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Cosmetics Summit Tackles Green Materials and Digital Marketing


H-E-B Organic Private Label Debut


GMO Labelling Battle Looms in Massachusetts




Cosmetics Summit Tackles Green Materials and Digital Marketing

The North American edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit will feature advances in green materials and the potential of digital marketing. Taking place in New York City on 15-17th May, the 3-day summit will bring together CEOs, founders and senior executives from across the beauty industry to discuss sustainability issues.

A wide range of agricultural-based ingredients are making their way into personal care applications, however the move is raising many technical and sustainability concerns. A dedicated session on Green Materials will discuss the opportunities provided by, and challenges associated with, such ingredients. Industry leaders will assess the environmental footprint of agricultural-based materials, asking whether green always means better for consumers and the environment.

Mike Martinez, CEO of Natural Plant Products, will highlight the difficulties in measuring the environmental footprint of agricultural materials. The American ingredients firm is using an online field calculator to get sustainability metrics on agricultural crops. Fred Zuelli, Managing Director of Mibelle Biochemistry, will show how plant cell technology can be used for sustainable processing of active ingredients. Another paper explores the potential of biomimetics: how can cosmetic companies innovate with biomimetic (naturally inspired) molecules?

The shift to green cosmetic ingredients is also bringing supply chain risks. Kenneth Ross, CEO of Global ID, will highlight the growing incidence of fraud involving mislabeling and adulteration of materials. Guidance will be given to cosmetic and ingredient firms on how to mitigate supply chain risks, as well as details on scientific methods to authenticate green materials. Another speaker will discuss the prospects for a new sustainability standard for plant-based ingredients.

The Digital Marketing session looks at the impact of mobile devices and digital marketing on consumer behavior towards personal care products. How can green brands utilize mobile apps and social media platforms to strengthen customer relationships? What are some of the best-practices in e-commerce and m-commerce?

Lily Tse, CEO and founder of Think Dirty, will demonstrate the pervasive influence mobile apps can have on consumers. The Think Dirty mobile application rates over 55,000 beauty products according to the health and safety risks of their ingredients. Consumers are using the mobile app to assess the safety of cosmetic products. Charlene Swanson Crawford, president of Eco Diva Beauty, will highlight the business opportunities provided by e-tailing (online retailing), whilst Edelman will give case studies of brands that have successfully deployed social media and digital marketing strategies.

Aveda and Seventh Generation, two of the largest green brands in North America, will give papers in the Sustainability Best-Practices session. Seventh Generation will give insights into its sustainability plan; the consumer goods company has set 2020 goals to reduce its carbon footprint, create zero waste, responsibly source raw materials, and support local communities. Aveda, arguably the most sustainable personal care firm in North America, will share its experiences in becoming resource efficient and using clean energy. Aveda is the largest user of recycled plastics and renewable energy in the beauty industry. In another paper, Kurt Nuebling, CEO and co-founder of Primavera, will state how green buildings can contribute to sustainability whilst adding social value.

Approaches to reduce the environmental impact of personal care products by using metrics and sustainable packaging will also be discussed at the summit. An update will be given on methodologies to obtain sustainability metrics, whilst a leading retailer will describe how it is putting metrics into use. Other papers will explore approaches to reduce the packaging impact of personal care products: with packaging comprising a third of household waste, how can cosmetic companies reduce their packaging footprints? Featured speakers will look at the possibilities provided by ‘closed loops’ whereby packaging is removed from waste streams for re-use or for new applications.

The summit will end with a technical workshop on green active ingredients. Judi Beerling, technical research manager at Organic Monitor, will highlight the opportunities provided by novel actives from plant, marine, and new technological processes. Practical guidance will be given to formulators and product developers looking to use green actives in personal care formulations.

About the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit
Organized by Organic Monitor, the aim of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit is to encourage sustainability in the beauty industry by bringing together key stake-holders and debate major sustainability issues in a high-level forum. The 5th North American edition will be hosted at Westin New York at Times Square. More information is available from the website

Source: News Release




H-E-B Organic Private Label Debut

For many years, H-E-B supermarkets in Texas have been marketing organic products, including a house brand from its upscale Central Markets. The parent company has now launched its own organic line called H-E-B Organics.

Shoppers in its 350 plus stores in Texas and Mexico will notice hundreds of new organic products under the store brand label. Walmart is the country's largest grocer, however H-E-B sells more groceries in Texas than any of its competitors.

According to the retailer, "the new line will focus on everyday pantry staples such as canned tomatoes and vegetables, cereal, crackers, fruit and specialty spreads, coffee, salad dressing and potato and tortilla chips. Additionally, the launch will include items throughout the produce and market departments such as salads, carrots, cheese and various beef products customers can use every day." The line also will include string cheese, fruit cups, juice boxes, apple sauce, pretzels and a variety of lunch meats.

