A Blooming Trend in Grooming
More than luxurious spa treatments for well-pampered pets, natural grooming products are often practical products that serve a greater purpose.
Just as pet owners do not want their loved ones to ingest foods with artificial ingredients, they also do not want them to have chemicals on their skin and fur. With this in mind, manufacturers of natural grooming products are developing products that feature familiar ingredients that humans might find in their own shampoos, conditioners and other products.
According to Chicago-based research firm Mintel’s report, Pet Supplies - U.S. - June 2015, humanization of pets is still a dominant trend, and many of the new products launched in the past two years are pet versions of products made for people. The report specifically points to examples such as herbal shampoo, aromatherapy conditioner, probiotic supplements and cleansing wipes. The marketing copy for these items often uses terms such as “alpha hydroxyl acid” and “soothing scents,” the report authors wrote, and ingredients in these new products include essential oils, botanicals and other natural components.
For example, the newest product from New City, N.Y.-based Warren London is Exfoliating Butter Wash, which comes in two scents—Milk & Honey and Pomegranate & Fig. “With the overwhelming success of our Hydrating Butter Leave in Conditioner, which is one of the top-selling products on Amazon and used by groomers all over the world, we decided to release a similar Butter Wash, which not only has a powerful moisturizer, but will help to exfoliate the skin and coat while removing dead skin and hair,” says Eric Bittman, CEO and president.
Bittman says Warren London’s natural grooming products use high-end, cosmetic-grade ingredients to help solve certain issues for their pets. “Dry skin in dogs has been a huge problem,” he says. “We wanted to come out with a high-quality [product] but also using natural ingredients to keep their skin and coat feeling great.”
Bittman adds that consumers are increasingly looking for natural products that are made in the USA.
And consumers are clearly willing to pay more for these products. According to Mintel, while overall pet product sales remained flat over the years in unit sales, dollar sales went up overall. There is strong demand for premium and specialty products due to safety concerns after the pet-related recalls several years ago, plus there are pets with health problems or other special needs, and a general trend toward pampering pets.
Natural grooming products shoppers are typically comfortable with a medium to higher price point, says Brian Collier, marketing manager and key accounts manager for Wentzville, Mo.-based TropiClean. “Quality means more to [pet owners] than a bargain,” he says.
Also, the natural pet grooming products consumer wants ingredients that can easily be read and understood. “She is looking for products that provide a luxurious clean, with a lasting fragrance but don’t contain the harsh surfactants or chemicals,” explains Collier, noting that the natural pet product shopper is usually female, but that is changing as more men are buying quality products for their furry family members.
TropiClean recently redesigned its shampoo line and added a shampoo and conditioner. The Lime and Coconut shampoo and Lime and Cocoa Butter conditioner help nourish and moisturize the skin and coat, helping reduce shedding.
Also new is TropiClean’s Aimable Pet Shampoo, which offers a fast wash and rinse. “One of the most important things we learned is that pet parents do not like bathing their dogs,” says Collier. “As much bonding as this time together can bring, it is messy, challenging, hurts their back and takes a long time.”
Aimable Pet Shampoo is packaged in pouches to allow the human to lather the pet all around their coat for complete coverage. Each pouch comes in a 12-oz. patent-pending flexible package, and there are three fragrances.
“Our goal is to provide every pet parent with the perfect solution for bath time and between the baths,” says Collier. “Our new line up does just that, and we are excited to see continued growth in the natural grooming category.”
TropiClean’s new Between the Baths line includes Waterless Foaming Shampoos, Deodorizing Pet Sprays, Ear Cleaners, Wipes, Tangle Remover and more. Building on the success of its Neem & Citrus Flea and Tick shampoo, the company also launched a Natural Flea & Tick line. Each product and solution is infused with nature’s pest-fighting ingredients, including lemongrass and sesame oil. The natural formula does not contain pyrethrin or permethrin while still effectively killing fleas, larvae, eggs and ticks by contact.
“As we began to look at the current landscape of full-line natural flea and tick solutions in the market today, we felt that there was a void in current offerings and an opportunity for us to use our experience in natural solutions to create something special for pet parents,” says Collier. “Pet parents want something that is safe to use on their pets and safe to use around their home.”
Natural flea and tick products represent a growing category in the pet industry. According to the Greenwich, Conn.-based American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, eight percent of dog owners and nine percent of cat owners purchased all-natural, chemical-free flea and tick products in 2014. For the cat owners, this percentage almost doubled compared to 2012, when five percent bought the products.
Some pet owners want to give their dogs something more indulgent at bath time, so they buy spa treatments such as mud. For these consumers, Madra Mór Canine Spa Treatments recently added 10 oz. (296 ml) retail pouches for consumers to use at home.
“The back of the pouch explains how many washes, benefits, made in the USA and we are waiting on our non-provisional patent number, so patent pending,” says Jackie Hynes, president of Madra Mór in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Hynes says the spa treatment is a supportive skin cleanser for between visits to the groomer. Retailers and groomers can display the 10-oz. pouches the way human spas merchandise products for clients to use at home. “Our mud treatments are also ideal for specialty stores that transition or upgrade the quality of the food, helping stop the itching and scratching externally,” she says.
There is new packaging for the groomers too. The mud treatments are spreadable and have rich ingredients, so they are thick, Hynes says. Professional groomers offered feedback about the difficulty of getting the mud out of the narrow J-jug, so now Madra Mór’s gallons are in convenient, large-mouth pails to make dispensing easier. Also, with the pails, Madra Mór includes a measuring scoop/dish. “The professional or pet parent can scoop only the amount needed for the treatment and bring the dish to the tub for easy applying,” she says. “The response has been fantastic.”
To keep dogs’ faces beautiful, Angels’ Eyes, which is based in Sunrise, Fla., makes tear-stain products that can be used in both shedding and non-shedding dogs and cats. Among the company’s most popular products is the Beef Plus powder, which consists of 100-percent natural ingredients. The company is launching Beef Plus tear-stain product in a chew form.
“By popular demand our customers have asked us to manufacture our beef plus tear stain product in a chew form,” says Lynda Winkowski, president of Angels’ Eyes. “The consumer seems to prefer the ease of giving their pet a remedy in a chew form because it is simple and easy.”
The product uses a proprietary blend of natural antioxidants and help support the normal inflammatory response. They are made in the USA, and they carry the NASC seal, the quality seal from the National Animal Supplement Council. “This seal is important to the consumers to insure that they are getting an excellent product,” says Winkowski.