New gourmet blended butters for bath and body products have hit the market at a time when consumer demand continues to rise for fresh, nature-inspired ingredients. The names sound good enough to eat: lemon, lime, coffee, blueberry, cranberry butters and more. They are easy to incorporate into a wide range of products: lotions, body butters, balms, soaps and scrubs. In addition, these butters can add value to products, and as a result, a potential for increased profits.
What do these new butters offer? Many of them contain healing extracts and herbs, and naturally include powerful antioxidants. Cranberry Butter, for example, touts the high antioxidant properties of the popular little berry. In addition, it is said to help reduce inflammation and effective in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema. A quick online search result shows that bath and body companies of all sizes are including these cranberry butters body butters and scrubs.
These butters are typically a combination of plant oils and solid butters, such as shea butter, illipe, kokum, mango or solid oil like coconut. The gourmet butters hitting the market are often composed of several ingredients. For example, Wholesale Supplies Plus sells a Cranberry Butter Blend that combines shea butter, palm butter, jojoba seed oil and cranberry fruit. It produces a beautiful, natural pink color in body butters, creams, lotions and scrubs.
Coffee butters are showing up in coffee and espresso scrubs, creams, butters and soaps. This should come as no surprise as customer demand for coffee butters appears to be on the increase. Caffeine found in coffee offers anti-inflammatory properties, including the constricting of blood vessels and is reported to be helpful for those suffering from rosacea or facial redness. Several reports have also suggested that caffeine helps repair skin damage caused by UV rays.
The buzz is out on the benefits of caffeine. Google Trends, an online search engine for trending searches on Google (http://www.google.com/trends), shows that “coffee butter” searches are on the rise (see graph below). An increase in online searches around the end of the year for “coffee butter” could most likely be attributed to interest from retailers and spas, gift-giving consumers during the fourth quarter holiday season as well as beauty business entrepreneurs sourcing coffee butter for inclusion in new products for 2011.
Google Trends Search Results for “Coffee Butter”
Most of these gourmet butters offer a natural color to the final product, whether it is in creams, scrubs or body butters. The previously mentioned cranberry gives a pink tone while coffee butter has a brown tint. Horsetail butter provides a beautiful light sage green hue. A similar shade of green is found in the green tea butter, which boasts skin protection from aging and damage from UVB sun rays as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-cellulite and anti-irritancy properties.
Although the addition of some of these butters to some melt and pour bases may result in a slight shade change, they add the most color to lotions, creams, and body butters. Brighter colors can be achieved through the use of cosmetic-grade micas. Try about 1/8 of a teaspoon per pound in body butters.
When formulating for cold or hot process soaps it is important to take into account that butters have individual SAP values. For example, Wholesale Supplies Plus’ coffee butter has a SAP value of 175-200 whereas the cranberry butter has a SAP value of 210-230.
Prices on these gourmet butters range from $10-17 per pound. Use in smaller percentages, of course, will help keep your cost of goods down. This is easy to do, since suggested usage rates for most products are small: approximately three to five percent in lotions and creams; five to 100 percent in lip balms and body butters; and three to six percent in cold and hot process soaps. Like most butters and oils, their shelf life is about 12 months. Refrigeration can help extend the shelf life as will storing in a cool and dark location.
These gourmet butters can add a new twist to an old recipe or possibly inspire a new product. They bring a splash of color and healing properties together in one ingredient. A few minutes on an internet search engine and a browse through a few handmade artisan shopping sites will give you more insight on how others are jumping onboard this fast-growing trend.
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Marla Bosworth is the CEO and Founder of Back Porch Soap Company, http://www.backporchsoap.com She teaches group and private classes on how to make natural skincare products in Boston and NYC. Ms. Bosworth also provides product, brand and marketing strategies for handmade beauty companies. Marla wrote this feature article exclusively for Debbie May.com (http://www.debbiemay.com/), an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.