We’ve all been there – browsing through the tempting ‘penny sale’ section and wondering whether we’ve hit the noni juice jackpot CBD oil has taken hold of the United Kingdom and it’s not showing signs of loosening its grip any time soon. The number of people using CBD oil for its health Shopping for the best CBD brands? Head to Holland & Barrett, the first major retailer to bring CBD to the high street – and they’re in their famous Penny sale too.
Are Holland and Barrett CBD Products Any Good? A Critical Review
We’ve all been there – browsing through the tempting ‘penny sale’ section and wondering whether we’ve hit the noni juice jackpot. You may even find some Holland and Barrett CBD products on promotion for prices that seem too good to be true. As we know, appearances can sometimes be deceiving. We’re digging up dirt on some controversial high street CBD products in this critical review and offering you an alternative curated model for a safer shopping experience. Prepare for some ethical issues, contamination reports, and fresh insights!
It’s helpful for us to place Holland and Barrett within a much broader mass-market movement – full of choices (and often hidden compromises). If you live in a developed country, it is highly likely that you already participate in the mass-market to some degree: whether it’s through picking up groceries from Asda, shopping for clothes in H&M, or buying furniture from IKEA . These types of stores often represent a substantial proportion of the markets they operate within by offering a wide variety of products at competitive prices. They also capitalise on “brand comfort” by encouraging customers to perceive them as trustworthy, convenient, and familiar sources.
Expectations vs Reality
We don’t expect any surprises when we’re shopping with mass-market outlets – just the same standardised experience. A McDonald’s burger tastes the same whether you’re in London, England, or London, Ontario. Some of us may feel empowered at the supermarket because we have 100 different versions of the same toothpaste to choose from. However, it’s also possible that some mass-market companies may use their economic influence to exploit consumers: selling dodgy products with inaccurate labels and potentially hazardous ingredients. As a result, this model has faced heavy criticism in a modern world where consumer conscience, environmental impact, ethics, and quality are increasingly important.
Can You Mass-Produce “Wellness”?
While companies such as Holland and Barrett industrially produce and sell “wellness” products like CBD oil on a mass scale, many of us approach personal health as an intimate and multi-faceted topic that demands special care. You could argue that mass-produced products may contradict the values that many of us hold dear regarding our wellbeing. Of course, health is not something you can buy in a bottle – despite what many leading retailers might suggest. In this article, we’ll be reviewing some of the reasons why you should avoid high street CBD products and access top-shelf CBD brands through niche platforms instead. First, let’s consider the background and popularity of stores such as Holland and Barrett.
The History of The Health Food Market
As we know, home farms have persisted throughout history as a way for people to survive independently by growing crops and raising animals to meet their dietary and economic needs. In the 16th century , British townspeople seeking natural wellness products often went to the local ‘apothecary’ – an advanced folk practitioner whose main tools were herbs, plants, spices, and alcohol. Within this tradition, people could experience relief from various health symptoms and engage with trusted local experts.
As far as marketing is concerned, we can trace ‘health foods’ back to the 1920s – a period that was otherwise known for its extravagant parties and wild alcohol consumption. During this time, health food stores began to emerge throughout the USA and the UK, and initially offered natural sugar products such as honey and molasses. By the 1960s, public demand for these stores surged considerably due to the rising popularity of alternative lifestyles. Since plant-based lifestyles and planet-conscious shopping remain at the forefront of our current priorities, health food stores remain highly trendy even in the modern world. As a testament to this, paparazzi often snap pictures of Hollywood celebrities touting grocery bags from American stores like Whole Foods. Now, let’s redirect our attention to the British market by appreciating Holland and Barrett’s history.
The Holland and Barrett Story
Founded in 1870s Britain by Major William Holland and Alfred Slapps Barrett, Holland and Barrett began as a small store in Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London. Initially, it provided clothes and groceries without any particular emphasis on ‘health’ products. So how did it grow into a £1.8 billion franchise with the slogan: “health foods and natural remedies”?
