The discussion about rising prices and inflation is changing our behaviour as consumers. It’s only natural, but this price-watching also has a down side. It’s understandable that many buyers today are automatically seeking out the best bargains and patronising discount shops while ignoring other criteria. I recently bought a litre of milk at my natural foods store – which does have a reputation for being expensive – and noticed that a litre of the best organic milk was 9 cents cheaper than the organic milk at the discount shop.
The situation with cosmetics is similar, the general rule being: If it’s good, it’s also expensive! This idea is deeply embedded in many people’s DNA, and the preconception that natural cosmetics are expensive is difficult to change. Meanwhile, however, natural and organic cosmetics are achieving an excellent price/performance ratio in all price categories. Over the past few years, natural and organic cosmetics have been gaining many new buyers, but now consumers are becoming noticeably more reticent. This is a clear indication of how difficult it is to alter long-standing behaviour patterns and of how long it takes to establish permanent criteria so that they come to the fore when making a split-second buying decision.
Unfortunately, people are increasingly tending to lose sight of what natural and organic cosmetics can actually do. Natural and organic cosmetics already achieve sustainable savings in the first phase of value creation. Producing plant-based raw materials by means of organic agriculture already sets new standards in environmental protection, whereas conventional cosmetics, whose production is mainly mineral oil-based, cause more harm to the environment.
What I believe we’re missing is suitable communication on the part of manufacturers, and retail concepts that overcome this preconception without adopting a moralizing tone. Now more than ever, it’s a matter of clearly explaining this added value by addressing the specific target group. Natural and organic cosmetics can then make an important contribution to sustainable consumption even in times of crisis – just because it’s good, doesn’t mean it has to be expensive!
Elfriede Dambacher, owner of naturkosmetik konzepte, is an international expert and author. www.naturkosmetik-konzepte.de