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Biddiscombe Sunless

Sunless Industry Transparency Discussion

Posted by John Melville on

Over the weekend, the Professional Spray Tanning Association's Facebook page had a flurry of activity about marketing claims. Unfortunately, the moderators of the site deleted the thread, but not before we were able to capture most of the discussion.  Here's an excerpt of the conversation:

As Biddiscombe Sunless, we appealed to the members of this association for their help in pushing companies in the sunless industry to be truthful in marketing, particularly about organic and all natural claims.

IHT wrote: 

"Like what you are doing but be prepared for nothing. Nobody cares unless they have been affected health wise. Thing is with all the GMO sugar beet news and all the patent applications I have seen for DHA made from corn we do need to wake up [sic]."

Biddiscombe responded 

That may be true bit based on feedback from professionals; some do care and are concerned about what they tell their clients.On DHA sources, we said DHA is made from glucose and the primary source of glucose is corn. Based on our discussions with the top DHA manufacturers who closely guard their processes, we expect corn is the base crop for DHA.

On the use of the term “organic DHA” the following comments were made:

"I agree. DHA is far from being organic. Green washing is a huge problem, not just in the tanning industry but the beauty industry as a whole. :-)"

"I agree. DHA is far from being organic. Unfortunately greenwashing is rife, not only in the tanning industry but the beauty industry as a whole. Consumers are being more savvy though which is great to see and yes, as you have mentioned challenging claims and knowing ingredients is paramount to changing the ability to make false claims about being "organic" and "all natural"."

S wrote: 

"Biddiscombe don't you need to drop the "organic" claim also, if eco-cert says dha cannot even be certified organic?"

Biddiscombe responded to S 

Biddiscombe sunless does not make an organic claim on any of its products.Also noted was that back in 2010 when we asked for organic certifications from the largest DHA suppliers, these could not be produced and as a result we dropped all references to organic DHA immediately. I also shared that we as a company committed not to make any organic product claim unless we could back it up with a valid certification.

S had a very good question. Should we not be held to the same standard? – absolutely. We encourage this kind of dialogue and will offer the kind of transparency we expect of our industry peers.  It needs to start somewhere.  There are bulletin boards such as TanTalk and TanToday where these discussions can get some momentum.  As the Sunless Industry is rarely associated as a group exclusive of being lumped in with the much larger UV crowd, it is difficult to spearhead a comprehensive culture change like this.

There is discomfort in revealing a long harbored myth within our industry, and we have seen it trigger passionate responses - which in this case resulted in all posts relative to the thread removed from the site.  This is just the start of what the industry will need to come to terms with, as clients become more educated. 

While the public has only recently come to understand the broad stroke marketing definitions of "organic", for years there have been sizable lawsuits claiming unfair marketing advantages using the word "organic".  We hope for our industry that the collective initiative can bypass this type of destructive resolution in favor of a more grass roots connection with its buyers.  Sunless suppliers are in a unique position to be in a growing market in a downturn economy.  Our industry can take pride in its products without making false claims and there will be more than enough business to go around!