Natural cosmetics in Russia: the Moscow organic trade fair EcoCityExpo
Natural cosmetics are on the rise in Russia. Currently, the EcoCityExpo in Moscow is establishing itself as an organic trade fair. It was held in Moscow for the first time in 2013. Since then, the eco fair has established itself as a central place for information, exchange and the initiation of business contacts in the organic sector from Russia and neighbouring countries. In an interview with Authentic Eco, the exhibition manager of EcoCity Expo Gulnara Timerbulatova tells us how she sees the development of the natural cosmetics industry in the Russian Federation.
Interview with Gulnara Timerbulatova about the current developments in natural cosmetics in Russia
The Eco-City Expo took place for the first time in 2013. How do you assess the development of the natural cosmetics industry in the Russian Federation from then until today from the producers' point of view?
The natural cosmetics industry in Russia has grown significantly since then. At that time, there were only a few manufacturers in Russia. If I remember correctly, there were no more than five companies. And they were primarily cooking soap and making simple lotions, hydrolates and scrubs. Essentially, natural cosmetics in Russia at that time were represented by foreign brands. But these were very, very rare and known only to some fans.
Since then, the natural cosmetics industry has taken a giant step forward. It is developing at a rapid pace. The pioneers of natural cosmetics in Russia, who started with soap and lotions, have now been able to have lines from their production certified. Their assortment has been expanded by tens of lines and hundreds of products. New manufacturers are constantly appearing.
According to my estimates, there are currently several hundred natural cosmetics manufacturers in Russia. The competition is enormous. And that is remarkable. It is no longer enough for individual manufacturers to come up with a few products with five ingredients each. You have to constantly surprise your competitors and customers with novelties, creative formulas and interesting product lines - the cosmetics range is expanding very strongly.
Today, the basic products include creams and serums for different skin types and problems, as well as a large number of hair care products, including styling, and decorative cosmetics. To capture the variety of care masks is not even possible. Even liquid alginates have been developed, which are ready for use already in the jar. Unfortunately, so far only three companies in Russia can boast international natural cosmetics certifications, but this is precisely what I consider an important step in the industry. I think the next step will be mass certification of manufacturers. That is not far away at all.
In addition to Russian natural cosmetics, many international natural cosmetics brands are also represented on the Russian market. Their share has grown strongly compared to 2013, although foreign brands suffered a setback during this period. During the economic crisis in 2014, many foreign natural cosmetics brands withdrew from our market. The reason for this was the high prices resulting from the decline of the ruble and the corresponding fall in purchasing power.
Now we can again see a rapid increase of imports on our market. More and more foreign companies, which have not been present on the market before, are taking part in our fair. This testifies to the interest of foreign manufacturers in Russia.
Has the market share of natural cosmetics changed since then?
It has undoubtedly changed. At the beginning of the second decade, natural cosmetics were sold directly to end consumers either by manufacturers or importers. There were only a few online shops with different brands, especially in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Today, you can find numerous shops with organic products in many cities in Russia. Natural cosmetics are now represented in retail chains and on all Internet sales platforms. There are some very large online stores that sell only natural cosmetics products throughout the country and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
In stationary trade, unfortunately, you can not yet often find natural cosmetics, but on the Internet they are sold very, very much. Today, NK (as they say here in Russia) is a formidable competitor to conventional cosmetics. You can replace virtually any skin care with natural cosmetics, the use of which has no negative effects.
Are there differences in the perception of natural cosmetics and certified natural cosmetics?
There are, but not with all buyers. So far, unfortunately, only a small number of buyers know about the certifications. For the majority it is sufficient if the naturalness of the cosmetics is indicated on the labels. Another part of the buyers carefully studies the list of ingredients and decides on this basis about the purchase. But the knowledge that only the presence of a certification can certify the naturalness of the cosmetics to 100% is constantly growing. Among other things, we will also give presentations at our trade fair to inform consumers about this.
Which quality seals for natural cosmetics do you think are the best known in Russia?
In my opinion, the best known labels in Russia are EcoCert and ICEA. It is strange for me, but I have the impression that not even all manufacturers know about the Cosmos label, much less consumers. But I think this is because this label is relatively new on the market.
Do you think that the new Russian eco-label "Leaf of Life" will influence the development of natural cosmetics certification in Russia?
This sign has long been known to many supporters of the ecological idea in Russia. But it specifically stands for sustainability, not naturalness. Indeed, the "leaf of life" confirms the sustainability of a product, its life cycle. I don't think it will help to pay more attention to natural cosmetics, at least not in the foreseeable future. In all likelihood, foreign certifiers will influence developments. I expect a boom in certifications in the next few years, as I said above.
What do you wish for the future?
My wishes are probably too optimistic? But I would like every manufacturer, Russian or foreign, to be certified. Our consumers should not have to torture themselves reading through the IINCI lists on the labels. All greenwashing should disappear from our stores. I would also like to see manufacturers strive not only to increase the naturalness of their ingredients, but also the quality, texture and shelf life of cosmetics. Technologically, they should break away from traditional formulas and create more and more new products. And for consumers, I would like to see wide availability of natural cosmetic products so that they don't have to travel to the other side of town to buy their favorite cream. They should just be able to buy them at any store near their home!
Gulnara Timerbulatova is the director of EcoCityExpo in Moscow. Thank you very much for this interview with Authentic Eco! EcoCityExpo in Moscow. Thank you for this interview with Authentic Eco!
The Moscow organic trade fair EcoCityExpo in figures
At EcoCity Expo, exhibitors from the organic sector will present themselves to both business customers and end consumers. The first day of the fair is mainly dedicated to B2B exchange. Visitors are representatives of the organic sector, resellers, wholesalers, representatives of the media and agencies.
Last year 104 companies presented more than 3,000 types of products. The fair attracted 5,067 visitors from 51 regions of Russia and 7 other countries. 43.7% of the visitors belonged to the CEO. Compared to the previous EcoCity Expo, the number of visitors increased by 11%.
This year, half of the exhibitors come from the natural cosmetics industry:
At Authentic Eco, we are very excited to be exhibiting at EcoCity Expo in November 2021. More information here.
Visit us at booth A8! We look forward to meeting you!
The EcoCityExpo takes place:
Danilovsky event hall in Moscow
Dubininskaya Street, 71, B.5
Metro: Tulskaya, Paveletskaya
Photo Credits: Images from the trade show: Copyright Ecocityexpo
Photos from Moscow and nature images: Finn Hockauf, https://www.nextstep-pictures.com/ Instagram: @finn_hckf