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Consumers are willing to pay a premium for natural products, and larger companies want a share of this trend, according to a recent USA Today report Colgate became the second multinational corporation to buy a small company in a week when it acquired 84% of Tom's of Maine, the all-natural personal care brand based in Kennebunk, Maine, which touts social responsibility, for US$100 million.
Prior to Colgate’s deal, L'Oréal bought London-based retailer The Body Shop, a personal care chain known for its avoidance of animal testing and support for human and animal rights causes.
One trend analyst commented that being a consumer can feel selfish, but buying ethics-supported brands can make consumers feel selfless. However, the buyer's marketing challenge is to maintain the smaller brand's roots and cachet.