Some H-E-B stores have carried more organic products than others, but this signals a more aggressive push to capture even more of the dollars customers are spending on organic food, which are also free of GMOs.

"Demand for organic products has risen steadily over the past few years, yet many organics remain out of reach for customers on a budget," Martin Otto, H-E-B chief merchant, said. "That's why we are so excited to introduce our customers to H-E-B Organics, giving Texas families an affordable way to go organic."

OM Comment
H-E-B is applauded for launching its private label for organic foods. Although critics would state it is late to the 'organic party', the private label shows retailer commitment. Private label organic products are popular with consumers as they are usually competitively priced. The evolution of private labels for sustainable foods are regularly featured in the
Sustainable Foods Summit. The next edition takes place in Amsterdam on 5-6th June. More details are on the website

Related Article: Eco-Labels Benefiting as GM Labelling Fight Set to Continue

Source: News Release / Organic Monitor



GMO Labeling Battle Looms in Massachusetts

Large food manufacturers and industry representatives are fighting a renewed push to force them to disclose genetically modified ingredients in food products as Massachusetts lawmakers weigh legislation that would require so-called GMO labels.

Maine and Connecticut have enacted labeling laws for engineered foods, but laws in those states won't go into effect until other states in the region do the same. Vermont lawmakers are poised to pass similar GMO labeling legislation.

As laws pass in other New England states, Massachusetts lawmakers are being pushed from both sides as proponents of labeling genetically engineered food make a pitch to require labels and the food industry argues it is an unnecessary move that only the federal government can dictate.

Rep. Ellen Story, who has filed legislation to require labels several times during the past few years, said Tuesday that "there is more interest this time than there ever has been."

Story filed two bills this legislative session - one that would require GMO labels on all foods with genetically engineered ingredients (H 2093) and another that would require labeling of seeds (H 813). Rep. Todd Smola, a Republican from Palmer, is also pushing for GMO labels (H 808). Story's bill is being considered by the Public Health Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, D-Jamaica Plain, and Smola's bill is before the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee.

Genetically engineered seeds were first introduced in the early 1990s for numerous reasons, including the ability to resist insects or herbicides. While there is little science around the safety of engineered seeds, the Food and Drug Administration has not found them to be unsafe so far, both sides of the issue agree.

Scientists fall in both camps, with some dismissing concerns over GMOs and other saying they are too new to know biological effects, according to proponents and opponents of labeling.

"My bill does not take a stand on whether they are good or bad. It just says we should know, so if we are concerned about giving genetically modified organisms to our children and grandchildren we should have the right to know," Story said.

Pat Fiero, a former state representative from Gloucester, is among those fighting for labels on genetically engineered foods. Fiero, who in 2005 moved to Leverett in the western part of the state, said she has increasingly become concerned about what goes into the food Americans consume. Fiero said scientists cannot say with certainty that genetically engineered foods do not cause health problems.

"The more I read about GMOs, the more concerned I became," Fiero said after lobbying lawmakers at the State House.

Fiero is part of a coalition of organizations, including MassPIRG, Right to Know GMO Massachusetts and the Northeast Organic Farming Association. As part of their lobbying Tuesday, the group passed out a mock box of candy to illustrate the proposed GMO label, which they say would not be a warning, but notification that genetically engineered ingredients were used in the product.

"All we want is one line of text, information so consumers have a right to know what they are feeding their families," said Martin Dagoberto, a spokesman for MA Right to Know GMOs.

Story, an Amherst Democrat, said she was recently lobbied on the bill by a man from Michigan who worked for a baby formula manufacturer. The interest from out of state, she said, underscored the fight being waged by manufacturers to stop states from passing laws.

Story told the food industry rep that mothers should know if they are feeding their infants food with genetically modified organisms. He agreed with her, she said, but argued the federal government needs to make the decision, not the states.

"Ideally, it would be done on a federal level. Has anybody seen the FDA spring into action on anything lately? They are paralyzed," Story said. So the states are taking the lead, she said.

Food companies trying to head off state efforts to enact mandatory labels have recently proposed new voluntary labels nationwide. The National Restaurant Association and the Grocery Manufacturers Association are fighting labeling efforts at the state level, but have shown support for voluntary labels.

The Massachusetts Retailers Association is part of a coalition that opposes labeling GMO foods, arguing it is unnecessary because consumers can choose to buy certified organic foods if they have concerns. William Rennie, vice president at the Retailers Association, said some proponents describe labels as a right to know issue. "You've already got organic products in the marketplace now. So consumers who prefer to purchase food products that don't contain GMOs, they can choose to purchase foods that are certified organic," he said.

Food manufacturers would have a tough time creating special GMO identifying labels for products sold in Massachusetts, Rennie said, adding the FDA and the USDA are in charge of food labeling. "That is where the conversation should be had," he said.

Related Article: Eco-Labels Benefiting as GM Labelling Fight Set to Continue

Source: MetroWest Daily News













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