introduced Wellness+ customer loyalty card program, which the company began rolling out in May — that are priorities for Rite Aid.
Picking up on the theme of Drug Store News’ June 6 issue cover story, “7 Deadly Sins of SKU Rationalization,” Mack Elevation Forum attendees focused a good deal of the discussion around the topic of SKU rationalization — and, more importantly, how smaller vendors can keep out of the crosshairs.
To some extent, SKU rationalization has been a bit a of self-fulfilling prophesy, explained Vic Mazzacone, CEO of Drive Medical Design and Manufacturing, retail division. “The supplier community set the table for the radical SKU rationalization that is currently occurring,” he said, citing a lack of “real innovation. And overzealous marketers created a stream of new products that did not grow the segment and only traded sales. Too many brands are truly not differentiated, which makes them vulnerable.”
Dan Quail, VP sales for Similasan, noted that in one of his key business segments, the ear category, there historically have been six to seven other manufacturers competing within the section. “With some retailers, there are now only three manufacturers competing in the section,” Quail said. “It was a perfect case of companies not being differentiated and diluting the overall performance of the section.”
The bigger question, of course, is not so much what caused SKU rationalization, but what suppliers can do to keep from having their items eliminated. “Suppliers must understand emerging consumer trends and stay on the forefront of meeting evolving consumer needs,” said Mike Barna, VP sales for First Boston Pharma. “By staying out in front of the curve, you have the opportunity to create new products in growth segments where retailers are more willing to invest … and [you] are also more insulated against rationalization.”
Audie Rudiger, VP sales for Wahl, noted that the 80-year-old clipper company utilizes data from Zoomerang to identify consumer preferences, and uses that information to help support why its products must be a part of the planogram. Rudiger also recommended the online consumer survey service Questback.com for deeper qualitative and quantitative consumer feedback, and QuestionPro for more complex consumer research.
Another strategy for maintaining an item’s place on the shelf is to demonstrate that item’s contribution to the overall market basket, or the value of the trip the item generates, or that the value of that shopper is higher than the category norm, noted Tina Jackse, senior director of national accounts for Beiersdorf. “Try to establish if your brand — if not on the shelf — encouraged the consumer to leave the store.”
In the end, it is important for suppliers to leverage all of their assets to bring constant value back to the retailer. “Winning companies are bringing products to their retailer partners, but they also provide context on national best practices and are students of the important societal shifts,” Mack explained. “They understand that the game is about bringing ideas that help retailers build customer loyalty, drive trips and encourage in-store conversion. Companies offering these type of assets build strong brands and are more immune to being delisted.”
New Burt’s Bees products to hit Target shelves
NEW YORK Burt’s Bees is launching several new products at Target stores in July.
There’s the new Burt’s Bees cranberry and pomegranate sugar scrub, which will retail for $12.99. This 100% natural body scrub exfoliates to reveal silky, soft skin. Natural sugar crystals polish away dead skin cells, while a blend of cranberry seed and pomegranate oil, infused with vitamins and essential fatty acids, nourishes skin. Shea butter, olive oil and soybean oil provide a triple moisturizer effect.
New to the lip care category is Burt’s Bees nourishing lip balm with mango butter ($3).The 100% natural lip balm is specially formulated with mango butter to soothe, moisturize and protect to reveal smooth, healthy lips. To also nourish lips is the new Burt’s Bees rejuvenating lip balm with acai berry ($3). This 100% natural lip balm is made with the superfruit acai berry to provide free radical-fighting antioxidants and vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as omega oils.