The nutricosmetics sector has a multi-channel appeal in the skin, hair and nail care sectors and it only seem to be increasing. Emma Reinhold and Nadia Di Martino report
Recent economic hardships have done little to dampen the industry’s appetite for nutricosmetics; market research company Kline says this is the fastest growing segment in the global skin care market with annual growth per year estimated at around 11% between 2008 and 2012.And according to Mintel, launch activity doubled from 2008 to 2009 with over 300 new products released in 2009 alone. In the UK, this growing market was worth an estimated £191m in 2009 experiencing rapid growth.
Despite many positive signs, it’s fair to say that nutricosmetics still remains niche: “Usage is still limited in most western markets although consumption of supplements is high in the UK compared to the rest of Europe,” says Nica Lewis, head consultant, Mintel Beauty Innovation. “In fact 40% of the British population take them, especially cod liver oil, fish oil and multivitamins.”
Today manufacturers face the challenge of persuading consumers to use their nutricosmetics. According to Mintel, consumer compliance in this area is still a long way off. A 2009 report found four in ten women believe there is no need for nutricosmetics if they have a healthy diet and among those that do use the products only 19% think they really work.
|Nutricosmetics: Leading product claims among UK launches, 2007-09, %
Furthermore a survey conducted by Ipsos Marketing last year found that consumers (39%) are still more likely to choose a topical cosmetic product over beauty supplements (23%) or functional foods (19%).
And nutricosmetics – used by an estimated 1.8m women worldwide – represent just less than 1% of all beauty launches. Moreover, an estimated 12.4m women claim not to be familiar with nutricosmetics and over half of the women who have not used supplements said they do not know enough about them which represents two obstacles to this market.
Encouragingly though, nutricosmetics users are beginning to understand that there is no magic pill that instantly transforms skin. Mintel found 37% of those polled in a survey realised that any benefits took time to see and almost half of users used nutricosmetics alongside their usual skin, hair and nail care products anyway.
Another piece of encouraging data is that there is a high level of loyalty once consumers start using nutricosmetics – 82% of consumers said they would purchase them again.
A need for clarity
The much hyped success of nutricosmetics in Asia can largely be attributed to its effective regulatory system. Although strict, the FOSHU (Foods for Specified Health Uses) rules clearly state what can and cannot be claimed for a product. Allowed claims include sun protection, whitening and slimming for skin care products, and volume and growth for hair care products.
“Asia is regarded as the most important region for ingestible beauty, driven by consumer
demand and also because the regulatory system there is more sophisticated than in Europe,” says Lewis. “Japan is still the leading market for launch activity, however NPD in China is growing rapidly and Brazil’s NPD also doubled last year. ”
However in Europe the scope of health claims regulation for beauty remains a grey area with many brands working on a case-by-case basis for claims clarification; there is no framework for brands to work from and it remains unclear which cosmetic claims are covered by the regulation and which are not.
Jules Birch, ceo of Works with Water, a British manufacturer of soluble food supplements, comments: “In the UK nutricosmetics is still an emerging sector and isn’t specifically regulated. In terms of clarity in the eyes of the consumer, I think we still have some way to go as an industry. A great deal depends upon the EFSA’s [European Food Safety Authority] opinion on specific ingredient claims as to the future of all supplements, including beauty supplements.”
Optimistically, she concludes: “Whatever the format, if a product actually works, then that’s the key criterion for consumers and that has to be the benchmark to apply both now and in the future.”
However the need for clearer regulation hasn’t hindered launch activity in the west, which was very dynamic last year.
In the summer of last year oral supplement and skin care specialist Imedeen (Ferrosan) made its first foray into male grooming with the launch of man•age•ment, a new anti-ageing supplement treatment claimed to boost and improve skin performance from the inside-out. The tablets promise to improve skin quality and structure; reduce the appearance of dryness, lines and wrinkles; protect against UV damage; and increase moisture levels in the skin by up to 30%, according to Ferrosan.
Gwyn Davies, international communications manager for the company comments: “Our objective is for the men’s product to reach approximately 10% of the turnover of the women’s anti-ageing skin care supplements. In the UK it is currently just below this figure, whereas in some markets such as Singapore and the United Arab Emirates we are performing at well above that figure.”
Meanwhile new premium nutricosmetics brand Functionalab seemed to have the same experience when it came to regional differences, with Nathalie Pelletier, director of nutrition and training adding: “We clearly see an established market in Europe and Asia while the US remain a challenge with no clear channel ready to support this segment. We have surpassed our projection in Asia and see a huge potential and interest in Europe. The demand is continuously growing and comes from all around the world. Many consumers are already loyal to our products as they have fully introduced our nutricosmetics into their beauty routines.
“It is important to mention that nutricosmetics are not only nourishing for the skin, they are active ingredients that also offer health benefits to the entire body.”
Functionalab has recently debuted in Harvey Nichols while products in its Beauty Doses range are also available at Space NK and Harrods. The range includes ten different potent beauty supplements targeted at various beauty areas as well as one advanced multivitamin.
