by Joe Henry | August 02, 2016
Consumers are looking for soaps, candles, and lotions that are natural, simple, and eco-friendly -- and incentive merchandise suppliers are proving happy to meet these demands. 

Incentive merchandise providers like Top Brands -- which introduced Yankee Candle products into its offerings in spring 2014 -- offers Yankee Candle bundles, including scents like Berry Bramble and Home Sweet Home (which combines scents of cinnamon, baking spices, and teas).

But big brands like Yankee Candle aren't the only ones embracing eco-friendly. Chicago-based non-profit Helping Hand Partners, whose products are manufactured with an emphasis on going green and social responsibility, is debuting a line of body and spa products called 1eleven. 

While Helping Hand has already pre-sold this line to some large incentive companies, according to the company's vice president of sales and marketing, Dena Hirschberg, it will have a full roll-out in September. The line includes glyercerin soaps, bath salts, candles, and a bath melt -- Helping Hand's branding for bath petals.

"We did research on the scents that are hot, and we fine-tuned them to make them special," Hirschberg said, calling out the company's citrus, mint, seascape and sea salt scents, as well as its lavender floral scent. 

Indeed, FONA International -- a manufacturer of scents -- noted in an industry survey that looked at trends from 2011-2015, that "Fruits (especially citrus) and herbs like rosemary, mint, and lavender have a leg up with consumers because they tend to associate these ingredients with health and freshness."

The shift to natural scents and social responsibility has only recently been picked up by most product manufacturers, though consumers had been singling out these products over the past couple of years. While Baby Boomers still dominate sales, Millennials -- who recently started coming into their own as big spenders -- are doing a big part in driving the trend.

"And the next generation coming up after the Millennials is even more aware of that," Hirschberg said.

Consequently, one of the strongest influences of consumer behavior in general, which is reflected in body and spa products, is support for brands that are socially conscientious. 

"It's a top driver of consumer behavior," Hirschberg said. "They're choosing brands that are giving back."