Recently, fueled by confusing and contradictory messages from politicians and “experts”, a wave of distrust has blown across the world. In the food industry, the recent horsemeat scandal was followed by the detection of other fraudulent or misleading claims1 and the fashion industry has been criticized for overuse of “photoshopped” images. Our own industry has not been exempt, with the makers of many “organic” beauty products being accused of confusing and meaningless labeling, according to a new survey in which 76% of consumers admitted they felt misled.2 Information is more readily available than ever before, but how do we know it’s reliable? It is no coincidence that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2016 was “post-truth.”3 This term is defined as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
But who should we believe – governments, brands, social media, friends, family?
Seeing is believing
As a science-based company, DSM has always been more interested in evidence than opinions. We believe strongly that transparent, factual information is the best basis on which to build trust. Moreover, research by market analysts Mintel4 confirms that consumers trust companies that use ingredients backed by scientific data. Highlighting the proprietary name of an ingredient can therefore create trust, as it enables the consumer to identify the source and quality of the ingredient. Similarly, Mintel’s market research indicates that consumers are more likely to trust a product if packaging explains the ingredients, how they work, and where they come from. However, unfamiliar scientific or botanical names can be confusing. Companies and brands can earn consumer trust by communicating beauty ingredients in a “consumer-friendly” way.
Nothing to hide
At DSM we have been looking at ways to build trust by making the labeling of formulations more transparent. We’ve come up with a novel concept for labels that feature the essential ingredients together with clear, easy to read information on their role, origin and quality. Taking formulations with a maximum of 10 INCI ingredients each from our Skin, Hair and Sun Care portfolios (Transforming Power Serum, Alp’Dry Shampoo, and Transparent Sun Stick SPF 30) we gave their labels a new look. Under the motto “Nothing to hide”, each ingredient is listed alongside a short explanation of its purpose in the formulation. In this way, you and all consumers can rest assured that the product contains nothing more and nothing less than essential, effective ingredients of the highest quality.
1 https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/gallery/2016/jan/07/whats-on-your-plate-food-fraud-revealed-chorizo-baby-formula-avocado (accessed 09 Jan 2018)
2 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/24/consumers-being-misled-by-labelling-on-organic-beauty-products-report-shows(accessed 09 Jan 2018)
3 https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/word-of-the-year/word-of-the-year-2016 (accessed 08 Jan 2018)
4 Source: Lightspeed/Mintel Base: 1,000 internet users aged 16+ per country