As we’ve discussed in other blog posts, one of the challenges in working with natural products is the variation. Usually, this has to do with slight differences in color and scent due to growing conditions that may be similar but are never exactly the same.
Another factor we encounter with natural products is global supply shortages. Our first encounter with this was a typhoon that knocked out much of the coconut harvest from our supplier about 10-11 years ago. At the time, we were a 3-person business and never expected to face problems due to weather on the other side of the globe.
Well, a situation has reared again. There is currently a severe supply problem with organic annatto seed, making it impossible to source on a reliable basis. As a result of this global supply shortage, we are replacing the organic annatto seed we use with conventional annatto seed and are using new suppliers.
The bars on our website that use annatto seed are Citrus Lavender and Lemongrass Tea. We have changed our website references and soap ingredient listings to reflect this change. We have also updated the ingredients labels we sell. Even better, we’ve coordinated the label change to coincide with the timing of the actual change in the bars. If your ingredient labels have an asterisk next to annatto seed, this is because the bars we sold were made before the change. (NOTE: This change has no significant impact on the percent of organic ingredients in either of these bars. Both are still 85% organic.)
If you are a custom soap (contract manufacturing) client, we have likely already contacted you. If that connection was not made yet, you’ll hear from us soon about developing a plan for your bars.
This affects your product in two ways.
First, there may be color variation within your orange bars. We run test batches with every new lot of annatto seed we receive, and we make adjustments to standardize the color. But sometimes, a particular supply is just a different orange. Please expect some natural product variability.
Second, you’ll need to update your labels and ingredients language to account for the transition.
We don’t foresee reversing our change and returning to organic annatto seed in the near future. We recommend all customers using our recipe listings update their product descriptions, ingredient lists, and labels.