Rimpie Panjwani
Rimpie is Mintel's Senior Beauty Analyst based in Mumbai. She specialises in analysing and providing insights on India’s beauty and personal care market and consumer trends.

Today, natural toothpaste is all about promoting functional benefits and revolves around the idea that natural options are free from chemicals and contain herbs to maintain healthy oral hygiene. Most of the toothpaste available on the shelf only talk about functional benefits, like strengthening teeth, detoxifying the mouth, reducing inflammation or killing bacteria.

Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) indicates that the natural oral care segment in India saw a jump in new product launches between 2016-17. Many mainstream toothpaste brands adopted the natural route resulting in the market becoming saturated with products with functional benefits.

While consumers are interested in natural ingredients, they also want to know what’s in their product and why. Although there are a significant number of toothpastes that qualify as ‘natural’, consumers are still not entirely convinced or loyal to a single natural brand, reveals Mintel research.

Breath freshness holds the key

Mintel research highlights that almost two in five natural toothpaste users in India have used a breath freshening toothpaste in addition to their natural toothpaste.

Fresh breath is a key expectation of natural toothpaste users and brands can help consumers maintain fresh breath for longer. According to Mintel GNPD, from 2017-18, India has seen the highest number of launches in dental ancillaries, including mouth fresheners, across the Asia Pacific region.

However, breath freshness benefits do not feature among the primary claims. Only half of the natural oral care products launched in India between 2013-18 talk about breath freshening on the pack.

Brands can aim to address this by targeting overall oral health and taking care of the causes of bad breath. Moreover, brands in India can take inspiration from global brands to focus on fighting bad breath.

Signal Pure Breath Toothpaste
This product is said to not only cover up bad breath but also attack the cause with hexedrine fluoride micro-particles, leaving a long-lasting fresh breath. It claims to have anti-bacterial properties and contains natural mint extracts to refresh the mouth.

TheraBreath Fresh Breath Toothpaste
This mild mint flavoured toothpaste is said to combat bad breath for 24 hours instantly, relieves a dry mouth with soothing aloe vera, and whitens teeth. According to the manufacturer, the combination of oxygen plus aloe vera cleans and brightens teeth with no harsh abrasives, while eliminating the source of bad breath.

What we think

For brands to succeed in the natural toothpaste space, they need to offer what consumers want—breath freshness. Brands can triumph by changing what they communicate to consumers and talk about fresh breath as a primary claim, followed by functional benefits.

Finally, to really deliver on the breath freshening claim, companies need to increase the freshness benefit of the toothpaste by ensuring an adequate amount of ingredients are included to help maintain fresh breath throughout the day.