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Brands tout Black heritage as some shoppers question authenticity



NEW YORK/BANGALORE (Reuters) – L’Oreal SA, Unilever and other multinationals that acquired personal-care brands founded by Black people are moving to reassure their core customers, some of whom have pledged in the wake of racial-justice protests to direct their spending toward only Black-owned companies.

L’Oreal’s multicultural beauty brand Carol’s Daughter, which was founded by a Black woman in her Brooklyn kitchen in 1993 and named for her mother, said June 10 that it wanted to “clear some things up” when it posted a message to its Instagram page.

“Carol’s Daughter is Black-founded, and Black-led, and joined the L’Oreal family of brands in 2014,” it said. Founder Lisa Price “is still actively involved in all aspects of the business; leading the brand’s product development and creative vision,” the statement said.

Price is senior vice president and creative director at Carol’s Daughter, which is part of the Multi-Cultural Beauty Division at L’Oreal USA, and is also part of the Executive Committee at L’Oreal USA.

Multinational companies in recent years have snapped up products aimed at Black consumers and marketed those brands as authentically Black, with homemade formulas, personalised offers and feel-good marketing.

But in the wake of the protests following the May 25 death of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, many consumers are pledging to purchase more goods from Black-owned businesses as a way to bring greater racial equity.

SheaMoisture, a personal care company founded in Harlem by Liberian immigrants in 1991, became part of Unilever in 2017 after the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever purchased Sundial Brands, a New York-based beauty firm. Black consumers threatened to boycott its products in June citing its corporate ownership.

On June 9, Cara Sabin, CEO of Sundial Brands, which operates as a standalone unit within Unilever, posted a message on Instagram to assuage them. “I am a Black CEO, in White corporate America, leading a brand that exists to serve our Black consumer,” Sabin wrote.

Black spending power in the United States is expected to rise to $1.5 trillion by 2021, from about $1.3 trillion last year, according to a report by Nielsen, a data analytics firm that tracks consumer purchases.

The Black community makes up 13.4% of the U.S. population, and outspends in relation to other groups on products such as hair care and beauty, and women’s fragrances. In 2017, for example, Black shoppers represented 85% of the $63 million total U.S. industry spend on multicultural hair care products.

The group also represented 22.4% and 21% of the total U.S industry spending on women’s fragrances and feminine hygiene products that year, respectively, the report showed.

Sales of hair care products targeted at multi-ethnicities were up 50% year-over-year in the month to May 17, according to Strategic Solutions International, a unit of Nielsen. Black-owned hair care companies represented 14% of the category, but drove 20% of that growth at retail stores.

But some consumers say they’re paying closer attention to the ownership of a variety of goods and services aimed at Blacks, including bookstores, restaurants and pharmacies. On fundraising site GoFundMe, there are nearly 2,000 pages set up in support of Black-owned businesses, the majority of which were all created in recent weeks.

“We’ve been dealing with these issues with Black people for how long, right? But there’s just something about this moment,” said Vivian Duker, a Baltimore-based corporate attorney. Earlier this month, she teamed up with a friend to launch a campaign called “#VERIFYBLACK” that has garnered more than 7,000 signatures. The petition seeks to get social media platforms to identify Black-owned businesses more clearly.

Brands such as Carol’s Daughter and SheaMoisture would not qualify as Black-owned businesses, she told Reuters.

Unilever and L’Oreal did not respond to requests for comment.

Procter & Gamble in 2018 acquired Walker & Co, the parent company of Bevel, a men’s grooming line, and Form Beauty, a women’s haircare line – both primarily for people of color. Walker & Co Vice President of Marketing Tia Cummings told Reuters that being part of P&G helped widen the availability of its products, making it easier for men and women to find and purchase them.

Dana Williams-Johnson, Instructor in the Howard University School of Business Marketing Department said companies “making money off of Black consumers should have leadership that reflects the consumers that purchase the brands.”

“How diverse are these company’s boards? How many Black people are at the top with a seat at the boardroom table? How much do all these brands truly value the Black dollar? Those will be the questions that need answers next,” she added. 

According to Black Enterprise magazine, 187 of the S&P 500 companies did not have a single Black member on their boards in 2019.

Haircare company Cantu Beauty faced such questions on Instagram this month, with some shoppers noting it was sold to PDC Brands in 2015 and declaring they would boycott the brand in favour of Black-owned businesses.

So the company hosted an Instagram livestream chat “with the people behind the brand” on June 12. “I want to pull back that curtain and let you guys see exactly what is going on behind the scenes,” Cantu Beauty’s Global Vice President Dametria Mustin said during the livestream.

PDC Brands did not respond to requests for comment.Synthea Hairston, 24, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania called Cantu her “number 1” brand for many years. But she refuses to shop the brand again.

“Now my conscious is eating at me… I will literally be keeping a list with me at all times to make sure what I’m picking up is Black-owned.”

