Soil Association member numbers rise despite falling sales

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Organic certification

The Soil Association says that the number of heath and beauty licensees increased by 16 per cent in 2010, despite the fact that sales of certified organic products in the UK fell significantly.

The natural and green standards body says that the value of sales for its licensees represented £19.5m (€22.0m), which accounts for an eightfold increase in just five years.

Likewise, it also represented a significant slice of total organic certified health and beauty sales in the country last year – estimated to have reached a total value of £27.7m in 2010.

However, continuing tough economic conditions in the country, and a more price-sensitive UK consumer has led to many individuals avoiding natural and organic certified beauty products in favour of less expensive masstige, mass market or private label products.

Licencees sales rise, while UK organic sales fall

This trend meant that, despite the Soil Association continuing to increase the number of licensees in the UK, the actual value of organic certified health and beauty purchases fell by 27 per cent during the course of 2010.

The Soil Association also pointed out that the discrepancy between UK sales and the value of its licensee sales was also accounted for by the fact that it managed to secure three new licensees in 2010, combined with a jump in the number of overseas certified products.

However, it was not all doom and gloom in the UK market. The leading UK brand for organic health and beauty products, Neals Yard Remedies, managed to increase its sales by 10 per cent during the course of 2010.

Neals Yard shines in an otherwise gloomy UK market

The growth in the company’s sales was attributed to extensions to its leading Frankincense range, as well as new store openings throughout the UK and in Tokyo, Japan.

Overseas, the body said that its US-based licensee Sophyto also registered strong growth. The skin care specialist formed a major partnership with Walmart in 2010, which saw its products stocked in 150 Sam’s Club stores throughout the nation, in turn helping to drive significant sales growth.

Likewise, two UK-based licensees, Yet Pure Intimacy and For Essential Care, also reported a significant rise in sales of its products overseas, while another member, Spiezia, said that online sales had grown to account for more than half of its total sales in 2010.

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