Global food and personal care giant Unilever has its sights on the growing natural skin care and beauty market with the launch of its newest personal care brands ApotheCARE and Love Beauty and Planet in the US from late 2017/January, then announced in December it will buy Schmidt's Naturals, a Portland, Oregon-based business known for its line of natural deodorants.

Unilever launched Love Beauty and Planet using "ethically-sourced" essential oils and products including shampoos, conditioners, and body washes, that are paraben-free using 100 per cent recycled bottles.

ApotheCARE Essentials, a natural, premium hair care and skin cleansing line, is Unilever's first new brand of its kind in the last few decades. ApotheCARE targets the growing number of consumers seeking natural beauty products, while Unilever tapped a core team of about five people to develop and launch the brand in just over a year.

The Schmidt's Naturals deal, announced in December, includes natural deodorants, bar soaps and toothpaste. The company's products are sold direct-to-consumer online, as well as through Target and Kroger in the US.

Founded in 2010 by Jaime Schmidt, Schmidt’s natural deodorants include award-winning formulas derived from plants and minerals. Its most popular variants include Charcoal + Magnesium, Rose + Vanilla, Lavender + Sage, as well as fragrance-free offerings.

“Schmidt’s Naturals is a strong, innovative brand in the fast-growing natural category, and nicely complements our existing portfolio of US deodorants which includes leading brands Degree, Axe and Dove,” said Kees Kruythoff, president, Unilever North America.

Co-founders Jaime Schmidt and Michael Cammarata will continue to be involved with the brand.

“Today is a momentous day in the history of Schmidt's Naturals as we announce our joining of the Unilever family of brands,” said Jaime Schmidt, founder, Schmidt’s Naturals.

“Thanks to our community, what started humbly in my kitchen and local farmers’ markets has grown into homes worldwide. I am proud to say that as a result of our partnership with Unilever, we are better positioned than ever in our mission to make natural products accessible to all.”

Michael Cammarata, Co-founder and CEO, Schmidt’s Naturals: “As long as I can remember, I’ve had one dream—to build and be part of a meaningful company that would help change the world and empower people everywhere to live their best lives.”

Following its acquisition of UK organic herbal tea company Pukka Herbs Ltd in September, Unilever also acquired Brazilian natural and organic food company Mae Terra.