Meet Surfrider Foundation - partners of Nordics - selfless warriors for a noble cause

Nordics is a professional dental care brand, but its ethos stretches also to sustainability and customer satisfaction. That’s why supporting great causes is an important part of our identity. Naturally, we chose an amazing partner to support - the Surfrider Foundation. Read on to find out how together we actually clean the oceans.

Introducing – Surf Rider Foundation

Established by surfers in 1990 in Biarritz, France, the Surf Rider Foundation Europe has always been caring about the ocean. There are more than 2,000 volunteers and 43 local branches in Europe right now – which shows there are many dedicated environmentalists here who focus on preserving and cleaning our oceans, seas, and rivers.

Mentioned in magazines like National Geographic, the Surf Rider Foundation is leading in environmental protection and conservation.

Worldwide there are over 182,000 active volunteers and 176 chapters and student clubs that help to keep the oceans and coasts clean. By supporting the Surf Rider Foundation we’re not only supporting clean oceans, but also climate change and its impacts.

What are the common deeds of Nordics & Surf Rider Foundation? 

The Surf Rider Foundation is a group of action takers who protect the health and sustainability of our planet’s most precious resource – the ocean. Besides defending our oceans from challenges threatening the vitality of the ecosystem, the NGO also acts on issues that threaten our beaches and natural shorelines.

Reducing the impact of plastics in the marine ecosystem is one of the most important tasks the Surf Rider Foundation has to face daily.

Surf Rider Europe works with individual citizens, public sectors, and also private sectors on education and awareness, political advocacy, and scientific and legal expertise.

Nordics is a global sponsor of SRF since 2017. We contribute to their noble cause is by donating 0,5 percent of our annual revenue to the organization. Each donated euro equals 5 sq.m. of cleaned beaches. That's how Nordics has provided 15 000 sq.m. of clean beaches until now.

The importance of clean oceans 

Climate change and demographic pressure on coastal areas are impacting our daily lives.

Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic wastelands in the ocean. This is a huge problem, especially because there are countless benefits to our planet of clean oceans. Half of the world’s oxygen is produced by the ocean, and it also absorbs 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere. With plastic in the ocean, the ecosystem is disrupted.

For a more detailed view of how much plastic pollution influences the ocean, we can highly recommend the documentary “A Plastic Ocean”. It shows the dramatic damage plastic causes to the marine wildlife, just because billions of plastic ends in the ocean – one more reason why we should protect the oceans at all cost.

How is Nordics supporting this? 

Plastic is used in every industry by now – and that’s a problem. In 2020, more than 300 million tons of plastic waste have been produced. Around 79 percent of it was accumulated in landfills or the environment. And the largest market of plastics is packaging materials. Which is another reason why it’s essential to focus on alternatives for packaging products.

Traditional toothpaste, for example, is packaged in classic plastic tubes that cannot be recycled.
So, let's make a quick reminder of our specialties. We use 100% recyclable tubes of bioplastic for our toothpastes, our mouthwash bottles are made of 100% recycled plastic, our toothbrushes are made of bamboo. That's how we are drastically decreasing the amount of plastic that pollutes beaches and oceans.

Furthermore, we focus on not using any harmful ingredients for our products, not only inside the formula but also during the process of production. Our toothpastes are without sugar, free from preservatives, and without harsh chemical compounds. We at Nordics do not only reshape traditional dental products but also think about future generations and how we can have a positive impact on them.

Nordics is not just reducing the use of plastic waste in the oral care industry. We are an official sponsor of the NGO and donate a percentage of every purchase to the Surf Rider Foundation cause. So, with every purchase of one of our Nordics products, you contribute directly to plastic-free oceans and landfills.

Oral care can be environmental-friendly, too, without missing out on high quality. We avoid using harmful ingredients and created organic, vegan-certified, and cruelty-free products to support good oral hygiene.

Choosing Nordics is not just buying a product but supporting a vision and a mission.


Consumer behavior in pandemics

Our lives as we know them have undoubtedly changed, and we all know that the COVID-19 pandemics has brought serious changes to the economy. Not only that, but it has also changed consumer behavior:

The way people buy, what they buy, and the mindset in which they buy have changed forever. These changes have now been confirmed by several studies, which also show that the pandemic is likely to permanently alter consumer behavior and bring about lasting structural changes in the consumer goods industry and retail sector.

This means that the way companies present their products and communicate with their customers will also have to change. What specifically has changed on the consumer side as a result of the crisis?

Closeness, trust & more solidarity 

Closeness and trust form the breeding ground for more mindful, social consumption and enjoyment behavior even after the crisis. The new solidarity that developed during the pandemic will shape trade and consumption in the future. This is also because a new level of solidarity emerged during the crisis, a new, self-confident "we" culture.

