The Green & Clean Brands Capturing The Imagination Of Consumers

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In Welltodo’s recently released 2021 Consumer Wellness Trends Report, we explore the eight key consumer trends we predict will impact the trajectory of the global wellness industry over the coming year. And the pockets of opportunity that exist within this exciting new landscape.

To give you a taste of what you can expect within this 80+ page resource, over the next four weeks we’ll be diving into some of the trends featured in the report, sharing the consumer behaviours and values driving them, and which wellness brands are pioneering new approaches in response.

This week we’re examining how plant-based and clean beauty brands are reinventing the wheel in an attempt to captivate a growing collective of consumers with high expectations and clear convictions, as well as stand out in an increasingly saturated market.

THE TREND: ‘Green and Clean’ brands, otherwise known as plant-based and clean beauty brands, have been steadily building momentum over the past decade in response to informed and critically-thinking consumers who are placing more value on what they put on and into their bodies, as well as the impact their purchasing decisions are having on the wider world.

THE STATS: In the UK alone, according to Mintel, almost one in four food launches in 2019 was labelled plant-based, while the Soil Association’s Organic Beauty & Wellbeing Market Report revealed 23% year-on-year growth of certified organic beauty and wellbeing for the same period. 

In the US, the data marched to the same beat, with retail sales of plant-based foods that directly replaced animal products growing 31% over a two-year period to reach nearly $4.5 billion by July of 2019, according to the Good Food Institute. Natural brands, meanwhile, represented 30% of the country’s $5.9 billion skincare sales, revealed research by NPD

With Millennials and Gen Z continuing to lead this shift towards more responsible and ‘better for you’ consumption, at the turn of 2020 the statistics painted a positive outlook –– the global plant-based food category was predicted to hit $85 billion by 2030, according to UBS and the global organic beauty market was expected to reach $54 billion by 2027, suggested research by Future Market Insights

THE CURRENT STATE OF PLAY: Despite COVID-19 upending the playing field and altering consumer spending habits exponentially, throughout the majority of 2020, not only have the plant-based food and clean beauty categories shown resilience but in many cases, they’ve prospered. 

According to Nielsen, sales of fresh plant-based meat alternatives almost doubled every month in 2020, NPD revealed that prestige clean beauty sales were up by 11% and investors continued to pour money into both categories. 

Plant-based food brands such as THIS, Allplants, Impossible Foods and Meatless Farm, as well as clean beauty brands Saie, BYBI, Kosas and Function of Beauty, raised notable amounts through private investment and crowdfunding.

And, consumer demand shows no sign of slowing down.

THE CONSUMER OF TOMORROW: Having served to accelerate existing values and behaviours associated with these adjacent yet interwoven trends, such as perceived health benefits, environmental factors and an association with purpose-led values, the pandemic has also led to a redefinition of value that goes beyond these core pillars.

Today, shoppers are increasingly demanding that plant-based food and clean beauty brands also deliver on expectations around safety, longevity and efficacy. Brands must also be able to demonstrate their worth when it comes to leading on movements attached to shared values such as collective consciousness, inclusivity and social responsibility.

To engage the modern consumer, for brands, the sweet spot exists in pushing the boundaries while creating a compelling brand narrative that effectively communicates a clear and active stance.

As forward-thinking brands race to develop new products that tap into this rising consumer sentiment and narrow the barriers to entry, this mindset is driving the pace of innovation across both sectors.

The Green & Clean Brands Capturing The Imagination Of Consumers

Image: NUGGS

THE TRAILBLAZERS:

UPCIRCLE: Ethical skincare brand UpCircle has captured the imagination of consumers by pioneering a brand that’s regenerative in design. Recognising that it needed to create value beyond its natural ingredients to stand out in an increasingly crowded market, and resonate with younger and more revolutionary-minded consumers, it took a more progressive approach.

“Natural is the new normal and normal is boring,” co-founder Anna Brightman told Welltodo. “Which is why we go a step further with waste fighting formulations.”

According to the entrepreneur, over the past five to ten years, there’s been a huge shift in the beauty and skincare categories towards more natural, vegan and ethical ingredients but they’ve become entry-level requirements now in terms of what consumers are looking for.

By starting out with a concept that builds on those expectations – bringing the circular economy to the clean skincare industry – it has helped the brand to find a point of difference that makes consumers feel proud to buy its products, as well as wanting to shout about the brand to their friends.

NUGGS: Nuggs (now under the parent company Simulate), which claims to be the world’s first plant-based chicken nugget startup, uses an advanced texturised pea protein technology to create a product it argues has a superior texture, crunch and taste. But its operations, which take a similar approach to that of a technology startup, as well as its unconventional branding, are what’s helping the brand to garner loyalty from younger consumers.

The self-proclaimed ‘Tesla of chicken’ mirrors a model favoured by app developers, in which it releases updates to its nuggets as the formula is improved upon. Its bold aesthetic and tone of voice, meanwhile, wouldn’t look out of place alongside McDonald’s or KFC.

The brand’s attempt to be non-preachy, instead, encouraging consumers to convert through contextualisation, convenience and collaboration – with a dash of cool thrown in for good measure – have helped the company sell 1 million pounds of nuggets and raise $11 million from investors including McCain Foods.

The Green & Clean Brands Capturing The Imagination Of Consumers

Image: BYBI

BYBI: Five-year-old sustainable startup BYBI, has seen its year-over-year growth jump by 200% over the past year, thanks to its more accessible and inclusive price point and messaging. Unlike more traditional clean beauty brands that suggest good skin health comes at a cost, “BYBI is priced fairly but doesn’t compromise on quality, efficacy or sustainability, making us an ideal fit for the Target assortment,” co-founders Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic recently told Welltodo.  

Like many clean beauty brands, it has experienced an influx of engagement throughout the pandemic, with its products remaining relevant for both health-conscious consumers and those having more time to invest in themselves.

It also cites its fast customer response times, friendly approach, transparency and positive impact as better serving the needs of younger generations, and in turn helping to drive sales.

“We see a clear opportunity to lead the way in lowering beauty’s carbon footprint,” the duo told Welltodo. “Whilst this is not an easy process, we really do see this as the future of beauty and the way the world needs to move.”

OATLY: By leveraging the popular aesthetic and associated values of hip local coffee shops, employing authentic and relevant messaging to not only evoke feelings of sustainability but social status, and in adopting a strong digital presence that consumers could identify with, Oat milk brand Oatly has achieved mass-market success.

Despite the brand’s sustainable values remaining at the crux of the company, in recent years it has recognised that to tap into the mindset of modern consumers it needed its identity to extend beyond consumer expectations around ‘green thinking’ to really differentiate itself for tomorrow’s market. By doing so, its sales have almost tripled from $68 million in 2017 to $200 million in 2019. 

The truth is, conscious-consumers aren’t a homogeneous group and some don’t want to sacrifice their identity in order to join the revolution. By understanding that, Oatly and the other brands highlighted, continue to grow.

To find out more about how and why consumers are buying into ‘Green & Clean’ brands and what the future opportunities are, get your full copy of Welltodo’s 2021 Consumer Wellness Trends Report, here.

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