“Inner beauty is common sense,” says Pelletier. “Topical beauty creams are great for immediate results but people now realise they can go only so far and so deep. They will often contain nutrients, such as antioxidants, which can provide certain benefits, but oral dietary supplements and topical creams will have both different and complementary effects.
“We believe it is common sense to have a two-pronged approach. Topical skin care products offer instant protection and hydration but only superficially, on the outer layer of the skin, while beauty supplements are nourishing the skin with active ingredients at a deeper level from the inside to achieve long lasting results.
“Combined, you provide your skin with inner and outer nutrition and protection against undesired effects from free radical attacks.”
The combined approach of topically applying a cream or serum while also taking some form of ingestible product, be that food, drink or a supplement, is the most obvious way nutricosmetics have come into the mainstream. Last year brands continued to use this format to launch new lines and this remains the main way most consumers learn about nutricosmetics.
Vinotherapy brand Caudalie launched its Vinexpert Riche Radiant Day Cream SPF10 and the Vinexpert Nutritional Supplements last year which are billed as ideal to complement Caudalie’s range of treatments. According to the company, employing both topical and oral methods of use allows for a truly comprehensive approach to promoting youthfulness in a natural way.
Jean-Christophe Samyn, director of Caudalie UK, comments: “Consumers viewed our beauty supplements as an additional component to skin care. They were welcomed by both men and women who have sensitive and dehydrated skin, and who can’t use so many products to treat their skin from the outside.”
The supplements are claimed to take the best the vine has to offer in the fight against all signs of ageing and are available in a gel format, which is more easily absorbed. According to Caudalie, two capsules a day represent the equivalent amount of resveratrol found in two glasses of wine. The gel capsules are said to provide results that are visible in just two weeks. Thanks to grape seed polyphenols, Caudalie claims that the level of hyaluronic acid present in skin is maintained while the cutaneous microcirculation is improved for greater radiance.
Elsewhere a recent study from the University of Nottingham has suggested that eating fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids gives a healthier glow to skin than sun exposure. Carotenoids are present in carrots and tomatoes and according to Dr Ian Stephen who led the study: “Carotenoids are red, yellow and orange antioxidant pigments that we get from fruit and vegetables in our diet. They are deposited on the skin, giving it a more tanned appearance. They were previously marketed as tanning pills but were banned in the UK as there are potential issues with taking very high doses.” He adds that carotenoids are thought to be beneficial to the immune and reproductive system and to reduce oxidative damage to the skin, reducing ageing. “It’s quite likely that in future carotenoids will be linked to anti-ageing but this has not been proved yet, ” concludes Stephen.
As scientific research in the realm of nutricosmetics becomes more widespread, manufacturers will harness these results to launch new and more efficient supplements.
Yllume is a company already employing a high concentration of colourless carotenoids in its Skin Supplements range which contains PhytofLORAL. Yllume uses a particular process in its creation so that a high concentration of actives are safely and effectively delivered to the skin to reduce hyperpigmentation. Yllume’s Ultimate Illuminating Complex Cream meanwhile works topically to address hyperpigmentation while Yllume’s Skin Supplement reduces hyperpigmentation from within employing phytoene and phytofluene to do this. These are the precursors to carotenoids extracted from unripened tomatoes, present in PhytofLORAL which contains the active compound needed for lightening and brightening the skin.
Says Yllume’s director, Hossay Momand: “Initially the cream sku evoked a lot of interest with sales coming mostly from this, however with a little more education people are becoming aware of the benefits of Skin Supplement and are converting to taking the two things together for maximum effect. The Skin Supplement sales are head to head with those for the cream product now, possibly due to how it is positioned.
“We even have some dermatologists in Asia – where skin lightening is extremely popular – who have reported that they have now replaced their traditionally used Glutathione pills with our Yllume Skin Supplements.”
Some of the nutricosmetics available address beauty from a holistic perspective rather than focusing on anti-ageing or any particular skin problem. French skin care brand Melvita (L’Occitane en Provence) offers phials of Royal Jelly Ampoules priced at £14 for 20 phials.
Royal Jelly is rich in amino acids, several B vitamins and minerals and offers revitalising and stimulating properties, says Melvita. Royal Jelly is also known to strengthen the immune system, providing added vitality and energy. Melvita flavours its phials with maple syrup – which also has revitalising properties – as well as a natural orange extract. Melvita brand manager, Simon Ford comments: ”Melvita has recently repacked some of its existing supplements and beehive-related products. Certified Organic Royal Jelly and Pollen are now available from Melvita stores for those looking to boost their vitality and well-being. These beehive products complement the existing range of honey and honey sweets that form a centrepiece in the store in a special merchandising unit with yellow shelving and hexagons to reflect their beehive origins.
“The latest supplements to launch in the UK are our Echinacea and Propolis ampoules. The 20-day treatment is perfect for those looking to support their immune system at this time of year. Customers are able to sample an ampoule in the store with the specially trained staff giving advice on usage – as the ampoule format is not something that most UK based consumers are familiar with.”
