Neal's Yard Remedies

Neal's Yard Remedies

Neal's Yard Remedies is a leading independent British retailer of organic natural health and beauty products. Founded in 1981 in Covent Garden, London, they have 40 stores across the UK.[1] They also have branches in Japan[2] and the USA.[3] In 2009 they launched their direct home-selling channel in the UK and US, and their organic beauty collections are available in Japan, UAE, Oman, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Greece, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Mexico, South Africa and Australia. They are the UK’s largest high street retailer of therapeutic herbs, and carry the largest range of certified organic health and beauty products.[4]



The first Neal's Yard Remedies shop opened in 1981 in a corner of Neal's Yard in Covent Garden. Romy Fraser, the founder, was interested in natural health and wellbeing and opened a shop that offered a wide selection of dried herbs, homoeopathic remedies, the UK’s first certified organic essential oils, Bach flower remedies, and an extensive range of toiletries based on herbs and essential oils packaged in their distinctive blue glass[5] bottles and jars.[6]

In 1985 a small factory was opened in South London to meet increasing demand. In 1986 they opened two new shops and they have continued to grow. They now have 40 shops, 64 Therapy Rooms and 400 stockists in the UK, including well-known department stores like John Lewis and Fenwicks, and can be found in branches of Boots and Waitrose. They have also expanded overseas, with outlets in Japan, US, UAE, Oman, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Greece, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Mexico, South Africa and Australia.

In 2005 Neal's Yard Remedies head office moved from South London to a new purpose-built eco-factory facility at Peacemarsh, near Gillingham, Dorset. That same year Romy Fraser sold the business to the Kindersley family[7], former publishers and owners of Sheepdrove organic farm, providing enough land to grow some of the herbs that are used in their products.[8]


1981 – Romy Fraser founds Neal's Yard Remedies in Neal’s Yard, a small corner of Covent Garden, London, with the aim to create more natural, less synthetic beauty and wellbeing

1988 – Published ‘Neal’s Yard Natural Remedies’ written by Susan Curtis, Romy Fraser and Irene Kohler.

1991 – First organic natural healthy and beauty products to be certified by the Soil Association

1991 - Published ‘Natural Healing For Women’ written by Susan Curtis and Romy Fraser

1993 - Entered into a Research program with the University of Westminster, under the stewardship of Pr Christine Evans, to examine the antimicrobial activity of over 80 essential oils. The research was completed in 1998, culminating in the publication of the ‘The Antimicrobial Properties of Essential Oils’ by Dr Pauline Hili[9]

1996 – Published ‘Essential Oils’ written by Susan Curtis

2002 – First company to achieve organic certification at the launch of the Soil Association’s new Health & Beauty Standards, with Rose & Almond Night Cream, Melissa Hand Cream and Yarrow Cleanser

2003 – Became approved under the BUAV’s (British Union Against Vivisection) Humane Cosmetic Standard

2005 – Head Office and production moved from London to the new purpose built eco-factory in Dorset

2005 – Awarded an Alternative Award in 2005 by the RSPCA for their ethical treatment of animals and a Golden Rabbit by the BUAV

2005 – The Kindersley family purchase Neal's Yard Remedies from Romy Fraser. The Kindersley’s having been co-owners of the world successful publishing company Dorling Kindersley, and owners of the renowned Sheepdrove Organic Farm in Berkshire

2006 – Win “Best Cruelty Free Skincare” in the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Proggy Awards

2007 – Romy Fraser, founder of Neal's Yard Remedies, awarded an OBE in recognition for services to the health and beauty industry[10][11]

2008 – First UK high-street retailer to be certified CarbonNeutral® by the Carbon Neutral Company[12]

2008 – Solar panels installed at the eco-factory in Dorset, in conjunction with Solarcentury, as part of the drive to reduce the company’s carbon footprint

2008 – Winner of the Outstanding Working Environment Award at the Dorset Business Awards[13]

2008 – Launch plastic bottles made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic[14]

2009 – Launch competition to find ‘The Face of Natural Beauty’ in conjunction with Marie Claire magazine[15]

2009 – One of the leading companies to achieve accreditation with the Fairtrade Foundation for the use of certified fair trade ingredients in beauty-care products. Sensual Jasmine Body Cream and Sensual Jasmine Shower Gel showcased at the launch of the standards on 4th June 09 – products containing fairtrade brazil nut oil, honey and rooibos herb.[16]

2009 – NYR Organic, the homeselling channel of Neal's Yard Remedies launches in April in the UK, and in September in the US. Both support the brands values, empowering women through the opportunity to set up and grow their own business under the umbrella of an existing established, respected brand.