People helped each other, went shopping for at-risk groups, sewed mouth masks at home, and companies temporarily produced disinfectants instead of alcoholic beverages or perfumes. The pandemic makes it unmistakably clear that people cannot fight the virus and its consequences alone, but only as part of a group, as part of a society. In the future, consumer culture will focus less on goods, and more on resonant relationships.

Digitalization makes consumption more human

Technological innovations, automation, artificial intelligence and digital tools have shown their strengths in the crisis situation. They have not distanced people from one another; on the contrary, they help to be close to one another even at a distance - and also to organize consumption. Supply chains have been optimized in a very short time, Click & Collect saves time when shopping, and bicycle couriers will continue to provide local and fast last-mile delivery. Many will not want to miss the convenience of ordering food and groceries online and having them delivered, even after the crisis.

Naturally, people are spending more time with their digital devices during the crisis, whether smartphones, laptops or tablets, but also smartwatches. They use more streaming services, play games and communicate more with their smart speakers. People are spending much more time on social media, country specifically to varying degrees but on average social media usage has increased by about 45% globally as a result of the crisis. To stay relevant and satisfy consumer expectations, Nordics has largely focused on social media to keep a close connection with its fans. We’re stressing on useful insights about oral health, ecological consciousness and product reviews, so everybody’s well informed from a credible source.

How pandemics change consumer behavior permanently 

The pandemic is expected to permanently change consumer behavior. It will also have a lasting structural impact on the consumer goods and retail industries. These are the findings of management consultants Accenture in a recent survey the company conducted among more than 3,000 consumers in 15 countries on five continents. The Accenture survey was conducted between April 2 and April 6. At the time, many countries had already called for people to stay home.

The study concludes that consumer buying priorities were changing rapidly. For example, respondents said they were buying more personal care and cleaning products, as well as canned and fresh foods, than they were two weeks earlier. At the same time, they would buy fewer fashion and beauty items as well as consumer electronics. Data shows that 45% are making more sustainable choices when shopping and are likely to continue to do so, so it’s essential for companies to start rethinking and create more sustainable solutions or alternatives for their products.

Nordics’ all about sustainability.  However, we don’t compromise the hygiene standards especially at those difficult times: our toothpastes have a seal at the front, so the procust stays sterile until its first opening. Nordics mouthwash has a safety cap that must be pressed and twisted to open, and in addition is covered with a plastic sleeve. Our toothbrushes are safely sealed in vacuum bags and put in a cardboard box. That’s way we ensure that the quality that is produced in our labs is delivered on the shelves.

Availability is more important than brand loyalty 

Product availability was the most important thing to consumers at the onset of the pandemic. Empty shelves and temporary stock shortages greatly affected brand loyalty. Many consumers tried a different brand or shopped at a different retailer during the crisis. People tend to buy more at the same time and build stocks, not only for food but also for oral hygiene products.

A McKinsey study found that more than 75% of consumers tried new brands, shopping locations or shopping methods during the pandemic. Value, availability and quality or organic products were the main factors for consumers to try a different brand.

This trend is not new: even before the crisis, studies noted the development that consumers are much less loyal to brands these days and are increasingly trying out new products. This trend is particularly evident among the younger generations, because they love to try new things. The crisis has only reinforced this development and the positive experiences consumers have had during this time will continue to negatively influence their loyalty to brands.

What will consumer behavior look like after the pandemic? 

We can see that the crisis has brought some changes in the behavior of consumers, in all aspects of buying behavior, emotional attitude, daily challenges and basic needs of consumers:

  • People spend substantially more time online: social networks, platforms, apps, web
  • Consumers prefer digital communications and interactions: whether with people or machines
  • Consumers will shop online more, happily in groups: social shopping
  • Customers are becoming less trustful to brands: brand loyalty is waning
  • Consumers values in change: people are shopping more consciously and thinking about what is essential and what is frivolous. They value sustainability, regionality and quality.

Consuming for the sake of consuming will therefore fade into the background in the future. The pandemic freed consumption to some extent from its compensatory component: The function of the act of buying as a kind of act of frustration, which one practices primarily to feel less lonely or to reward oneself, is increasingly becoming a discontinued model. At Nordics, we will continue to keep on cutting-edge and meet future consumer demands with sustainable, organic products.


Future trends in the oral care sector

Еven though the oral care market of consumer goods is one of the most conservative ones, there’s evidence of its progression. In fact, as a rule of thumb, industries that don’t adapt to technological development or new trends, are doomed to perish.

