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Speaker Interview With Kim Lahiri, NPD & Product Manager, Absolute Aromas Ltd

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1. With increasing importance placed on consumer trends, how can you best action practical insights when developing new products and formulations to secure success?

Current trends are always visible in fashion trends and design usually a year ahead, so you can grasp concepts and ideas from other industries. Another wave/trend that keeps on growing is helping the planet; be that in veganism, sustainability or recyclable packaging. We see trends and changes in formulating with raw materials, much less of the synthetic and more of the natural and organic.

2. With an increasing number of brands using natural ingredients in their products, what does the future look like for the skincare and cosmetics industry further down the line?

Having been in the industry for 43 years, I do believe that there is room for both natural and the more cosmeceutical ranges out there. After all natural does not automatically mean safe and good for you! Not everyone buys into natural, I think the key to any new brand is that it is efficacy led and does what it promises to do. The consumer has become much more discerning and in control. They want to know about the ingredients, they want traceability, THEY want control to choose what they eat, wear, live in and put on their skin.

3. With so much confusion and uncertainty around changes in claims and regulation, how can you insure your new products stick to the rules?

To some extent this has always been an issue, as there have been years of evolving rules to follow. It has certainly become far more difficult to use the language of marketing freely as you risk the wrath of making claims or falsifying statements, but as long as the team developing products make it their business to keep up with current regulations and legislation you cannot do more. Make sure you work with the right team!

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4. As sustainability is such a top priority for beauty and skincare companies right now, what are your top three tips for those who want to cut down on plastics and packaging to become more eco-friendly?

There are many packaging companies with the foresight to come up with alternatives ready for the market place. It is also for the packaging companies and design teams to think outside the box for affordable perhaps existing containers and componentry. It is no good using new technology and coming up with new eco-friendly packaging if it is not affordable for all brands. It is interesting to see how going back to more basic packaging such as glass, one-use containers that are biodegradable and refillable packaging has become increasingly popular.

5. With times changing so quickly, how do you stay up to date with the latest tools and tech for new formulation testing?

Keep in touch with all elements of the NPD process, with the formulators, with manufacturers, attending conferences and exhibitions to keep on trend and in the know!

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