Beautifying the skin from within

by Allison Gibeson
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With consumers becoming more conscious of how their diet may impact their overall health, interest in food and beverage products with beauty benefits is on the rise.

“Everyone wants to look as good as they can, and if you can do that through diet versus doing something more dramatic … I think that is a preferred natural route to impacting your outward appearance,” said Sharrann Simmons, North American marketing director for Cognis Nutrition and Health, Monheim, Germany.

The beauty category as a whole is growing, and, according to The NPD Group, prestige skin care dollar sales increased 7% during the first half of 2010. All segments of the beauty category posted positive dollar growth during the first half of the year except the body segment, which includes gels, moisturizers and exfoliates.

The market for “beauty from within” products originally began in Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand and China. The market subsequently moved to Western Europe, and now is beginning to emerge in North America. Ms. Simmons said the market in the United States is still at the tip of the iceberg stage.

In Asia, many of the products are collagen-based and focused on skin health and skin whitening. By comparison, in the United States the greater emphasis is on more familiar ingredients such as vitamin E and beta carotene, Ms. Simmons said. In addition, she said lutein has become a popular ingredient. While the ingredient has been associated with eye health, several recent studies have shown it is effective for skin hydration and skin elasticity.

“(Lutein is) a familiar ingredient with a new positioning, a new benefit, and that tends to work well in the U.S. market,” Ms. Simmons said.

Cognis offers four ingredients for skin protection, including carotenoids, lutein esters, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. The products are lipid based, natural and their main function is as an antioxidant and to prevent free radical damage to skin. Another product on the market is tonalin CLA for body shaping. According to Cognis, the product may reduce body fat by up to 10%.

Caroline Brons, senior marketing manager at DSM, Heerlen, The Netherlands, said the majority of human studies on beauty from within ingredients focus on the ability of carotenoids (including beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin) to help protect the skin from the damaging effects of sunlight.

Ms. Simmons said chocolate is an area where the market may see growth, and said Cognis is working with chocolate manufacturers to add skin protection ingredients into their products.

Overall, she said there are two demographics driving the market — younger women who are interested in products that help maintain a youthful appearance, and older, baby boomer women who are using the products to extend beauty.

“Many consumers are keen more than ever on maintaining balanced nutrition, which can ward off certain illnesses,” said David Djerassi, wellness and cosmetic director for LycoRed Corp., Orange, N.J. “Furthermore, the severe recession, the economic uncertainty, concerns over health care costs and the growth in the number of baby boomers who are retiring are driving the growth of nutritional supplements and fortified foods. Although wellness is the main interest, a large number of consumers are coming to realize that as with good nutrition, supplements cannot only improve wellness, but they can also enhance beauty.”

LycoRed has focused principally on dietary supplements, and their “beauty from within” ingredients include natural carotenoids, natural extracts, vitamins, amino acids and other functional ingredients.

Frutarom, Haifa, Israel, offers ingredients such as Collactive, which promotes smooth skin through wrinkle repair and moisturizing, and protects the skin through collagen damage reduction. The company also promotes green tea for its natural source of antioxidants that offers detoxification and anti-inflammatory benefits as well as collagen damage reduction. Frutarom also offers products made from soy and flaxseed.

Applications for beauty from within ingredients run the gamut and include Nestle’s Glowelle Beauty Drink, Sally Hansen’s Dietary Supplements for Nails, Nivea’s Anti-Cellulite regimen of cream and capsules, and Borba’s Balanced Waters. Borba also has a clarifying chocolate bar that is marketed as being able to remove toxins and improve skin clarity. Kraft Foods Inc., Northfield, Ill., even has a “skin essentials” variety of Crystal Light beverage mixes that is said to have antioxidant vitamins and plant extracts to help nourish the skin.

“The beauty supplements market has grown over the last few years and according to Datamonitor sales are projected to reach $1.16 billion by 2011,” Mr. Djerassi said. “The average annual growth has been over 5% in the last five years. As more food and beverage companies join the market with beauty

benefits … the awareness of ‘beauty from within’ will increase. It is expected that companies will invest in consumer education, which is crucial to the success of this category. Also, as companies become more comfortable in marketing these products, more innovative packages will be developed, making the use of both topical cosmetic products and ‘beauty from within’ products easier to use.”

According to a recent survey from Mintel International, Chicago, 33% of consumers who buy functional beverages would like to see beverages with benefits that make facial skin look younger. Thirty-six per cent of respondents over 65 said they would be interested in such benefits, but 35% of respondents ages 18 to 24 also said they would be interested in such products.

While the market has been growing steadily as global launches of food and beverage products with beauty claims increased 48% in 2009, year-to-date launches are trending down. In North America there were 61 such products introduced in 2008, and there were only 22 in 2009. In 2010 through May 11 there were just 6 introduced in North America.

Ms. Simmons said some of the challenges in the category include consumers desiring immediate benefits when some of the products take longer to yield results. In addition, she said the science behind the products must be sustantiated, and the products must yield benefits in order for the products to achieve success.

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