Whole Foods’ first ‘Beauty Swap’ promotes clean body care products


Whole Foods is hosting its first-ever Whole Foods Market Better Beauty Swap on March 30 to help shoppers clean up their beauty routines, the company announced in a press release.  The first 200 consumers in select New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles stores to bring in an empty beauty or body care product can exchange it for a free Whole Foods Market Beauty Bag full of clean beauty products valued at more than $100. The limited-edition gift bags will be sold for $20 in store for those who miss the Swap.  During Whole Foods’ annual Beauty Week sale, the event will take place, which runs from March 27 to April 2, where beauty products are 25% off in-store, with an extra 10% off for Prime members.

Dive Insight: Consumers are paying more attention to labels than ever — and that’s not limited to groceries. The clean beauty movement is gaining momentum, but as the trend grows, many shoppers are still uncertain about the contents of the products they see. Whole Foods’ consumer research shows that one-third (33%) of consumers don’t understand the ingredients commonly found in beauty products, and more than half (59%) don’t read labels at all.  Whole Foods is aiming to change that through strict body care requirements for all the products it carries. Like the company’s standards for organic foods, Whole Foods has created a special Premium Body Care logo for products that meet its quality sourcing, environmental impact, and safety standards.

clean body care products

The company lists more than 100 ingredients that are unacceptable for its line and commonly found in body care products, such as parabens, microbeads, and triclosan. The Beauty Swap is an opportunity for Whole Foods to position itself as a clean beauty leader by educating shoppers during the event.  Giving customers a bundle of free products is also likely to reinforce customer loyalty among shoppers and win new repeat customers who weren’t aware of Whole Foods’ beauty offerings. Whole Foods isn’t the only retailer taking a stand on clean beauty.

Target’s chemical strategy aims to promote full ingredient transparency and a ban on phthalates, formaldehyde, and other ingredients in its beauty, baby, and personal care items by 2020. CVS plans to remove all potentially toxic ingredients from its in-house personal and baby care brands by the end of this year. The Beauty Swap comes on the heels of news that Amazon has launched its first skincare line. The collection, called Belie, features 12 skincare products free of parabens, fragrance, and many of the ingredients on Whole Foods’ taboo list. The products all retail for less than $40 and are available with free, two-day shipping for Prime Members.

According to eMarketer, health and beauty was the third-fastest growing category on Amazon in 2018, reaching $16 billion in total health, personal care, and beauty product sales (up 37.9% from 2017). Amazon also has plans to emphasize the beauty aisle in its newly announced grocery stores, the Wall Street Journal reported.  Whole Foods offered clean beauty products well before Amazon acquired it. Still, Amazon’s recent emphasis on the category at Whole Foods (with extra Prime discounts) and online demonstrates just how important it is. It will be across Amazon entities in the future.