The popularity of natural and organic products is rising, and manufacturers should look to maximise this concept in their products.
The 2018 Organic Market Report, launched earlier this year by the Soil Association, shows that sales of organic products in 2017 grew by 6% to £.2.2bn.
Following this, sales of organic and natural personal care products grew by an impressive 24%, totalling £75.9m.
The term ‘natural products’ is, itself vague, and what can be considered a natural product is subjective.
There is no question that the awareness of natural products in the health and well-being market has increased as consumers are more attentive than ever to the personal care products they use.
The Manufacturer spoke to James Clews of Leeds-based manufacturer Stephenson Group, whose latest partnership with beauty brand, Lucy Bee, – founded by Lucy Buckingham – will see the pair create coconut oil-based natural soaps on a global level.
Clews explained: “Consumers have never really been more aware of what goes into the things that they use. In an age of health and well-being, they are associating natural products with being better for them.”
He continued: “There is a link with being natural and that being good for you. We are really seeing lots of movements toward natural ingredients and products. It is still quite a wide topic because there isn’t really a certified natural status, so it is open to interpretation.”
Clews explained the process of making natural products is complex and that lots of stability work needs to be undertaken, as particularly personal care products need to be completely stable.
He explained this within the partnership between Stephenson Group and Lucy Bee, Clews said: “We had to do at least 13 weeks of stability testing after each batch was manufactured, to make sure the products were stable.
“Then when the fragrance is added to the products [via company Soapworks], a further 13 weeks testing is needed.”
He explained that there are big markets in the UK, northern Europe and North America for natural products as consumers in these regions are “very aware” of the natural and organic markets.
Producing coconut oil-based soap
The coconut-based soaps will be introduced in October in the UK, with plans to extend this to international markets.
In order to create the soaps, coconut oil firstly needs to be extracted from the kernel, the main white meat of the coconut, this is done after the shell is removed.
The kernel then needs to be dried and cold pressed to extract the oil, the process for Lucy Bee products is undertaken in either the Philippines or Sri-Lanka.
The manufacturing process to create coconut oil-based soap
- Coconut oil is extracted from coconuts in the Philippines of Sri Lanka
- Coconut oil is combined with alkaline sodium hydroxide in a reactor
- Reaction releases high temperatures
- Temperature is monitored as well as volume expansion of product
- Reaction cools and leaves water and soap
- Water is dried off leaving soap
- Fragrance is added to the soap and it is packaged
Clews concluded: “I think that the launch of this product is part of a movement and I think it will only continue to grow as consumers continue to be more aware.”