Today, Holland and Barrett is one of the most influential global health food chains. Its decision to start selling CBD products in 2018 was instrumental in bringing legal cannabis extracts to the mainstream marketplace. Perhaps this can be traced back to the early 20th century, when Holland and Barrett decided to expand their humble grocery section. After the business established an additional retail space in Epsom (home of the world-famous Epsom salts), Holland and Barrett representatives later sold the business to prospectors in the 1920s. A series of shifts took place as the company evolved into a global network full of affordable ‘health food’ items such as supplements and low-calorie snacks.
Did you know that Lloyds Pharmacy once owned Holland and Barrett ? This temporary arrangement took place in the 1990s and may potentially be a factor that propelled Holland and Barrett into a more wellness-conscious territory. However, there is a big difference between pharmacies and ‘health food’ retailers. As we know, pharmacies are responsible for supplying customers with licenced drugs and medical products that may either be purchased over the counter or prescribed by professional doctors. On the other hand, ‘health food’ stores are retailers who stock nutritional supplements, whole foods, and specialised products marketed towards people with dietary restrictions.
After Lloyds Pharmacy’s five-year run with Holland and Barrett , NBTY, and The Carlyle Group eventually purchased the health food brand. Today, the once-quintessentially British wellness company has transformed dramatically. L1 Retail – a corporation tied to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman – calls the shots. With over 9,000 products sold in 1,300 stores throughout the UK, Europe and Asia, Holland and Barrett is truly a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, as with many large forces, numerous scandals have arisen around them – calling the brand’s integrity into question.
Holland and Barrett : Home of Discount Codes and Unpaid Staff?
For a brief time, Holland and Barrett was part of the highly controversial workfare scheme. This alternative welfare system drives vulnerable people to work in order to ‘earn’ the social benefits they qualify for, rather than compensating them with the standard minimum wage. Supporters argue it is a well-intentioned method of helping disadvantaged people transition into the job market, while critics say it is a form of ‘slave labour’. Could Holland and Barrett have offered us popular discount codes at the expense of looking after their staff?
Understandably, companies can save a lot of money and avoid extra responsibilities with ‘volunteer’ jobseekers, but it presents a vast ethics issue. In Britain, Holland and Barrett stores used approximately 1,000 unpaid workers between 2011 and 2012. These temporary recruitment preferences triggered an enormous outcry – climaxing in dramatic and violent protests , as people displayed banners reading: “If you exploit us, we will shut you down.” In response, the company discreetly backed out of the workfare scheme but still opted to advertise apprenticeships compensated at roughly £2.50 per hour.
Further Problems In-Store During the Pandemic
In April of 2020, the BBC reported another Holland and Barrett controversy – this time regarding the company’s decision to remain open during times of lockdown. Due to its stock list of gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan products, the government did not force it to shut its doors. However, thousands of staff members felt the shops were ill-equipped to support new health and safety measures. Despite growing concerns and staff petitions, Holland and Barrett conducted business in-store instead of transitioning to online sales. This decision upset many people, and it may tie in with broader criticisms about mass-market interests.
As we’ve reviewed, Holland and Barrett began as a small, local business (a niche market) run by health food enthusiasts and later morphed into a dominating brand (mass-market) that has faced some criticism regarding its ethics. Before we go on to assess CBD products from Holland and Barrett’s own-brand line, let’s weigh up the pros and cons of niche markets and mass-markets.
Niche Market vs Mass-Market
In business terms, a niche market is all about quality over quantity. It’s a relatively small and highly selective market that offers a range of products or services dealing with a specific theme or issue. Here’s a simple example: if a supermarket represents a mass-market, then an independent bakery represents a niche market. You wouldn’t shop there for random products or general supplies, but if you enjoyed the recipe and trusted the brand, you would make a point of buying your bread there.
While cheaper, factory-made goods may be available at the supermarket, niche markets are devoted to the best practices and high-quality output. Since the consequences of eating defective goods can involve allergic reactions, illness, and even more severe incidents, isn’t it worth purchasing wellness products from reliable brands that can demonstrate their expertise?
Underrated Benefits of the Niche Market
One of the primary challenges associated with the niche market is its pricing. Often, niche markets launch on a local scale before negotiating and striking more competitive deals with international suppliers. Typically, their initial running costs are high. However, their commitment to quality means that they avoid cheap or faulty ingredients. Unlike vast corporations, niche markets may not have access to advanced legal representation. As a result, they may be less likely to exploit system loopholes or ‘hoodwink’ customers with counterfeit products.
