The agenda was chock-full at the November meeting of the Midwest chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (MWSCC). Not only did the event award excellence with the Stanley Allured Lifetime Service Award and the chapter's 2012 Cosmetic Science Scholarships, but it also hosted the installation of new officers and a presentation on the private label industry by Sudhakar Puvvada, VP of R&D for Vijon.
Private Label Industry
The evening began with a presentation on the private label industry by Sudhakar Puvvada, who first noted that private label is up 14% since 2009, whereas branded personal care grew only 9%. He reasoned this growth with a boost from the recession, which he noted grew private label because, "People were looking for more value." However, Puvvada added it is interesting that private label has continued to grow after the recession ended.
North America has the greatest number of private label products, and growth has mainly occured over the last few years. Puvvada added that some sellers such as CVS and Costco invest more to offer unique private label products. The growth in private label products is also driven by the growth in personal care and a better consumer perception about the quality offered by private label products. When polled, 30% of consumers believed that private label products deliver better quality than branded products, 60% believed private label products are as good as branded products and 20% believed private label products are not as good as branded products.
Strong product categories for private label products are baby care, hair care, hand sanitizers, hand washes and mouthwash, with skin care (face and body), hair care (styling) and body wash being emerging categories. There are three tiers of private label products: value, which are basic in function; everyday, which compare themselves to similar branded products; and premium, which claim to be better than similar branded products. Puvvada has seen a recent growth in the private label industry for anti-acne and facial cleansing products and he noted the growing improvement in everyday private label products.
Private label brands are expanding into new technologies and fragrances, according to Puvvada. In addition, they are offering enhanced efficacy and safety claims. Like the branded personal care industry, the private label industry is seeing a continued growth of naturals and requests for sustainable and "free from" products.
Success in the private label industry requires a number of elements, including: innovation speed, superior product aesthetics, meeting efficacy goals, safety for consumers, the right cost, long-term stability and regulatory compliance. He described formulating for private label products as a "combination of art and chemistry." Puvvada maintained that the private label formulator must focus on what is important to the consumer and put major emphasis on aesthetics. The private label formulator must deliver on a tighter timeline than branded products, but according to Puvvada, "We are not better than the brand, we are faster than the brand."
The night was an important one for Eugene "Gene" Frank, PhD. As the scholarship chair for the chapter, he had the pleasure of awarding six 2012 Cosmetic Science Scholarships to: Elham Tavasoli (Iowa), Xin Yan (Purdue), Mai Thao (University of Illinois), Benjamin Lins (Purdue), Anna Zborek (Loyola) and Mi Yun (Perdue).
Each year, the MWSCC offers multiple US $1,000 scholarships to undergraduate or graduate students exhibiting excellence in either coursework or research in the fields of chemistry, biology, cosmetic or allied sciences. Special consideration will be given to students actively pursuing careers in cosmetic science.
But the night was especially important for Frank as the recipient of the 2012 Stanley Allured Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently senior vice president of sales and marketing for Raani Corp., has been in the personal care industry for more than 40 years. After earning both a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Illinois, he began his cosmetics career at Kolar Laboratories. At the same time (1972) he joined the MWSCC. He moved to the public sector of product development in 1978 with Jovan, later Beecham Cosmetics, where he worked until 1989 as director of R&D. Frank joined Raani Corp. in 1989 in a technical capacity but has adapted to serve a sales and marketing role. He is an active member of the MWSCC, where he serves as chair of the scholarship program.
The Stanley Allured Lifetime Service Award, named after founder of Allured Business Media Stanley Allured, was begun in 2010 to recognize a member of the MWSCC for a lifetime of distinguished contributions, achievements and service to the chapter. The award is bestowed by the MWSCC upon the recommendation of the Chapter Lifetime Service Award Committee.
The MWSCC installed its new officers for 2013, which included: Tom Lehman as chair (Mansfield-King); Dusanka Colovic as chair-elect (Rhodia); Gina Cosby as secretary (Rhodia); and Michael Mack as treasurer (Thor Specialties).
Joseph Dallal, chair of the SCC, was present at the event to install the new officer, offering words of advice and encouragement. Outgoing chair Elaine Harris passed the gavel to Lehman, who gifted Harris with her own gavel to keep for nostalgia.