Reporting and photo: Reuters


‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion: Four draws, countless winners, more to go



The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion, which launched with great fanfare on June 23, continues to captivate audiences across the nation with its promise of incredible prizes and adrenaline-pumping excitement. As Coca-Cola moves forward, the company has announced not one, but four draws that have rewarded lucky winners with exciting prizes!

The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion has been a huge success, with dozens of lucky winners taking home amazing prizes, such as Benelli motorbikes, helmets, and Charged drink cases. The promotion, which started on June 23, has been attracting customers from all over the Maldives, who have been enjoying the refreshing taste of Charged caffeinated beverage and the thrill of scratching their cards to reveal their codes.

So far, four draws have taken place, each one broadcasted live on Television Maldives (TVM) at 9:30pm. The winners of the Benelli motorbikes were Mohamed Adam, MD Musharraf, Mohamed Rasel Hossain and Ahmed Zahir who were ecstatic to receive their prizes and thanked Charged for making their dreams come true. The winners of the helmets and drink cases were also delighted with their rewards and encouraged others to join the promotion.

But don’t worry if you haven’t won yet, because there are still more chances to win! The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion is not over yet. That means you still have time to grab your favourite Charged drink, scratch your card, and send your code to 2626 via SMS.

As the exciting journey continues, there are two main draws left in this thrilling event, scheduled for September 24 and October 20. You could be the next lucky winner of a Benelli Leoncino 250 motorbike! But the excitement doesn’t stop there; be sure to keep an eye out for the daily draws, with winners announced regularly on the @ChargedMaldives Instagram page. You could stand a chance to win a Charged branded helmet, or a Charged drink case.

Charged, a ground-breaking addition to Coca-Cola Maldives’ beverage portfolio, is available in 250 ml, in 100% recyclable aluminium cans, in line with our packaging strategy to use 100% recyclable packaging material. The caffeinated beverage is now widely available at major retail outlets, hotels, restaurants, and cafes throughout the Maldives.

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JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La unveils Oro’s 100% Arabica Rose Coffee



JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La has introduced a special coffee to their collection – Oro’s 100% Arabica Rose Coffee. This latest addition to the menu of Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go aims to provide coffee lovers with the unique and delicate taste of Oro’s Arabica Rose.

The hotel was alive with excitement on Thursday evening with the launch of Oro’s 100% Arabica rose. Media personnel and coffee enthusiasts were treated to an exclusive tasting experience of freshly brewed Arabica Rose Coffee along with some tasty finger foods.

The highlight of the evening was a lucky draw giveaway, extending an invitation for all the guests to participate and win a Skechers Maldives voucher and coffee voucher from Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go.

Oro’s Arabica Rose Coffee is now available at Jen’s Kitchen on-the-go. It is the perfect spot to refuel with coffee, tea, freshly squeezed juices, or a light bite. Customers can now enroll to become a Shangri-La Circle Member and earn points with every purchase at Jen’s Kitchen On- the-Go and enjoy the rewards at Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts worldwide.

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Master Baker Steven to conduct IREKS Baking Art & Science training in Maldives



The return of IREKS Master Baker to the Maldives brings exciting news for the local baking community.

Kuala Lumpur-based Master Baker – Chef Steven Selvamuthu, will be conducting pro-bono culinary demonstrations and extensive training sessions from 19th August to 7th September, 2023. Bakers and Pastry Chefs in resorts and HORECA institutions can look forward to enhancing their skills and knowledge under his guidance.

Steven’s expertise in pastries, acquired through training in Gelato University in Italy and a Chocolate Master program in Switzerland, has been instrumental in providing the best solutions to IREKS’ customers in the Maldives.

IREKS, the renowned German company, is a global player in the industry, celebrated for their expertise in developing innovative baking ingredients and catering to the preferences of the health-conscious and quality-driven generation. IREKS provides high-quality bakery flour and ingredients, including baking improvers, specialty bread mixes, gluten-free mixes, vegan mixes, and confectionary mixes. With a growing awareness of the impact of food production on people and the environment, IREKS offers a diverse range of organic baking improvers and mixes for the efficient production of various organic quality baked goods. They exclusively source raw materials from controlled organic cultivation.

In addition to its range of flour mixes focused on multiple baking needs, IREKS also offers a wide “Free-from” range, accommodating various dietary preferences such as lactose-free, palm oil-free, additive-free, egg-free, sugar-free, or vegan options.

In particular, IREKS has been providing a comprehensive Gluten-Free range since 1995. Gluten, a protein that provides structure, is essential for making grains bakeable, and it would be a challenge to bake without its presence. At the same time, gluten-free baked goods are growing in demand – even from those who do not suffer from medical conditions (e.g.: celiac disease). In order to meet the high safety requirements in this specialised production process, gluten-free ingredients are carefully and meticulously selected and processed at IREKS’s state-of-the-art facilities in Germany.

So, this powerhouse of the baking profession, Master Baker Steven, will share his vast expertise with the resort bakers’ community during these demonstration sessions. Should you wish to participate in a training session, please contact Bestbuy Maldives.

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