Drinking (and eating) to beauty

by Allison Sebolt
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The quest to find the fountain of youth drove explorers to the Americas, but in today’s world may a tea provide increased energy, stimulate healthy metabolism and restore gray hair to natural color?

The current market in the United States for foods and beverages with beauty benefits, which includes products such as High Country Kombucha Original Ice Tea, suggests so. High Country Kombucha also has varieties in aloe and goji berry, which are ingredients known for beauty benefits.

The market for such products originally emerged in Asia and Europe and has recently moved to the United States.

In Asia, it has become rather common to find food and beverage products with ingredients such as collagen, aloe vera and ceramide — ingredients typically associated with skin care benefits in topical skin care treatments.

"But in beauty foods in Asia, those become ingredients that you ingest with the thinking being they have the same benefits working from the inside out," said Lynn Dornblaser, analyst with Mintel International, Chicago.

Such beauty products have been most popular in Japan, but there has been some significant interest in China and Taiwan as well. In addition, the products have made their way to Western Europe. The concept of beauty foods and beverages has now been brought over to the United States but with a slightly different focus.

Ms. Dornblaser said as the trend has moved to the west the focus has become more on antioxidants and ingredients with natural benefits with a positioning on healthy skin as beautiful skin. Here the focus is less on typical cosmetic ingredients and more on natural ingredients.

There is a Beauty Spring Water in the United Kingdom that uses its Praventin ingredient, which is high in Lactoferrin, to help reduce acne. In Japan, there is Meiji Seika Kaisha Diet and Collagen Slim Bar, and Coca-Cola offers Minute Maid Beautia in Japan with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. The Sappe Beauti Shot Collagen drink is available in Thailand.

France has Tropicana Essentiels Antioxydants, which boasts anti-aging properties, and a yogurt drink from Danone called Essensis.

Canada has Fuze Vitalize for healthy skin and hair.

Ms. Dornbalser said it is significant that in the United States Nestle is marketing its Glowelle products with the Nestle name on it because it shows the major international food company is standing by the claims it is making.

"The time is just right for companies to appeal to what seems to be an ever-growing group of consumers, mostly women, who want to preserve what they have or improve what they have," Ms. Dornblaser said.

In terms of why consumers might choose ingestible beauty products as opposed to topical ones, it’s really about having more options.

"I don’t think it’s about them being more successful or more effective, it’s just one more tool in your arsenal," Ms. Dornblaser said. "It’s one more way you have to look the best you can or to stave off the signs of aging as best you can."

Ms. Dornblaser points to the aging baby boomer population as consumers who will be interested in the market. However, she also said there is an increased interest from younger women in their 20s and 30s who want to maintain their youth.

"All products do have to deliver on the statements they make or the benefits they claim because that’s what consumers are looking for," Ms. Dornblaser said. "Consumers today are increasingly skeptical, and they want to know that a product is going to do what it says."

While the products are typically expensive, Ms. Dornblaser said in the midst of current economic conditions consumers will make trade-offs in order to give themselves small luxuries, so they may be willing to forgo another purchase in order to have such products.

"There is a lot of opportunity, regardless of the economy, for these types of products on the market," Ms. Dornblaser said. "But it’s going to take smart marketing, and it’s going to take a company being able to provide some sense of security to consumers that the products are going to do what they say they are going to do."

Not every product will be an automatic success. Mars Snackfood introduced Dove Beautiful in early 2008, but it already has been discontinued.

Ms. Dornblaser said for now beauty oriented products will remain in higher-end stores such as Neiman Marcus, but in the future she sees potential for products to appear in stores such as Bath and Body Works, Sephora, and even CVS.

According to Mintel, the U.S. market size for functional beverages was $10 billion in 2007 with 15% growth during the past five years. Only 16% of consumers — 21% of women and 11% of men — want skin, nail and hair beauty benefits from their functional beverages. In addition, only one in five U.S. consumers are interested in vitamin and mineral replenishment.

The desire for natural beauty products also has taken hold in the cosmetics industry as a market for topical beauty products using fruit and vegetable extracts has emerged. For example, CosMedix Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser uses spinach and Too Faced Lip Injection uses chili pepper. The idea behind the products is consumers are familiar with the ingredients and already have come to trust them.

According to Pierce Mattie, a public relations firm focused on the beauty industry, the following ingredients will be used more heavily in the beauty industry in 2009, and some of the ingredients are potentially ingestible.

• Argan oil — An ingredient sourced from Morocco known for being a rich source of vitamin E with 80% essential fatty acids. It may be used on skin and in hair due to its high level of antioxidants and ability to replenish natural moisture.

• Acai — The Brazilian berry contains antioxidants, amino acids, essential omegas, fibers and proteins making it a leader in anti-aging products. It may be used in skin care, cosmetics and hair care.

• Goji berries — The berries have the ability to fight free radicals and boost the immune system.

• Blueberries — Known for amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, blueberries are used to revitalize the skin.

• Probiotics — Skin-care products with probiotics will be branded as another "clinical-like" line.

• Turmeric — May be used for acne-fighting properties as well as an antiseptic that helps prevent and remove blemishes. Other uses include hair removal products and in the formulation of sunscreen.

• Acerola — This ingredient is high in vitamin C, and increasingly ingredients high in vitamin C are being used more often to even skin tone and brighten complexion.

• Baobab — This ingredient is rich in riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins C, A, D, and E for anti-aging properties.

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Food Business News, January 6, 2009, starting on Page 1. Click here to search that archive.

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