Niche markets often require more of an upfront financial investment from customers in the short-term, but you can expect long-term benefits such as:
- Access to advanced expertise and specialised product knowledge
- Genuine customer care and relationship building
- Being part of a like-minded community
- A quality over quantity approach
- Rigorously tested and high-end products
- A culture that places value on environmental and ethical impact
Misleading ‘Benefits’ of the Mass-Market
While niche markets speak to our consciences, mass-markets often talk to our wallets. Hard financial times can drive us to seek out the cheapest options available, without adequately considering the quality of our products. As the old saying goes: “you get what you pay for.” Mass-market retailers can often offer very competitive rates, since they have an extensive and broad range of industry contacts and products. But cheaper isn’t always better. Sometimes, low prices may indicate that companies have made compromises regarding their ingredients, sourcing methods, and ethics. Potentially, this might even be associated with consumption risks in the case of edible products.
While there are some cheap, short-term options available through the mass-market, you may also have to deal with inconveniences such as:
- A generalised knowledge base that may not support your specific queries
- Limited customer care and poor relationship building
- Feeling less connected with a particular community
- A ‘quantity over quality’ approach
- Unclear standards and inconclusive product guidelines
- A culture that places value on making as much money as possible
Now that we’ve addressed the pros and cons of different market styles, let’s look at some industrial challenges related to CBD products.
What is CBD? – A Quick Reminder
CBD (cannabidiol) has taken the UK marketplace by storm over the past few years and shows no signs of stopping! According to recent research from the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) , British CBD oil users often purchase cannabis-derived products equivalent to the monthly sum of an average electricity bill (£58). While electricity powers our homes, CBD is a natural substance that has sparked considerable intrigue due to its potential wellbeing benefits.
Potential CBD Benefits
Many anecdotal reports suggest that CBD may possibly influence how we experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms connected with common ailments. Studies indicate that this natural extract might potentially be of benefit if you’re facing symptoms of pain, inflammation, and sleep disturbances. Interestingly, CBD use is particularly trending among young and middle-aged audiences – as the Statista infographic below illustrates:
If you’d like to learn more, we have an entire article exploring the possible reasons why people are gravitating towards CBD like never before.
Popular CBD Products
CBD, sometimes known as the “calm compound”, is a prevalent cannabinoid (cannabis molecule) that manufacturers source from hemp plants. As an extract, it is slightly oily – which makes it suitable for combining with base oils and infusing into a wide variety of products.
Holland and Barrett CBD: Should You Buy? The Pros & Cons (2022)
CBD oil has taken hold of the United Kingdom and it’s not showing signs of loosening its grip any time soon. The number of people using CBD oil for its health benefits doubled from 2017 to 2018, and the more aware people become of CBD products, the more the popularity of CBD oils grows. One reason for this uptick in consumer awareness is that CBD products are sold on the high street. Holland and Barrett (a popular high street health store), in particular, introduced CBD oil in January of 2018 (Jacob Hooy CBD oil). Sadly, their CBD oil is very disappointing. Here’s our Holland and Barrett CBD oil review (updated for 2022).
Holland and Barrett CBD oil
Jacob Hooy CBD+
We know as well as anyone that the popularity of a product has nothing to do with its quality.
People intuitively trust Holland and Barrett because of the name recognition, but that doesn’t mean the CBD products sold are the best in the market. Even with many alternative CBD sellers, people still choose Holland and Barrett. Because of this, our team believes they are worth looking into a bit deeper.
Let’s see if the CBD brand sold at high street store Holland and Barrett live up to what CBD products should be.
Running short of time?
No time to read our full review for Jacob Hooy CBD at Holland & Barrett? Here’s our verdict: AVOID! The CBD oil from Holland & Barrett is extremely weak, ineffective and a waste of your money. If you’re looking for the best CBD oil in the UK, we recommend Blessed CBD.
Jacob Hooy CBD Oil Review
Jacob Hooy is a popular Dutch CBD brand sold at Holland and Barrett that deserves a closer look.
