Body Shop, L’Oréal plot food range

The Body Shop and L’Oréal are planning to make a foray into the food sector as the two beauty companies seek to exploit the combined might of their product development departments.

Last week’s announcement that L’Oréal is acquiring The Body Shop chain for about £650m has raised questions about how they will co-operate to launch new brands. On her website, The Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick reveals the ethical chain is keen to use L’Oréal’s research and development capabilities to create food products.

She says: “[L’Oréal] is so well-known for research and development, and what I would love is that it could take that incredible intelligence on product development and give us some help in taking the food stuffs and the natural ingredients, and put that same technology and research into what is really the first cousin to cosmetics – food. I am very excited by that.”

A L’Oréal spokesman confirms the comments indicate the two companies will work together to create food brands, though he declined to give further details. Roddick’s office also declined to comment. It is not clear whether the food products would be sold through The Body Shop outlets. Rivals such as Boots and Superdrug sell ranges of take-away food.

There may be scope to extend The Body Shop brand into the booming organic and fairtrade food market. The brand would lend itself to beverages, chocolate and fruit-based products.

Alternatively, there may be opportunities to create nutraceutical foods, which offer specific health benefits. Nestlé controls a 25% stake in L’Oréal, has already launched its own fair trade coffee and is developing a “functional foods” range. It may be interested in lending assistance to creating food brands for The Body Shop.

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