HBA - expanding its horizons

19-Jul-2010

With an extended conference programme and a diverse range of exhibitors HBA Global Expo 2009 proved to be a very comprehensive event, reports Julia Wray

With an extended conference programme and a diverse range of exhibitors HBA Global Expo 2009 proved to be a very comprehensive event, reports Julia Wray

?The old cliché goes: if you wait ten minutes for a bus, two will turn up at once. This September, much the same could have been said for exhibitions, with New York’s HBA (15-17 September, Jacob K Javits Convention Center) and Beyond Beauty Paris (13-16 September, Porte de Versailles) overlapping, a situation that United Business Media’s Jill Birkett, the organiser of HBA, admitted was far from ideal. “We did have some French and Italian exhibitors who had to make a choice and decided to stay on the continent,” she told SPC. “But next year Beyond Beauty will be two to three weeks earlier, so we’re happy not to be on the same dates.”

However, attendance did not appear to suffer as 2009’s HBA drew 16,266 participants – a very slight increase on last year’s total of 16,207.

Birkett partly attributed the show’s solid visitor numbers to a growth in confidence throughout the industry. “People want to see what’s new. They have projects that they’ve had on the shelf, or which they’ve been looking at but haven’t been ready to make the sourcing commitments,” she said. “Some of the changes we’ve implemented this year have also brought people here.”

Changes to HBA’s usual format included new conference programmes; in addition to the 17th Annual Global Conference, which encompassed marketing and technology as in previous years, 2009’s HBA included a green conference, private label & Copack conference, trends conference, technical workshops and the X-Ceuticals Synergy: formulation to novel product development. Also new were networking roundtables, set up in a designated area to enable the exchange of knowledge in a more informal environment than that of a conference hall. The networking theme continued with conferences such as Tweet, tweet: social media calling advising attendees on how to use Facebook, Twitter and similar sites as marketing tools.

In addition, the expo opened with the presentation of the first Positively Beautiful Award. “We had the idea for the award because the show deals with the make-up that we put on, but we thought beauty also comes from within, so let’s focus on that side of it,” Birkett explained. The award was presented to R&B superstar and FFAWN (Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now) co-founder Mary J Blige by Lisa Price, founder of African American beauty brand Carol’s Daughter, for whom Blige is a spokesperson.

Indeed ethnic beauty was a standout theme at this year’s show. Price, together with Jani Friedman (Demeter Group) and Linda Singh (Coty), began the trends conference with The next big trend: the ethnic market driving sales in the beauty space, in which Price stressed that such consumers did not want beauty brands to speak to them in one dialogue and then to someone else in another and Friedman pointed out a continued gap in the market for superior ethnic specific (as opposed to ethnic suitable) beauty products.

BREAKING THE MOULD

Traditionally HBA has been a showcase for packaging companies and contract manufacturers, but this year’s event boasted a broader demographic of exhibitor. A larger number of ingredients suppliers chose the event as a platform, attracted by the lack of direct competition. Earthoil Plantations, a first time exhibitor at HBA, said it had been inundated.

“We came because there are very few raw materials suppliers showing; there are a lot of packaging people and a lot of downstream technologies,” said sales and marketing director, Campbell Walter.

“It’s a good thing to be here for us as we stand out,” reiterated Naturex’s Antoine Dauby. “All the people in the industry are going to be here whether they are looking for packaging or ingredients. So it’s consistent for us to be here.”

For Naturex the show provided an opportunity to introduce existing products to the US market for the first time, while fellow ingredients supplier Silab chose HBA to launch its pore minimising active

p-Refinyl in the region. Alpha Aromatics also used the show as a platform to launch its 100% natural fragrance, Zazen.

In addition, several upcoming end product companies were exhibiting in order to raise awareness of their brands amongst retailers. Joon Skincare, a brand specialising in natural, delicately fragranced or unfragranced products for girls between six and 12 years old.

Co-founder Tameka Linnell told SPC: “We could have chosen another show, but we really wanted to get the attention of retailers, because one of our goals is to make these products accessible to the mass market – our goal is to retail on the market at between $3.99 to $6.99 and the way to do that is really volume. We are counting on making these products affordable for little girls.”

Similarly, Skin Benefits International – a collaborative partnership between RCPharma in the US, The Core Business in the UK and Saudi Arabia’s Najd Trading Company – chose to launch its rebranded Skin Benefits at HBA. The (then) six-sku line, comprising gel patches, eye pads and pore strips containing natural ingredients and botanicals, was well received according to RCPharma and Skin Benefits ceo Ron Czerniec. “Here we’re looking at large distributors and wholesalers as well as retailers. Yesterday we had Amway International and CBS enquiring,” he said.

NATION OF INNOVATION

HBA’s primary focus, however, was still developments in beauty packaging and delivery systems.

One novel concept was Catalent Cosmetics’ animal-free soft gel capsules, Vegicaps Soft. Composed from carrageenan (extracted from red seaweed), corn starch, disodium phosphate and vegetal glycerol, the capsule shells are biodegradable and odour-free. In addition, the use of a single dose application system allows for the formulation of preservative-free products, making them particularly suitable for vegan, environmentally friendly or preservative-free brands.

Silipos displayed similarly innovative delivery systems made from tri-block polymer oil-based gels, which encourage healthy tissue growth while moisturising and softening the skin and which can be used with skin and body care formulations to enhance their efficacy. The company also used the show to promote its mineral oil-free, vegetable-based triglyceride gels.

Meanwhile, some companies presented solutions to more traditional packaging problems. MeadWestvaco’s updated Mini-Trigger dispenser (the Mini-Trigger Curve) features a new integrated lock to prevent consumers misplacing the original removable clip.

