Nervous About ‘Natural’? Honest Company Heads For Organic Pastures
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
Honest says its shift to organic products is more about opportunity than avoiding “natural” claims, but the term is better defined and more actively regulated, which tends to insulate brands against the types of false-advertising lawsuits that have inundated natural product marketers.
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New Honest CEO Nick Vlahos oversaw international expansion of Burt’s Bees and was global manager of Green Works during his tenure at Clorox. He’ll helm an Honest Company that was beset by legal and PR challenges in 2016 but nevertheless saw its sales top $300m as it pivots from direct-to-consumer to an omni-channel strategy.
The Honest Company recalls all lots of its Organic Baby Powder following routine testing that indicated potential contamination with unsavory microorganisms. FDA scrutiny could follow.
Undeclared ingredient use by Ava Anderson Non Toxic and the presence of sodium lauryl sulfate in Honest Company products, contrary to its “free of” claims, led to the former’s collapse and class action litigation against the latter in 2016. Meanwhile, “natural” marketing continues to be a risky business, with FTC stepping up enforcement action last year and efforts underway to promote clearer legal standards.