Discovering beauty from within

by Allison Sebolt
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Traditionally cosmetics have been limited to products directly applied to the skin, but that is changing with new functional foods and beverages aimed at beauty. A little over a year ago, Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, announced an agreement with Borba, Inc., to sell Borba Skin Balance Waters. The waters include age-defying, clarifying, firming and replenishing varieties and come in bottled water or crystalline packet options. All of the products are high in antioxidants and vitamins C, E and B12. The use of superfruits such as acai berry, gogi berry, cranberry, papaya and guava also gives each product a different taste.

"Consumers today are definitely multi-tasking, so they are looking for multiple benefits," said Amy Holthaus, brand manager for Borba through 9th Street Beverages, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch. "They want the refreshment and hydration, but I think it’s great for them to get their vitamins and skin benefits all in one bottle."

Anheuser-Busch recently formed 9th Street Beverages, and the business includes energy drinks and premium waters such as Borba. Currently, Anheuser-Busch has been focused on major cities with the distribution of Borba, but the company is looking to expand to other areas.

Ms. Holthaus said in the future Borba will be available in additional high-end food stores and more mainstream retailers and may even be found in the health and beauty section of drug stores. She also said Anheuser-Busch and Borba might consider offering an all-natural product.

While not distributed through Anheuser-Busch, Borba also offers Gummi Bear Boosters for overall skin health.

In addition, Nestle recently announced the introduction of a new beauty drink called Glowelle, which is designed to hydrate the inner and outer layers of skin and is made with tea, fruit and botanical extracts.

"The functional beauty trend really started in Asia-Pacific, notably Japan," said Caroline Brons, senior marketing manager with DSM Nutritional Products, a company that offers ingredients for beauty foods and beverages. "It has become very popular in Europe and the trend has only recently reached the U.S. Beauty from within is a very hot area in nutrition in the U.S. at the moment, and now is the time to think about new product development and launches in this field."

Euromonitor agreed with this assessment, and said Japan is the most developed market for "nutricosmetics," but the Asia-Pacific region as a whole is an important market for the products. The research firm also said the Japanese are so receptive to the market there are many products so novel they are struggling to find credibility outside of Japan. One example of such a product includes a collagen-enriched soup from Nissin Food Products.

So what exactly are the benefits of ingested skin care products versus topical ones? What is making this market attractive to consumers?

"Ingestible nutrients arrive to the skin from inside the body, which means they can reach more layers of the skin than topical treatments," said Lori Stern, scientific leader for nutritional science in the Americas at DSM. "They also reach more areas of the body versus topical treatments that go wherever we put them. In addition, the body can transform the ingestible nutrients to the optimal form for transport into the cells where they have action. Topical nutrients may or may not be absorbed into the skin cells and are often formulated to not penetrate too deep into the skin for safety purposes. Therefore, the topicals target short-term results. Ingestibles work with the internal mechanisms of the cells for long-term prevention."

Ms. Stern also said DSM recommends using both ingestible and topical products together as each serves a different purpose.

In its ingredient development, DSM works with five beauty-related platforms: UV protection, oxidative stress protection, skin barrier maintenance and hydration, skin structure metabolism and repair, and healthy nails and hair.

Ms. Brons said DSM has a portfolio of vitamins, carotenoids and specialty nutrients, and the company works with customers looking for nutricosmetic innovations.

"Appearance, looking good and feeling good about yourself is becoming increasingly important in our society," Ms. Brons said. "The attitude toward beauty is changing, especially as the average age of the population is increasing and the willingness to spend money and time on appearance is becoming more important. As people live longer, we don’t only want to stay healthy longer, but we also want to look good for a longer period of time."

Ms. Brons said DSM sees a strong place for beverages, dairy products and supplements in the functional beauty category and believes the products will move from the specialty niche market to having large product launches for mass markets. She said DSM sees a continuous increase in the need for science-based skin care ingredients as consumers will demand more ingredients that address a specific concern such as anti-wrinkles or anti-cellulite.

Ms. Brons said the dairy segment is introducing a number of products such as yogurt-based drinks and smoothies with skin health benefits. For example, Euromonitor said Groupe Danone has introduced Essensis beauty yogurt in France and Western Europe.

She noted another area of development is the launch of day and night formulas. Such day formulas usually provide UV protection, and the night formulations generally focus on skin regeneration. An example of this is Nestle’s Svelty Piel Dia and Swelty Piel Noche products, which are beauty yogurts available in Mexico containing antioxidant All-Q Coenzyme Q10.

In addition, Ms. Brons said chocolate polyphenol- and green tea polyphenol-based products with positioning for skin care are gaining in popularity. One of DSM’s beauty ingredients, Teavigo, is even sourced from green tea leaves.

Another trend gaining interest is anti-aging dietary supplements, and Ms. Brons said the idea of combining a topical product with daily oral supplements is becoming more popular.

"The challenge for manufacturers, however, is to prove the efficacy of nutricosmetics," Euromonitor said. "Western consumers are skeptical about product claims, particularly where they relate to beauty and will dismiss beauty foods and supplements as marketing gimmicks unless they are supported by rigorous scientific research."

According to the Global New Products Database from Mintel International, Chicago, there were 29 new food and beverage products introduced in the United States so far this year with "beauty enhancing" attributes. That’s up from 9 in 2007 and 5 in 2006.

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Food Business News, September 30, 2008, starting on Page 35. Click here to search that archive.

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