Also on display was MWV’s new Mini-Trigger Petite, which, as the company’s director of marketing, Earl Trout explained began as a project to address design concerns involving the original. “In retail distribution, if I wanted to put this into a carton with a corrugated separator for shipping the trigger hangs outside the pack, which means extra cost,” he said, referring to the old dispenser. “This [Mini-Trigger Petite] actually fits within the equipment for a 50ml bottle. We’ve also added in the ability for a swivel nozzle.”

Garrett Hewitt International launched a tool for even mascara application, its 3-in-1 Mascara Brush, which features three different brush surfaces on one wand enabling the consumer to apply product to the top, corner and bottom lashes, while EcoPak Push, the most recent addition to Chicago Paper Tube & Can Company’s EcoPak brand, is described as an environmentally friendly, cradle-to-cradle paperboard alternative to plastic twist-up applicators.

PASTURES GREEN

The event keynote, delivered by Intelligent Nutrients ceo and Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher, set the tone for an event that focused heavily on natural products and eco-packaging. Indeed the sheer volume of exhibitors offering such services amongst other lines led to the show’s designated green area being shelved. “We had a pavilion last year with just naturals, but it doesn’t make sense to have a pavilion that segregates sectors,” said Birkett.

According to Amcor PET Packaging, visitors were particularly interested in 100% post consumer recycled (PCR) PET, while first time exhibitor Enviro Packaging Solutions reported an “extremely positive response” to its hanging blister packs made from recycled paperboard and 100% PCR PET, which will soon be replaced by clear corn starch.

In the past, biodegradable plastics have often been deemed unsuitable for certain formulations and many could not be broken down outside of industrial conditions. But this is changing, as HBA exhibitors proved.

Banana Packaging Inc, a first time exhibitor at any show, chose HBA to launch EcoBlendz, a range of biodegradable cosmetic packaging including PET bottles, PS/PP/Acrylic-based jars and PE tubes, designed to degrade aerobically or anaerobically but claimed to have the same characteristics as regular plastic. The plastics contain an organic-based raw material added to the resin during manufacturing, which enables microbes to colonise on it and break it down.

“The reality is that over 90% of all plastics are thrown away,” commented Banana Packaging’s Kei Sison. “With these specific jars you do not have to put them in the recycle bin but the garbage. It’s not about making a lifestyle change.”

CSI/Cosmolab previewed its biodegradable jars manufactured from Mirel (a family of PHA resins from Telles), which are fully biodegradable in both home and industrial composting systems and which will be on the market in December.

Bedford Industries, meanwhile, promoted an environmentally-friendly version of its elastic hang tags. The biodegradable ElastiTag is said to have the same shelf-life as the original, but breaks down in a landfill environment in under a year.

Rechelbacher warned against the growing trend for green washing – whereby certain C&T manufacturers adopt a natural or eco-friendly image to attract consumers with little substance to back it up. “Lying to the consumer is the worst thing that we can do,” he stated.

Anthony Gentile, art director and marketing manager of environmentally conscious sample supplier XelaPack believes the same can be said of packaging companies. “If there’s one thing consumers can do it’s to research and find out who is actually adjusting as a company to be more environmentally friendly,” he told SPC. “There probably will be more regulation in that field in coming years and I would say that anyone who is honestly working towards being more environmentally conscious should welcome that.”

Birkett hopes to shine the spotlight on sustainable packaging further at 2010’s HBA: “The whole reuse, recycle market is a boon to the packaging folks... if you can reuse something, it’s a positive project for you – you can create bottles that can be refilled. I hope that next year we will have a bigger focus on this market.”

In addition, next year’s HBA will feature an exclusive, appointment-only section for VIPs. “We’ve actually added a section in the 2010 floor plan that we call By Invitation Only. The idea is that there are several high end French, Italian and German companies who said they would actually be happier seeing fewer people if those were done by appointment and were quality,” Birkett explained.

This drive to attract the industry’s main players combined with less competition from other events and the prospect of growing attendance as more countries creep out of recession suggests that 2010 could be an even stronger year for HBA.

A TASTE OF BEAUTY TO COME

?Once again Mintel’s Innovations Zone was a highlight at HBA. As in previous years, attendees were given the opportunity to sample the latest beauty foods. These included Aroma Grapefruit and Fruity Rose body fragrancing soft chews, part of Kracie Foods’ Fuwarinka brand, collagen coated dried fruit (also from Kracie Foods) and Pola Chemical’s Beauty Up Drink, which contains collagen as well as six other ingredients to boost skin elasticity and moisture and is priced at $49.22.

“Beauty foods have been big in Asia for a while but the trend has taken time to reach the US,” commented Taya Tomasello, Mintel’s director of beauty innovation, Americas, who noted that people were very responsive.

“I think it’s still a nascent area for beauty groups. But if you believe, like I do, that beauty comes from within there is a place for that trend,” adds Birkett. “One of the issues is, as a consumer, how long are you willing to try it [a beauty food] before you agree or disagree with what it does for you? I’ve read that some women will try it only five times and then they give up, whereas with face cream you would never do that! You’ve got to be sure that people understand. But definitely with the interest we’ve seen in the Mintel Innovations area, its something that we’d like to see more of here.”

SPA & RESORT

?In addition to HBA, the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre was host to the Spa & Resort Expo, which ran from 15-16 September. Although Spa & Resort is ordinarily held in October, United Business Media approached its organiser (Reed Exhibitions) to propose that the shows be held simultaneously. “We had a programme where anyone from their show could go into our show with their badge and anyone from our show could go into their show with their badge,” said Birkett.

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