Report highlights dynamic growth for UK natural cosmetics industry

By Leah Armstrong

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Organic food Organic farming Uk Soil association

An Organic Market Report issued by the UK Soil Association has made special mention of the dynamic growth in organic health and beauty products in the UK, which increased by a third to £36m (€40.7m) last year.

The report, which was looking at the overall organic market, in which the food industry remains the largest, predicted a total modest growth of 5-6 percent in 2010. The report shows that the natural and organic market rose to a peak in 2008, when its total was £2.1m, but this fell to £1.8m in 2009.

Tough year for organic trading in 2009

This reduction in the market value reflects the economic recession, which Peter Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association said was the toughest economic climate that the organic sector had faced for 20 years. “Trading conditions have been very difficult for organic businesses,​” he said.

The report stated that despite the overall decline of nearly 13 percent in 2009, the organic beauty industry proved to be among the most resistant of the organic market sectors, ‘continuing to experience rapid growth’.

It also stated that there were clear signs for revival overall in the organic market, with 60 percent of the UK’s biggest organic brands planning for growth in 2010.

This growth in the UK is in line with broader international trends in the organic cosmetics industry. Market increases for organic cosmetics have been predicted in America, Europe and China, as previously reported on

The report points out that organic products continue to attract shoppers from across the social spectrum, with groups that include manual and casual workers, pensioners, students and people on benefits accounting for 33 percent of the spend. The Soil Association suggests therefore, that organic products are no longer considered luxuries that people cannot afford.

Climate change: not a hot consumer topic

A consumer poll conducted by the association showed the top reason for buying organic products was their ‘naturalness’ or ‘unprocessed’ nature, which received 40 percent of the total responses. Surprisingly perhaps, the ethical reasons of ‘more care in farming’ and ‘helping climate change’ proved to be minor motivations for the consumer.

Despite this, Mr Melchett emphasised the major contribution the organic farming sector could provide in achieving the aims of the Climate Change Act, which has aimed to cut UK emissions by 2030.

Organic farming continues to offer the best practical model for reducing emissions….We need to rekindle the kind of consumer demand that will make it ultimately impossible for policy makers, and retailers, to ignore’, ​he said.

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