Special Report: EU threat spotlights perfume makers' secrets
(Reuters) - Luxury perfume brands fear the European Union is about to introduce measures that could cripple the $25 billion global industry in the name of protecting consumers against allergies. New laws could severely curb or ban natural ingredients used in vintage best-sellers and put some perfume makers out of business.
But Brussels' proposed legislation - a draft will be unveiled early next year - is also causing a stir for another reason. It sheds light on the best-kept secret in the trade: many big brands have been tweaking their formulas for years.
"It is a taboo in the industry. People are scared to say anything about it," says Fflur Roberts, head of luxury goods at market research company Euromonitor.
Until now, changes to perfume formulas have come as a result of increasingly severe restrictions imposed by the industry's self-regulatory body, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), though ingredient shortages or cost-cutting have also played a part.