2009 – Voted Best British Brand by CEW UK

2010 – One of the first companies to launch beauty and skincare products enriched with Fairtrade certified ingredients.

2010 – Launch the first Soil Association certified cosmetics, the range includes Eye Shadows, Eye Liners and Lip Gloss

2010 – Launched range of Supplements

2011 – Peter Kindersley awarded Outstanding Achievement Award at The Natural & Organic Awards 2011

2011 – Launch the first Soil Association certified sunscreen


The company has been a regular recipient of awards for its ethics, ecological approach and, in particular, popularity of its skincare products. Neal's Yard Remedies was voted ‘Best British Brand 2009’ by the independent body ‘CEW’ (Cosmetic Executive Women)[17] and ‘Best Organic Brand’ by Natural Health magazine.[18]

Recent awards Neal's Yard Remedies have won include:

BEST ORGANIC BRAND – Natural Health magazine 2011
BEST ORGANIC BRAND – She magazine 2011
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Peter Kindersley – chairman and proprietor of NYR – The Natural & Organic Awards 2011
BEST ORGANIC/NATURAL PRODUCT - The Sunday Times Style magazine Beauty Awards 2009 & 2010
BEST NATURAL TREATMENTS – HOT 100 – Harper’s Bazaar magazine
TOP 50 BEST BEAUTY BUYS – Frankincense Hydrating Cream – The Independent newspaper 2010
BEST ORGANIC PRODUCT – Orange Flower Daily Moisture – UK Beauty Awards 2010
BEST ORGANIC PRODUCT – Frankincense Hydrating Cream – The UK Beauty Awards 2009
BEST ORGANIC RANGE – Natural Health Magazine Beauty Awards 2009

In 2005 they won the RSPCA's 2005 Alternative Award for its ethical treatment of animals.[19] They have also won the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection's Golden Rabbit, a 2008 Carbon Neutral Company award,[20] the 2009 CEW Best British Brand and Best British Organic Skin Product,[21], and the 2009 Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards, Best Organic/Natural Product[22]

Eco Factory

In 2005 the company’s headquarters and production moved to the new purpose-built eco-factory in Dorset, designed and built by green architect specialists Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. [23]

Built on a 5.2 hectare site on the fringes of Gillingham in Dorset, the aim was to provide a people-focused, environmentally responsible building sympathetic to its rural setting, with the smallest possible carbon footprint, which could also bring valuable work opportunities to the rural location. Conservation of natural resources was also a priority in the design and construction of the building, including investigations of on-site energy generation, water conservation, the collection of rainwater and the use of low embodied energy materials. The project was a successful test bed for the use of unfired clay bricks to add internal thermal mass; the building has a leakage rate of less than one fifth of the statutory requirements.

European larch is used for the exterior cladding, as it is durable and naturally weather resistant, enabling it to be used untreated

• 186m2 solar panels were installed, saving 9367 kWh in first year, which is approximately 5 tonnes of CO2

• Rainwater and water from the manufacturing process is recycled for "grey-water' use - flushing toilets etc.

• Scandinavian windows and doors help minimise energy loss while maximising natural light

• Ceramic dividers between desks have a high thermal mass – which further helps to keep the environment cool and pleasant

• Concrete floor helps keep temperature constant

• Acoustic panels help deaden sound

• Recycled blue bottles have been turned into tiles and used outside the front door

• The clay wall in the restaurant - evolved from the idea that the site is made up primarily of clay

The 12-acre site is also home to herb and psychic gardens, where 500 Kazanik rose bushes produce the rosa damascena tincture, as well as calendula and other organically grown herbs.

