Why Companies Add Harmful Ingredients When Scaling Production
As consumers, we've all experienced buying a product we thought was environmentally friendly only to discover that it contains harmful ingredients. We get confused because we have been led to believe that this product was safe and healthy for us and for the environment when we first bought it. The negative effect of scaling production has become a common issue for many small-scale companies that grow into large-scale companies. What happens when companies scale production that causes them to add more ingredients to an initially clean ingredient list and start to turn away from their healthy, minimalist values? This blog post explains why and how this happens in products such as lip balm, skincare, sunscreen, and why consumers can't always detect these changes.
Changing The Production Process
When companies scale production, they often need to change their production process, which can result in them adding extra ingredients to an initially clean ingredient list. For example, a small-scale company making handmade lip balm might start with natural ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, and essential oils. As the company grows, the production process becomes more automated, and they may start to use synthetic ingredients such as petroleum jelly, fragrances or flavours, so they can make more lip balms at a faster rate. These synthetic ingredients may not be environmentally friendly, sustainable, or organic.
Similarly, skincare companies may start adding preservatives to their products as they get bigger, so they increase their shelf life. Preservatives are chemicals used to prevent bacteria and fungi growth in the product, but they can damage the ecological balance of the skin. Furthermore, sunscreen companies begin to use chemical sunscreen agents that are absorbed into the skin, posing health risks, such as disrupting the endocrine system, and they may not be fully transparent about the sun protection factor (SPF) claims of the product.
Companies Make Ingredient Changes Without Announcements
Consumers can't always detect these changes because companies often change the formulation of a product without announcing the change. Moreover, they frequently change the product packaging or modify the marketing claims to emphasize other features, such as cruelty-free, organic, paraben-free, etc, to distract consumers from the ingredient list.
Opt-in to Buy Smaller Scale Brands
One way to avoid this dilemma is to opt for companies that keep their ingredient list short, so they maintain their minimalist and healthy values as they scale. Focusing on smaller-scale companies can also be a solution, by design, because they use ingredients that are locally sourced, sustainable, organic, and free from harmful chemicals. These companies have a more hands-on approach to their production process, which means that they are more likely to retain their original ingredient list, values, and quality control as they grow.
Takeaway: Don't Be Distracted By Marketing Claims
In conclusion, the preservative effect of scaling production is a common issue that consumers face when buying environmentally friendly products. As companies grow, they may resort to adding synthetic chemicals, preservatives, and harmful ingredients to their once-clean ingredient list to increase production rates and shelf life. Consumers may not detect these changes because companies may not announce them, change product packaging or modify the marketing claims to distract consumers. It's best to opt for companies that keep their ingredient list short and focus on those that maintain their minimalist and healthy values as they scale. By doing so, consumers can support smaller-scale companies, which use locally sourced, sustainable, and organic ingredients, creating a healthier and sustainable environment for everyone.