 

GIVE WAY TO INNOVATION

 

The first thing worth mentioning is that more “out-of-the-box” products are making their way to top positions on the retailer’s shelves. This wasn’t always the case. In fact, you could only find a non-fluoride toothpaste, or a mint-free one, in strictly specialized stores. In our opinion, this wasn’t solely led by the consumer trends but also by the manufacturer’s unwillingness for niche investment. That was the situation for several decades.

 

However, things are starting to change. The growth projection of the global oral care market is of a CAGR of 6.32% for the period 2020 - 2025, reported by Research and Markets. That growth is impacted mainly by big brand’s innovative products. Of course, heavy promotional actions have always been typical for this sector, and they will continue being a growth driver.

In value, the oral care market is estimated to reach USD 53.3 billion by 2025 staying at USD 45.8 billion in 2020, according to Markets and Markets. The sector is so traditional that even the COVID19 pandemic couldn’t jolt it.

 

Brands should help clients pick up trends like clean formulas, alternative anti-caries or whitening ingredients, natural flavors, innovative packaging, or formats of products (ex. zero-waste toothpaste tablets or dental floss). Trendy products with poor distribution or compromise in quality (not quite bio, not quite zero-waste) put a barrier between market and consumer development. In short, lack of customer awareness about R&D and innovations prevent the growth rate.

 

Toothpaste is KING

 

Toothpaste is actually one of the consumer goods with the highest penetration (about 80% on average). This is determined by the globally spread dental decay due to food quality, hereditary factors, poor eating habits, and more. Brushing with toothpaste is still the No.1 way to take care of our oral health. A rise in popularity for herbal oral products is driving the global toothpaste market, along with premiumization, and offerings of specialized solutions (Research and Markets).

 

The “BIG 4”

 

Conservative as it is, the oral care sector has a group of leaders that’s been here for a while. You can easily spot exactly who they are if you’re strolling down the isles in the supermarkets of the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Australia. Yes, you got it right. Those are Colgate, Elmex (Colgate-Palmolive), Oral-B (Procter & Gamble), Signal, Pepsodent (Unilever PLC) Aquafresh, Sensodyne, and Parodontax (GlaxoSmithKline PLC). The “Big 4” is here to stay and we don’t expect significant shifts soon.

However, all hope is not lost, especially for smaller regional players that make specialized products. A winning strategy is to address specific dental problems like gum disease, hyper-sensitivity, periodontitis, or halitosis. That’s how tinier brands became established in their local markets and can expand abroad.

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

Remember, the oral care market is marked by brutal price wars that could be led for years by the “Big 4”. So if you’re a toddler in the sector or still considering your entry plan your best chances are of presenting a product of superb quality dealing with specific dental issues and that has a taste that would be adored.


Are you ready for the EU regulation against single use plastic?

If you haven’t heard of the long-anticipated EU ban of single-use plastic, you have some catching up to do. It was approved in the first Q of 2019 and it states that single-use plastic items will be banned for production by 2021. And here we are…

This year we’ll have to see ecological friendly alternatives of plastic forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, plates, straws, cotton buds, balloon sticks, food containers, and our favorite - polystyrene cups.

This measure comes in a bundle of legislative activities aiming to fight the industrial effects of climate change. It is part of the Juncker Commission's Circular Economy Action Plan and is part of the EU Plastics Strategy. We agree that those steps are belated, to say the least, since scientists have been alarming governments for decades. However, the new standards include higher company responsibility and more precise monitoring of industrial polluters. Starting from this year all EU states will have to achieve a target of 90% collection of plastic bottles that end up in the recycle bin, by 2029, and newly produced plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled material by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

Nordics are whistling carefree while our mouthwash plastic bottles are produced from 100% recycled plastic from day one. Furthermore, Nordics was one of the pioneers introducing bamboo drinking straws for the European market.

Let’s get back to the legislative novelties. The expected outcomes from this ecological measure are to lessen the CO2 emission by 3.4 million tons, to avoid an ecological footprint that would cost the equivalent of €22 billion by 2030, and to save consumers a projected €6.5 billion.

The other important side of it is the “the polluter pays” principle. This means that every company should pay an equal price for the direct and indirect pollution it makes, including CO2. Actually, this is part of the 1992 Rio Declaration, a guide with general principles for sustainability.

Part of the new policy is targeting consumer education and consumer behavior. By mandatory labeling for packaging, users will be warned of the environmental damage they would cause by disposing of products incorrectly. Many Western countries and retailers' own brands have been doing this for quite some time now, uptaking the heavy task of consumer teaching.

