While health and beauty have always gone hand in hand, Maren Giuliano, executive global Whole Body coordinator at Whole Foods Market, is looking to drive more consumers to the brand’s beauty aisle, otherwise known as Whole Body.
“Out of all the areas in Whole Foods Market, Whole Body was the least evolved,” said Giuliano. “This last year we’ve done a lot of in-store printing materials and we had our first-ever beauty week, where we had all kinds of events in-store. It was a time where we were even rethinking about how to re-merchandise. We have the product mix, it’s the presentation that we struggle with in beauty.”
With the heart of a hippie, Giuliano titled her WWD Beauty Summit presentation, Peace, Love & Beauty at Whole Foods Market. Having been at Whole Foods since 1997 in various roles, Giuliano spoke about how the Whole Body department has evolved and what’s next for the company.
According to Giuliano, personal care and beauty in Whole Foods is going up. “One of the biggest categories for us in that space is aromatherapy,” said Giuliano. “It’s way over growth, but we’re seeing good growth across all personal care and cosmetics.”
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To that end, Whole Foods has a baseline standard in the beauty category. Brands can’t come in if its products contains one or more of the 50 ingredients they have banned.
“In 2008, we decided to raise the bar on body-care standards and created an internal certification called Premium,” noted Giuliano. “Premium is really a desire to motivate our supplier community to find ways to improve the ingredients in personal-care and beauty products. In Premium we do not allow more than 400 ingredients. The philosophy is that it’s as close to natural as possible, needs to be environmentally friendly, safe, and it needs to work. Also, we don’t allow a product to use the word organic. Either it’s 100-percent organic or contains organic ingredients.”
Meanwhile, the core shopper in the Whole Foods beauty aisle buys all of her products in the Whole Foods channel, including cleaning supplies; she eats all-organic, reads labels, understands labels and comes in knowing what she’s looking for, and asks a lot of questions.
“Ingredients matter and our customer is letting us know that,” added Giuliano. “Simplicity and transparency, these are two attributes in what’s really reflective of what we’re selling. Our top sellers continue to be the items that have less than three ingredients. Plain coconut oil is one of our best sellers.”
So what’s next for Whole Body?
“I really believe that consciousness is expanding, awareness is expanding and we’re never going to go back to people wanting more toxic ingredients and wanting more chemicals,” said Giuliano. “There’s no shortage of natural products, our challenge is more curating that mix. Natural beauty is on the rise and I think we’re at this tipping point where it will become the new norm. “