Holland & Barrett

Our History

The beginning

Holland & Barrett is a leading British health and wellness retailer that was founded in 1870 by Alfred Slapps Barrett and Major William Holland. The company started as a grocery store in Bishop's Stortford, selling groceries, provisions, and clothing. However, the business evolved over time and began focusing on health foods and supplements.

Journey to wellness

In the early 20th century, the company expanded its reach, opening stores in London and other major cities in the UK. This expansion was supported by investment from Samuel Ryder, a successful seed merchant and golf enthusiast who is perhaps best known for his sponsorship of the Ryder Cup, one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world. Ryder was also a supporter of health and wellness, and was a regular customer of Holland & Barrett's health food store in St. Albans, England. He was particularly fond of the store's dried fruit and nut products, which he believed helped to improve his health and stamina on the golf course.

Holland & Barrett later merged with the Ryder family’s chain of herbal remedy stores, Heath & Heather which was founded in the 1920s, and the combined business was named Holland & Barrett.

Post-war expansion

During World War II, the company supplied health supplements to British soldiers, and after the war, it continued to expand its range of products to include vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements.

Holland & Barrett continued to expand its retail presence, and by the 1980s, it had become one of the largest health food retailers in the UK.

The business continued to innovate, driving affordable access to food and nutrition supplements for all dietary needs in the later part of the 20th Century. Holland & Barrett drove access to plant-based, organic and vegan foods, and also launched the largest range of products for those with food allergies and intolerances on the UK high street. It also extended its focus on natural ingredients into beauty supplements and sports nutrition, and created new categories for natural ingredients such as manuka honey, CBD and collagen, and extended this into its range of beauty and skincare products. It is well known for the high level of training it offers its store colleagues who are “qualified to advise” on its products health benefits.

Global wellness partner

Today, Holland & Barrett has extended its reach through an omni-channel presence including over 1300 stores and has a presence in 19 countries worldwide through franchise and partnerships. Its ethos of health starting from within through nutrition and diet, is the basis for its business today. As the world recognises the importance of good health and the power of prevention, Holland & Barrett is once again innovating by developing new personalised services and solutions to help its customers make health and wellness a way of life, adding more quality years to life.

“Lack of fresh air and exercise, improper food and hastily snatched meals help to sap the vitality of large numbers of people engaged in sedentary occupations… That is where Herbs come into the picture. Grown in the fresh air and sunshine, they are full of vital properties which can be turned to good account by the human body.”

~ The Famous Book of Herbal Aids to Health & Fitness, 1938, Heath & Heather Ltd.