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Case Study #1 - Avalon Organics

Avalon OrganicsWhat comes to mind when you purchase a product labeled “Organic”? Do you think purity? Natural? Perhaps awareness?

Sadly, the term Organic can mean many things – since the term itself is not federally mandated. As I began to prepare this post I did more reading about the term and definition of Organic, but do keep in mind, nowhere does Avalon Organics state they have Organic Certification. With that in mind, it doesn't seem important to provide the definition of what that means. Instead, this particular Case Study is about... Marketing.

Let's take a look.

Organic Case Study #1 - Avalon Organics
About Us 

It's in our name: Avalon Organics. We're dedicated to the expansion of organic agriculture and endeavor to select organic ingredients for our products to support the highest ideals of sustainable, organic agriculture, a cleaner environment and good health. Our devotion to Consciousness in Cosmetics defines an unwavering commitment: To create an extraordinary, unprecedented range of products that are inherently pure and safe while expanding the efficacy and vibrantly healthy benefits of natural body care. We honor you with Consciousness in Cosmetics. Take the time to honor yourself.

Did you read that paragraph closely? Consciousness in Cosmetics. That is an interesting term. Avalon goes on to explain Consciousness in Cosmetics is the guiding principle behind everything we do at Avalon Organics.

On May 8th, 2010 I sent Avalon Organics a message using the contact form on their website. This is the message I sent them:
I have seen a few of your products listed on allergy sites as "corn free" and was hoping I could obtain a list of your corn free products. I am interested in finding products that are 100% corn free, meaning the the source ingredients as well (i.e. corn free Vitamin E, citric acid, etc).

Do you have such a list of corn free products?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sharon Rosen

On May 10th, I received a reply – that became an inspiration to have Case Studies here on Live Corn Free.
Dear Ms. Rosen,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our Avalon Product. We strive to maintain the highest quality products and appreciate your patronage.

Our plant-based formulations come from a variety of sources and combinations of derivatives and we do not screen our products for traces of corn. Therefore, we cannot specifically guarantee that any of our products are corn-free.

Thank you for your continued support. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-434-4246, Monday through Friday from 7AM - 5PM Mountain Time.


Consumer Relations Representative

Ref # 2068992

Now, go back and re-read the first paragraph from the "About Us" section. Do you see the phrase "pure and safe"? Now re-read their message to me.

I am posting this as a discussion topic. Rather than tell you my thoughts, I want to hear yours. As a consumer, how does this make you feel? Is this a brand you trust, or did you trust them before? Would you trust them now?

I will leave you with this one thought of mine. If they don't know what's in their product, why would you trust them?


  1. I've become so frustrated wih so many manufacturers. They NEED to know what is in their product and when someone asks if there is a specific ingredient the smart thing for the company to do is answer truthfully!

  2. Sharon,

    Good Site. Thank you for the resource. I just figured out the source of my recurring sinus and gastrointestinal "issues". Staying away from corn has resolved all.

    You might want to include the following link as mandatory reading material. It's Princeton's study on HFCS, and all but scared my boyfriend and dad completely off the stuff.

  3. @Sarah,

    I was stunned to get that response, but it's not the first time. I'm having a great deal of difficulty getting a response from another company right now (called, sent in form, no reply yet).

    It's almost like companies are super helpful with allergen (and health) information, or they stonewall and act clueless. I don't quite understand that approach ;-) For the companies that carry products with my allergen - but clearly label it as such and provide info in their FAQ - I applaud them, and end up talking highly of them. I just can't use their products ;-)

    Avalon Organics though... this one made me stop and take notice. I don't want to bash them, but want to simply raise the question and get others to start thinking more about various marketing techniques that are used.

    It's amazing how much corn does to our bodies who are allergic! I will take a look at that article, thank you for sharing it!

  4. It is very frustrating. I emailed Burt's Bees a while back on what is in their "fragrance".. they emailed back that it was a trade secret and could not reveal what it was... I actually was surprised because they market themselves as only having pure natural ingredients.
    Instead of searching for what products are safe... I've starting to research how to make my own. I mean generations past made their own soap, shampoos, lotions... it can't be as hard or stress full as searching for acceptable products.

  5. Nancy, Burt's Bees did the exact same thing to me! In the form I stated I was inquiring due to food allergy too. This was regarding Tocopherol in their Lip Shimmer.

    After that response, I called them, and told them that it is not proprietary information to know a source ingredient and they are putting my health at risk by not telling me. Suddenly it was okay to tell me. The woman *immediately* told me it was from Corn.

    So, not only can I not use their products anymore, I will never, ever recommend them to anyone. I also used to give their products as gifts. Obviously, I won't do that either. I simply refuse to support them in any manner now.

    If I EVER get a response back from Full Circle foods about their "Naturally Derived Citric Acid" (in canned tomatoes) I will probably post about that too. I've submitted the form, and called.. and my request is out there in never never land. This is yet another organic company - who really do not know their own source ingredients.

  6. I had a similar situation occur with Scentsy not regarding corn but that I wanted to know every single ingredient in one of their scented waxes. They emailed me a 2 page report of blah blah blah but NO ingredients list. They couldn't tell me via email (their formal documentation) or over the phone. Shame Shame Shame!

    I know it's not a food product but it's another example of something similar to your topic.

  7. Jessica, that's okay if it's not corn related ;)

    What confuses me most is when companies do not know what is in their own products. Not declaring is bad practice. Not knowing, I don't even know what to call that!


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