Founded in 1743, this family-operated company is a very well-known brand. Its name alone makes it trustworthy for many people.
Jacob Hooy CBD oil is made using the seeds of the hemp plant. A superfood in its own right, hempseed oil is regularly used as a health food supplement and contains minerals, vitamins, amino acids, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids, and linoleic acid.
Here are the prices of their oils:
- 10ml: 2.75% strength: £19.99
- 30ml: 2.75% strength: £39.99
- 10ml: 5% strength: £29.99
- 30ml: 5% strength: £59.99
We’re genuinely disappointed (and shocked) with Jacob Hooy’s “CBD” oil sold at Holland and Barrett. And we’ll tell you why shortly.
First, let’s go over the positives with Holland & Barrett’s CBD oil.
Why Choose Holland & Barrett CBD?
Lab-tested to ensure legal THC limit
There are no problems when it comes to testing. Jacob Hooy regularly tests its oil to make sure it’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels are less than 0.05%, far less than the legal limit.
Sadly, that’s all the praise we have for Jacob Hooy’s CBD oil sold at Holland and Barrett.
Let’s talk about the problems.
What Could Be Better?
Vague on the details
The first thing that really caught our team by surprise is the amount of vagueness surrounding this product. The website and the labelling tells you very little about what you’re putting inside of your body, as well as having a very small CBD range.
The wording used is CBD+ oil. Most people probably take this to mean that there is more than just the CBD cannabinoid present in the oil. Even if you read it another way, the point is there’s just no way to tell because no other cannabinoid is listed or even mentioned elsewhere.
Another area of interest is the use of hemp seed oil as the source of CBD. Hemp seeds don’t contain a ton of cannabinoids, especially cannabidiol. If this is where the CBD is coming from, you’re not getting much in terms of CBD. In fact, you’re wasting your money.
The 2.75% CBD oil from Jacob Hooy did not even register for anyone on our team. Some people didn’t bother using the oil at all because it was that weak. The ones that did use it had to double or triple their daily dosage to feel anything. The 5% 30ml bottle should have lasted for much longer than it did, but expect it to last two weeks or less.
The short amount of time the bottle lasts makes the price seem far from being a good deal.
In our opinion, it takes way too long to feel anything (if anything at all).
Holland and Barrett are selling a CBD oil that is safe and semi-effective, but there are far better brands on the UK market to consider instead.
The vagueness, low level of an active substance, poor effectiveness and lack of strength in this oil should be a problem to a store the public has trusted with their well-being.
Why Choose Blessed CBD?
Transparency leads to buyer confidence
One of the most upsetting things following the legalization of CBD was a lack of information. Brands knew there were no laws in place and they could claim just about anything when it came to the quality and concentration of their oils.
At Blessed CBD, they do things differently.
Blessed CBD lets you know where the hemp they use comes from, the methods and the exact ingredients you are ingesting. There is no reason to wonder if products are safe, if they are legal or if they are organic. That information is right on the label and site.
The more information customers have, the better.
Their goal is to have each person who buys Blessed CBD oil to be able to purchase it with confidence that they are spending their money on the right product.
CBD means something more
Blessed CBD didn’t take entering the CBD business lightly, but knew that their dedication and commitment to CBD oil demanded to spread the right information to the public.
The family behind Blessed has had a lot of success themselves using CBD oil for various conditions, and have faith in their product to improve long-term health.
Blessed CBD clearly looks to natural products for relief; the family not only avoids synthetic medications, but also synthetic ingredients in their CBD oil.
The best farming practices are used to maintain the quality of the hemp and there are no additives, preservatives or flavours added. What you’re getting is 100% natural.
The hemp used is grown in one of the best places on earth: Colorado. These farms adhere to the strictest rules and regulations, resulting in hemp oil that has high cannabinoid profiles and no pesticides or herbicides.
The company also uses the safest methods of extraction that maintain the integrity of the CBD and gets it into your bloodstream fast for highly effective relief.
We regret to say this, but the Jacob Hooy CBD oil from Holland & Barrett must be avoided. If you’re looking for a premium, reliable and effective CBD oil, we highly suggest buying from Blessed CBD.
