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L’Occitane on being “an actor for change” in bulk beauty

Katie Nichol

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L’Occitane on being “an actor for change” in bulk beauty

On the heels of its successful pilot project in 2020, beauty brand L’Occitane en Provence is rolling out its in-store refill fountains in a bid to cut down on packaging waste. Luxe Packaging Insight spoke to Corinne Fugier-Garrel, Packaging Design and Innovation Director, about the brand’s objectives in this area.

L'Occitane en Provence is expanding its in-store refill fountains to boutiques in Europe, Asia, the US and Canada following a pilot project in Spain and Germany. What are your objectives?

We will implement our bulk fountains, part of our commitment to cut down on waste, in 60 stores in 27 countries by the end of the year. Five of our hero products will be available – Verbena Liquid Shower Gel, Almond Shower Oil, Verbena Shea Liquid Soap and an Aromachologie shampoo and conditioner. Our goal is to build customer loyalty, while having a real impact on waste reduction.

For the refills, consumers first purchase the 100% recycled aluminum Forever bottle in 250ml or 500ml formats, and then the bulk formula. What is the cost saving for the consumer?

When consumers make their first purchase, the empty bottle and its filling cost the same as the packaged product. Afterwards, the consumer only pays for the formula.

Does your sustainable approach extend to the refill fountains?

Yes, the fountains have been designed to be as eco-friendly as possible: they use very little electricity, and we used FSC-certified wood from sustainably managed forests for the furniture. We used a water-based varnish for the solid wood furniture and do not apply any glue, solvent or resin. The stations will come in two sizes: the smallest will be 60cm wide, the largest 120cm. Both the suppliers of the refill technology and the solid wood furniture are based in France.

How do you see the in-store refill market developing?

Consumption habits vary by region, which is why we first started testing the fountains in Germany and Spain - markets that are more mature in terms of bulk products. Today, L'Occitane wants to be an actor for change in consumption habits by offering this bulk option in 27 different countries - even where bulk is not a habit. Ultimately, we aim to equip all of our owned stores with the fountains, although a target date has not been set.

However, our order book from our international boutiques continues to fill up for 2022.

What about solid format products? Are these a priority for the brand?

L’Occitane has been offering "bonne-mère" solid soaps for years, but we aim to go further. In June of this year, we are launching three solid shampoos, and in 2022 we’ll add a solid conditioner to the range.

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