Whole Foods Market once again leveraged the popularity of the beauty category as a traffic driver to observe its fifth-annual "Beauty Week" from March 27 to April 2, this year for the first time also incorporating a "Better Beauty Swap" as part of the proceedings.

The beauty swap called attention to the grocer's “industry-leading [body care] standards that ban more than 100 ingredients" as the trend toward natural, clean and even food-standard body care products continues to grow. On March 30, shoppers at participating stores (in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles) could bring one empty beauty or body care product to swap it out for one of the retailer's new, limited-edition beauty bags. The swaps were accepted between 8-9 a.m. local time and were capped at 200 bags per location. The grocer recycled the empty containers through a partnership with TerraCycle.

The beauty bags were also available for purchase in limited quantities starting March 29. Priced at $20, each of the two curated beauty bags — packaged in handmade Queen Alaffia cosmetic bags — contained a variety of products worth more than $100. Dubbed “All-Day Beautiful” and “Self-Care Sunday,” the bags were merchandised on dedicated racks in the Whole Body department.

This is the first year the grocer has offered two different beauty bags (though some items were present in both), responding to consumers increasingly seeking to discover new products and brands in the category as evidenced by the growing availability of beauty sample boxes made popular by dedicated companies such as subscription service Birchbox — which recently partnered with drugstore chain Walgreens and Albertsons Cos.-owned meal kit company Plated on separate initiatives. Major retailers including Walmart and Target have also jumped on the beauty box trend.

As usual, Whole Foods also discounted its entire stock of makeup, facial care, hair car, nail polish, perfume and makeup brushes by 25% for Beauty Week. This year, Amazon Prime members got an additional 10% off for a total 35% discount. Early birds were able to fill a pre-shop bag with their selected beauty products in advance of the sale and return to collect their discounted items in-store during the promotion.

In-store P-O-P support included outdoor banners, window/ceiling/shelf/rack signs, aisle violators, headers and take-ones. Display ads on websites such as shape.com and delish.com, 30-second local radio spots, email blasts and extensive media coverage also supported, with Whole Foods’ social media accounts reposting some of the activity.

Participating brands Mad Hippie, Clorox Co.'s Burt's Bees and Cocokind's Mai-Light received top billing on all the supporting creative.