Ingredients Policy

The company has a strong ingredients policy and follow the precautionary principle, refusing to use ingredients that haven’t satisfied their standards on safety, sustainability and efficacy. The ingredients and practices that they ban include:

  • No GMO ingredients – not enough is known about the long-term implications
  • No parabens – linked to oestrogen overproduction
  • No nano particles – not enough is known about their long-term implications
  • No synthetic fragrances – often associated with allergic reactions
  • No silicones – coat the skin, impeding its natural function
  • No mineral oils – derived from petroleum, have a tendency to block the skin
  • No phthalates – reported to have toxic impact on human and animal life
  • No EDTA – doesn’t readily biodegrade
  • No carbomer – derived from petroleum
  • No DEA – associated with known carcinogens

Published Research

The company has worked in conjunction with some of the country’s top research universities, conducting studies into the effectiveness of herbs, natural plant actives and essential oils. In 2009, the company teamed up with researchers from Kingston University to test the health properties of 21 plant and herb extracts. The research found that white tea helps protect against the break-down of both elastin and collagen, reducing the risk of age-related wrinkles. The research findings have just been published in the BioMed Central journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 'Anti-collagenase, anti-elastase and anti-oxidant activities of extracts from 21 plants' Tamsyn SA Thring, Pauline Hili, Declan P Naughton (BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2009, 9:27 (4 August 2009)). The full article is on free ‘open access’ and can be obtained on the BMC website [24][25]

1997 Research on the antimicrobial properties of essential oils Neal’s Yard Remedies, in conjunction with School of Biological Sciences, University of Westminster, published their findings on the antimicrobial properties of essential oils in 1997[26] Fifty-one essential oils extracted from plants of known origin were tested for their antimicrobial activity against three bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and four yeasts, Torulopsis utilis, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae using the drop diffusion method. All showed antimicrobial activity against at least one of the micro-organisms.


In April 2008, the company was investigated by the BBC for claiming that the homeopathic preparations they sell can help prevent and treat serious fatal diseases such as malaria. It was reported that this practice was "highly dangerous and it puts people's lives at risk."[27] Subsequently the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the product was "clearly intended to be viewed as a treatment or preventive" and the company's actions "potentially harmful to public health and misleading"; Neal's Yard accepted there was no proof that it worked and have discontinued the product.[28]

In May 2009 The Guardian's Ethical Living blog invited the company to participate in an online discussion, having apparently received confirmation of willingness for discussion.[29] A later posting from a Guardian editor stated that Neal's Yard was "working on replies".[30] Following the posting of questions about the efficacy of their remedies, and comments of a skeptical nature towards Neal's Yard alternative medicines, the company decided not to participate in the discussion, and the thread was therefore closed.[29] The refusal of Neal's Yard Remedies to answer any of the questions was criticized by public relations experts.[31][32]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Nachman, Sherrie: The Unbeaten Path: In London, a New (Age) England, The Washington Post, 3 May 1998.
  6. ^ Marks and Spencer's Rose honoured, BBC News, December 29, 2007.
  7. ^ Shepard, Anna: Neal's Yard founder: a real eco pioneer, "The Times", 23 August 2008
  8. ^ Wiggins, Jenny: Kindersley buys Neal's health unit for £10m, Financial Times, 23 December 2005.
  9. ^ [
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ [5]
  13. ^ [6]
  14. ^ [7]
  15. ^ [ ]
  16. ^ [8]
  17. ^ [9]
  18. ^ [10]
  19. ^ McDonald's praised for happy cows, BBC News, 13 October 2005.
  20. ^ 2008 Carbon Neutral Company
  21. ^ [11]
  22. ^ Best Organic/Natural Product, “Sunday Times”, 10 May 2009
  23. ^ []
  24. ^ [12]
  25. ^ [13]
  26. ^ [14]
  27. ^ Homeopathic remedy claims are disputed, BBC South West, 11 April 2008.
  28. ^ "Firm 'misled' over malaria drug". BBC News. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  29. ^ a b Vaughan, Adam (26 May 2009). "You ask, they answer: Neal's Yard Remedies". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  30. ^ Vaughan, Adam (26 May 2009). "You ask, they answer: Neal's Yard Remedies". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  31. ^ Vaughan, Adam (28 May 2009). "The PR lessons from Neal's Yard Remedies public debate U-turn". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  32. ^

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