Organic and natural beauty sales up 13%, but "greenwashing" a growing concern

The Soil Association's new Organic Beauty & Wellbeing Market Report 2021 recorded a 13% growth in sales of certified organic and natural products, meaning the market is now in its 10th year of growth.

Half of consumers said the pandemic made them more likely to buy organic beauty and wellbeing products.  

The results were revealed during the Beauty & Wellbeing Insight webinar, hosted by Sallie Berkerey, managing director at CEW UK, and featuring a conversation between Camilla Kay, beauty director at Glamour and Fiona Campbell, senior Business development manager at the Soil Association. 

“It was an event that none of us have never lived through before, a moment for reflection,” said Kay. “Living in London, the air quality improved as traffic stopped, and I spent more in my garden and appreciated nature. This past year has led to a conscious consumerism movement and consumers are questioning if they need so many beauty products.”

The report found that one in six consumers now buy organic and natural products, and 28% of those are aged 16-24, the largest age group buying into the market. Meanwhile, only 9% of those aged 50-plus are buying organic beauty and wellbeing products.

The shift to organic and sustainable beauty has also been accelerated by online shopping, according to the report, with 28% of consumers saying the move to online shopping made them want to buy organic products.

Half of consumers want to buy beauty and wellbeing products that are better for the environment, with 41% stating that waste packaging is the number one reason beauty and wellbeing products are bad for the planet. 45% agree that organic and beauty products are better for the environment, and 56% think beauty and wellbeing brands should do more to reduce their impact on the environment.  

Additionally, almost a quarter of consumers expected to find no controversial ingredients in their products. 49% of consumers are worried that beauty and wellbeing brands are greenwashing their environmental credentials – 2 in 5 don’t trust marketing claims on beauty and wellbeing products. Greenwashing is apparent amongst consumers, so accreditation is important to show consumers that their values are aligned with their customers. 

Find out more on the beauty trends set to be big in 2021.