Meanwhile Works with Water claims to be the first UK company to pioneer a range of clinically proven, 100% natural, soluble food supplements that help to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and have a positive impact in acne treatment. The help: clear skin line is has been specifically devised to fight acne. “help: clear skin is a soluble food supplement that is tasteless and odourless and packaged in an easy to use format that allows consumers to add it to their favourite beverage or soft food of choice,” says Birch.
Another part of the nutricosmetics market focuses on confectionery with beauty benefits also seeing some interesting product development in recent months as brands look for new formats. According to Lewis: “Categories that saw slight increases in launch activity in this area in 2010 were soups, sweets and snack bars. Chocolate remains a big trend, a lot of new extracts with high antioxidant potential resulting in skin hydration, anti-inflammatory and UV protection potential.”
And The Organic Pharmacy has recently launched Glamour Food, a chocolate bar designed to taste pleasurable as well as creating a sense of well-being. The bar contains a blend of unprocessed raw cacao, goji and açai berries, blueberries, cranberries and coconut oil.
Nestlé has embraced the trend in Japan by developing a beauty bar for its Kit Kat brand in collaboration with the Tokyo Beauty Clinic, one of Japan’s most popular beauty salon chains. There are two variants: bitter almond and aloe yoghurt.
The nutricosmetics trend has also moved into breakfast cereal in Japan with the launch of anti-ageing Moody Muesli. The muesli is said to slow down the ageing process and contains a blend of pumpkin seeds, cereals and the superfruits cranberry, goji and grape. And Nestlé Malaysia has developed a coffee containing a 3-in-1 collagen complex, claiming to strengthen skin elasticity.
Meanwhile, using the slogan ‘Eat yourself beautiful’, the pan-Asian restaurant Gilgamesh in London has just launched a Collagen Menu to encourage customers to increase their intake. The menu features Collagen Inside Out Dumpling, Collagen and Seaweed Salad and a Beauty Bucket of Poached Chicken, black rice and sesame seeds.
With so much dynamism in this segment, it appears that nutricosmetics is establishing itself as an important category within general beauty care. Some within the industry predict that beauty supplements will grow faster than the general dietary and supplement market.There are three sectors now jumping on the bandwagon – beauty, nutrition and pharmaceuticals – and all are getting involved on a different level. The evolution of this segment will benefit from the fact that major companies will raise the awareness while younger and smaller players will innovate with new ideas and strategies.”
Samyn agrees: “We are optimistic about nutricosmetics for two reasons. Firstly because women want more and more products that do everything and secondly because the market is very new and requires a lot of education so we can expect to see some growth. It is already common practice to take supplements for sun care and slimming needs, however we still need to educate people more on the use of anti-ageing supplements.”
If manufacturers are brave enough to continue to invest in education and marketing, it seems there is enough room for nutricosmetics to really stake its claim and become a permanent fixture in the lives of consumers and their beauty regimes.
Cocoa champions beauty
A recent study released by the Hershey Centre for Health and Nutrition in the US compared cocoa powder and cocoa products to the powders and juices derived from fruits commonly considered superfruits.
Researchers analysed them for antioxidant capacity, total polyphenol content and total flavonol content. Among the various powders that were tested, cocoa powder was found to be the most concentrated source of polyphenol and flavonol. Similarly, dark chocolate was a significantly more concentrated source of antioxidants than the fruit juices.
Cocoa seeds thus provide nutritional value beyond that derived from their macronutrient composition and appear to meet the popular definition of a superfruit. According to researchers, these results could mean in the future that formulators will choose cocao seed extracts over a fruit extract when it comes to delivering antioxidants to the skin.
Herbal help for hair
Raoul Perfitt, managing director for professional hair brand Herb UK talks to ECM about the company’s first year of activity with its hair beauty supplements line “Herb UK Hair Supplements are vitamin B complex capsules manufactured to the highest standards and with the finest ingredients.
“The B Vitamins are water soluble and cannot be stored by the body. As a result, they are used constantly. They are needed for a healthy nervous system and brain as well as to convert food to energy and to metabolise fats and proteins. In addition, they help to stimulate healthy hair, skin, eyes and internal organs. A low intake of Vitamin B has been linked to hair loss, flaking nails, greying hair and a poor complexion, amongst other conditions.
“Our Hair Supplement capsules are free from yeast, additives, sugars, lactose and gluten and they are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. The recommended intake is one capsule per day. This dosage should not be exceeded and high dose vitamin B is not recommended during pregnancy. The use of a supplement is not a substitute for a varied, balanced diet however, so if a client is on medication, is pregnant, breastfeeding or being treated for a medical condition, she should consult her doctor first before taking Herb UK Hair Supplement capsules.
“Last year was our first year of sales so we haven’t got a year-on-year growth yet but they were very well received by consumers and have gained positive press coverage. We see the nutricosmetics segment as being ripe for rapid growth in the future – consumers respond well to a beauty product that nurtures them from the inside out and which works alongside traditionally applied products.”