The organic health and beauty sector delivered a standout performance in 2014 with UK sales of certified products reaching £44.6 million, up 20% year-on-year, according to the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report 2015.
Exports have also grown, according to the report, with export revenue topping £10 million for the first time. This growth has been particularly strong in Asian markets.
With increasing greenwashing in this sector, demand for reassurance through certification is also growing, and the number of companies employing the Soil Association symbol has risen to 204, up 51%, as “consumers look for the reassurance of organic certification in an unregulated market plagued by spurious organic claims”.
The report found that Neal’s Yard Remedies, the market leader in the health and beauty sector both internationally and in the UK, saw its organic sales increase by 12% in 2014. After opening a further ten stores, it now has 50 stores in the UK as well as 45 internationally.
The report also highlights Essential Care, which has rebranded as Odylique and whose exports are growing 50% year-on-year, and Pai Skincare which saw its sales double in 2014.
Consumer demands in this area are changing, according to the Soil Association, with customers looking for clinically proven results. “The leading organic brands are increasingly looking beyond the environmentally conscious core consumers that originally drove the market to appeal to a wider, less ideologically driven public looking for more natural products that work,” says the report.
The Soil Association report says that consumer education is at the core of the marketing strategies of the larger brands, citing Odylique and Pai as having information websites and Neal’s Yard Remedies helping raise awareness of the dangers of neonicotinoid pesticides.
A highlight of 2014 was the inaugural Organic Beauty Week which took place during Organic September and incorporated a range of events and product promotions which reached over four million people and helped deliver a tripling of week-on-week sales of organic beauty products during the week.