Nordics’ products are born from the sustainability concept. We are passionate supporters of the principle "reduce, reuse, recycle". That's why our products are saving the Planet and satisfying the most pretentious consumer needs since 2015. But as we can see from the new EU law - it's a shared mission of manufacturers and consumers.


What are the forbidden substances in Nordics toothpastes and why we want to be FREE of them?

We know that if you’re reading this article you're not the mainstream shopper looking for a bargain in the drugstore. Well, it’s hard to step out of the shopping stereotypic behavior. The markets around the world are flooded with goods striving to deliver low prices and better margins that often come along with compromised quality. 

We, at Nordics, aim to create better opportunities for everybody to reach and buy high quality, clean label oral care products. That’s why we just said “No” to some of the most used cosmetic ingredients and took the long, but far more satisfying road of clean labels. 

But what exactly is a "clean label"? This means that you won’t find “parabens, SLS, PEGs, synthetic flavors & colorants, preservatives, sugar or soy”, written anywhere on our packaging.  The reason we don’t fancy those substances is simple: they have controversial effects on the human body. Even though they do wonderfully for producing a cheap, foamy, strong-flavored toothpaste with a long expiry period, we couldn’t be tempted into going that direction. Our values are superior, and we believe that well-being, safety and sustainability are better than simple good looks?

Parabens. These types of preservatives have been used for decades around the world. However, some 15 years ago, it was up against convictions that they might cause breast cancer. This was followed by a controversial discussion and at the end, parabens were marked as “generally safe". Then, and in fact, now, parabens are widely spread around the cosmetic industry, as “The World Counts” estimates. That's the key moment. Nowadays parabens are all over your cosmetic box and bathroom shelves and they begin to accumulate. Research shows that parabens have a direct relation to skin irritation, allergies, and dermatitis in children. Furthermore, there is data that preservatives hide health risks, and as scientists (Schnuch et al.) noted in 2011, “Preservatives are still important contact allergens. The introduction of new preservatives should consider the specific characteristics of occupational and of nonoccupational (cosmetic, household) exposure, and preventive measures should aim equally at both areas”. 

That is why we conserve our products with natural preservatives that are harmless to our body and nature and ensure long shelf life.

SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.  This additive is used as a surfactant to create big and fluffy foam in cosmetic products. As we all know, foam washes away impurities, and also SLS is believed to have a mild antibacterial effect.
So far so good.
Looking at the other side, in vitro tests show that SLS slows gum healing. SLS is also an irritant that could be unpleasant for more sensitive people. In spite of this, our research shows that a fair share of users just cannot think of toothpaste without thick rich foam. That’s why Nordics portfolio offers both toothpastes containing SLS and ones using a bio-based foaming agent (Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate)

Propylene Glycol is a synthetic substance that is used in various industries, including cosmetics. Speaking about oral care, its function is to smoothen and soften the base of the toothpaste. Even though propylene glycol makes the toothpaste strip on your brush look shiny, its relation to allergies and contact dermatitis is well-documented. Also, the propylene glycol (PG) that is used in oral care products is toxic, as are other ingredients on our “forbidden” list. Even though its toxicity is low and propylene glycol is “Generally recognized as safe” by the United States Food and Drug Administration, it’s not something we want on our labels or in our customer’s mouths.

Synthetic flavors and colors are designed to recreate natural tastes and smells since extracting essential oils is expensive, time-consuming, and laborious. You would guess that the lower price plays the main role in manufacturers' decision-making. That’s far from surprising since using a purely natural scent is exclusive and even boutique practice. To continue the moral discussion, there is scientific evidence that synthetic food colorants are connected to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Furthermore, the toxic effect of synthetic food colorants is visible in the deviations of a number of health indicators, such as blood cell quantity, hemoglobin levels, bilirubin and total protein.
Well, Nordics standards cannot allow such a thing at any cost. Our appealing tastes and crispy freshness come from 100% natural flavors. 

Sugar. The words “sugar” and “oral health” lay at the two opposite ends of one semantic line, but "sweet" and “oral health” go together just fine. We’ve used the perfect sweetener that not only pleases the palates but also protects the enamel from decay. Our favorite natural ingredient that has the sweetness of sugar – xylitol. It’s truly a gift from mother nature’s raspberries, oranges, corncobs, and mostly in birch tree barks.

Oral care is a huge market and you can swim in a variety of different mint tastes or color stripes. Nordics is devoted to making a well-being impact that goes beyond human-being. The essence of rejecting popular cosmetics substances and carefully selecting the ones we cherish, is a challenging and nerve-wracking process, indeed. The result, in the end, is what’s paying off and that is a healthier smile for a healthier Planet.