Natural Goes Mainstream: Kline Analysis Finds Natural Personal Care Moving to Mass Channels of Distribution

- Clorox's Acquisition of Burt's Bees Supports Trend -

Oct 31, 2007, 01:00 ET from Kline

    LITTLE FALLS, N.J., Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- As the "green" products
 trend continues to advance, consumer demand for natural personal care
 products is driving a major shift from niche distribution channels to more
 mainstream mass retail outlets. This is fueling a sharp increase in sales,
 according to a newly published study by worldwide consulting and research
 firm Kline & Company.
     "For a long time, natural products have been the domain of health and
 organic food stores--niche retailers with a core group of loyal customers,"
 says Karen Doskow, project manager for Kline's Consumer Products practice.
 "Naturals are now becoming commonplace in the aisles of national chain
 grocery and discount stores like Wal-Mart and Target. This will have a
 major impact on the competitive landscape of the personal care market."
     Kline's in-depth report Natural Personal Care 2007: Competitive Brand
 Assessment and Ingredient Analysis indicates that the move to mass retail
 could help promote a revival of sorts among long-established yet
 little-known natural products companies like Jason Natural Products and
 Avalon Natural Products. However, it also makes them prime candidates for
 acquisition by the major players in the personal care market.
     "These small natural companies could pose a threat to the major
 consumer product marketers, but rather than try to compete with each other,
 it's likely we will see strategic acquisitions. Today's announced
 acquisition of Burt's Bees by Clorox is a perfect example," says Doskow. At
 first glance, it may seem like an unlikely fit, but Clorox, which is
 already solidly entrenched in the mass channels, will provide Burt's Bees
 access to this wider distribution network, and Clorox gets a foothold in
 the fastest growing, high-margin segment of personal care.
     Key acquisitions could also steer greater regulation of product
 ingredients, a move which would benefit both marketers and consumers.
 Currently, the naturals market is virtually unregulated in the United
 States, which means that authentic natural manufacturers must face off
 against mainstream imitators and "greenwashing" practices--slick marketing
 that only sounds natural.
     Kline conducted an ingredient analysis for the natural product brands
 marketed by the 26 key players profiled in the study. The results are
 presented in the form of ranking criteria that rate the true "naturalness"
 of the products and establish benchmarks for what constitutes a truly
 natural product versus one made with both natural and synthetic
     "Some brands aren't quite as natural as one may be led to believe,"
 Doskow says. "Many companies find it very difficult to walk the line
 between efficacy and being natural."
     Natural Personal Care 2007: Competitive Brand Assessment and Ingredient
 Analysis includes profiles of 26 key players in the naturals market, as
 well as a critique of their raw materials formulations. For more
 information about this market study, go to or contact Carrie Mellage at
 +1-973-435-3412 or
     About Kline
     Kline is a worldwide consulting and research firm dedicated to
 providing the kind of insight and knowledge that helps companies find a
 clear path to success. The firm has served the management consulting and
 market research needs of organizations in the chemicals, materials, energy,
 life sciences, and consumer products industries for nearly 50 years. For
 more information, visit
     For more information, contact:
     Carrie Mellage
     Director, Consumer Products Practice