The Halal label is gaining popularity in the Asian cosmetics industry. Targeted at the growing Muslim population, adoption rates are rising. However, there are questions whether it is meeting the growing ethical needs of consumers.
The Halal label has been gaining popularity in the cosmetics industry since the Malaysian government introduced the Halal cosmetics standard (MS 2200: 2008) in June 2010. The Halal label is given to cosmetic and personal care products that meet the strict rules of Sharia law. Like natural / organic standards, the Halal standard has a permitted and prohibited set of ingredients.
The Halal label appeals to Muslim consumers seeking integrity and authenticity in their cosmetic and personal care products. Concerns about animal-derived ingredients – such as gelatine and collagen - in cosmetic products are fuelling demand. Some consumers perceive such products as ethical as they typically avoid such ingredients.
As will be shown at the Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, global sales of Halal-certified cosmetics and personal care products are estimated at above USD 5 billion. A growing number of cosmetic and ingredient firms are taking up Halal certification in Asia. The highest adoption rates are in Muslim countries where multinationals that include Colgate-Palmolive and Avon have launched certified products. International chemical firms like BASF and CP Kelco are also getting ingredients certified for these markets.
At present, 57 certification agencies are authorised to certify products according to the Halal cosmetics standard. Although the highest adoption rates are in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, certification is also catching on in Europe and North America. In the latter regions, a growing number of Muslim consumers are interested in Halal-certified products. However, these products often fall short in terms of their ecological credentials as the formulations are similar to conventional cosmetics.
Realising this, some companies have started to formulate natural / organic cosmetics with Halal certification. Saaf Pure Skincare was launched in the UK to appeal to Muslim consumers seeking organic skincare products that adhere to Sharia principles. The products are certified organic by the Soil Association and certified Halal by European Halal Services. The brand is developing an international presence, with products exported to Europe, the Middle-East and North America.
Organic Monitor sees high potential for such products in the Middle-East and Asia. In many of these countries, the market for natural & organic cosmetics is growing by over 20% a year. Rising consumer affluence, coupled with growing knowledge of cosmetic ingredients, is making consumers pay a premium for cosmetics that meet their ethical / religious beliefs. However, they have to decide between Halal-certified conventional cosmetics and natural & organic products not meeting Sharia rules. With a lack of local brands of natural & organic cosmetics in these regions, there is a clear gap in the marketplace. A major challenge is formulating cosmetic products that meet two or more standards, as many European brands have discovered.
The potential of halal cosmetics, and formulation challenges of developing natural & organic personal care products, will be featured in the Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. Taking place in Hong Kong on 12-13th November, the summit will discuss the growing role of labels (Halal, natural, organic, cruelty-free, etc.) in the Asian cosmetics industry