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France’s natural beauty market attracts record international investment

France’s natural cosmetics market is attracting international investors from Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland, who are eager to be a part of one of the fastest-growing organic beauty markets in Europe.

Natural cosmetic sales in France have grown by 40% over the past two years, according to industry consultancy Organic Monitor, and further progression is expected for 2007. Environmental certification group Ecocert reports that nearly 3,500 natural cosmetic products were certified in France in 2006, up by nearly 80% over 2005.

Foreign investors are targeting France because of its reputation for quality and excellence in cosmetics, and because it offers a strategic gateway into the €1 billion European organic cosmetics market.

New Zealand Trade Minister Phil Goff says, “There is a growing international consumer demand for high-quality natural products. This has contributed to the marketing success of New Zealand organic cosmetics companies in France, which is quite possibly the world's most exciting cosmetic market.”

Natura, Brazil’s leading natural cosmetics company, has been doing business in France for the past two years and recently inaugurated an advanced research centre in Paris to develop new cosmetics technologies. Likewise, NP Corporation, a Japanese natural cosmetics and biotechnology company, opened its only European subsidiary in Lyons in 2006 to conduct research on natural cosmetics, primarily made of red-wine extracts, and create innovative cosmetics ingredients. Lyons was chosen for its expertise in viniculture and dermatology research.

Swiss natural cosmetics and supplements leader Weleda already has an important subsidiary in Huningue (in Alsace, eastern France) and plans to invest €15 million over three years (ending in 2009), which will generate nearly 40 new jobs in the process.

France already has its own group of respected plant-based cosmetic leaders, with Clarins, L’Occitane and now L’Oréal, after the acquisition of French organic beauty company Laboratoire Sanoflore. Two competitiveness clusters – Cosmetic Valley and PASS (Perfumes and Aromas) – drive innovative cosmetics-related projects in France. These clusters offer international investors the opportunity to work within expert networks focused on their industry.

Philip Jolly | alfa
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