Everyone here at Quitnet uses the innovative products from Blessed CBD on a daily basis, and we cannot recommend them enough.
5 favourite CBD brands at Holland & Barrett you need to know about
July 28, 2021 – 10:04 BST Carla Challis Shopping for the best CBD brands? Head to Holland & Barrett, the first major retailer to bring CBD to the high street – and they’re in their famous Penny sale too.
CBD is the hottest ingredient of the moment, but it can be a minefield if you’re a first timer, trying to find the best CBD products and brands for you and your needs. That’s where Holland & Barrett comes in.
As the first major retailer to bring high-quality CBD products to the high street, Holland & Barrett is home to some of the widest range of innovative CBD products and is the one place to head to if you have a question or two about choosing CBD.
But the best news? Many of their CBD products (and other ranges) are now available in the famous Holland & Barrett Penny Sale! Simply buy two products and receive the cheapest for a penny.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a non-addictive food supplement sourced from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. Praised by wellness experts and influencers, high-quality CBD products run no risk of you getting ‘high’ when using it – something people are often concerned about.
Every line of CBD that Holland & Barrett carries is packed with quality CBD, and has the THC, the psychoactive element, carefully controlled. Holland & Barrett only sells CBD that meets its highest standards for purity, quality, and safety as backed by leading trade associations and expert laboratories (the HFMA, EIHA and FERA Science).
Which CBD strength is for me?
All CBD products state their strengths on the packaging – sometimes it’s in percentage, sometimes it’s shown in milligrams. Head to the Holland & Barrett Health Hub or ask an Holland & Barrett colleague if you’re in the shop to help understand the guidelines, and work out the best choice for you.
Holland & Barrett experts recommend starting with a lower level and building up to the recommended daily dosage.
What are the best CBD products?
Traditionally taken in oil form, the CBD range is also available in a variety of forms to suit your lifestyle, from gummies to foot creams, pillow sprays, body balms and even tea bags!
5 favourite CBD brands
Grass & Co
New to Holland & Barrett, Grass & Go brings a range formulated with vitamins and botanicals to support your daily wellness, from bone and muscle health to mental performance. The Rest CBD Oil has been fortified with vitamin B2, B5, B12, lavender and hops to help reduce tiredness and fatigue and support the nervous system, too.
Rest CBD Oil, £39.49, Holland & Barrett
Also new to Holland & Barrett, Vitabiotics has been produced with certified CBD from Brains Bioceutical, a global leader in CBD. Formulations have been designed to increase advanced absorption and are suitable for vegetarians. This new CBD oil plus Vitamin D is formulated to support your immunity and maintain bone health.
Vitabiotics Brains CBD 500mg, £33.95, Holland & Barrett
New and exclusive, Reakiro lemon and apple flavoured gummies are a tasty and convenient way to take CBD on the go. Tracing CBD from source to sale, this brand focuses on quality and innovation for the best hemp products. All of their products, including oils, capsules and sprays, are vigorously tested for impurities and toxins, and are gluten-free.
Reakiro gummies, £29.99, Holland & Barrett
Holland & Barrett’s heritage brand partner, Jacob Hooy, has been trading for over 270 years and even been awarded the title of Purveyor to the Royal Household. Suitable for vegans, Jacob Hooy controls the entire manufacturing process, from seed to shelf, to ensure fully-traceable, high quality full spectrum CBD.
Choose from CBD Oil, Capsules, Hand Cream, Foot Cream, Skin Oil, Serum, Mask & Tea Bags – you will find something to suit you whatever your need.
Jacob Hooy CBD Oil, £59.99, Holland & Barrett
For flavoured CBD, try Love Hemp. They offer naturally great tasting flavoured sprays and oils in orange, peppermint and raspberry, in various strengths. You can also find unflavoured capsules and sprays, with the range 100% traceable from source, and double batch tested.
Love Hemp CBD Spray Raspberry, £29.99, Holland & Barrett
New Products include, Grass & Co, Vitabiotics and Reakiro gummies. Penny Sale Ends 24/08/21, selected items, cheapest item 1p, subject to availability. Participating stores. 18+ Only. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet. Always read the label.