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Foods for beauty in the spotlight: Euromonitor

By Lorraine Heller , 01-Oct-2009

Anti-aging and beauty from within are expected to be in the functional food spotlight, despite the recent shadow cast over the category by the high profile failure of Danone’s Essensis beauty yogurt, say analysts.

Euromonitor analyst Ewa Hudson has identified beauty foods as a key area of focus for the global functional food and beverage industries as well as the personal care industry.

Looks = Life

“Anti-aging and beauty from within are important because people are concerned about their looks – looking and feeling healthy gives them a better quality of life, influencing both their social life and their performance at work,” said Hudson.

“So far, options were limited to cosmetic surgery, which is expensive and invasive. But 90 percent of skin aging is because of the sun’s radiation, and products like CoQ10, lycopene and collagen take the hit from the sun rather than your skin,” she told NutraIngredients-USA.com.

The three areas addressed by edible beauty products are skin, hair and nails. Benefits include: (for skin) repair and prevention; sun protection; firmness; pigmentation; whitening; and slimming; (for hair) retention and growth; restoration; nourishment; and volumizing; (for nails) strengthening.

According to the Kline Group, the global market for nutricosmetics was valued at $1.5bn in 2007, and is expected to grow to $2.5bn by 2012. Europe and Japan currently lead the market, accounting for 55 and 41 percent of sales respectively. In contrast, the US holds only 3 percent of the market.

Euromonitor says one of the reasons behind the success of nutricosmetics in Japan and Europe is their widespread availability. Some 16 percent of all supplements sold in Japan are positioned as beauty supplements. In Germany, 11 percent of supplements are beauty-focused.

Ingredients and visible results are key

However, despite the more advanced European market, the high-profile failure of Danone's beauty-enhancing yogurt, Essensis, earlier this year “has cast doubt on the immediate future of the nutraceuticals industry in light of the global recession,” says Euromonitor.

However, the analyst suggests that Essensis failed in the selection of its ingredients – vitamin E and green tea – which are not associated in consumer minds with improving beauty.

“Whilst both are widely known to be beneficial to health, they are also found in many other foods. Thus, it could be argued that Essensis does not have a strong enough focus on beauty to be able to persuade consumers to trade up from the wealth of yoghurts already available that contain added ingredients which are beneficial to health,” wrote Euromonitor in a comment article earlier this year.

Scepticism about the efficacy of products is a key barrier to growth, says Euromonitor, which highlights the importance of selecting the right ingredients.

Another challenge faced by the category in the current climate is the price premium. For example, Nestle’s Glowelle is priced at around $7 per bottle, which is far higher than the price of other fortified drinks.

Effective marketing and product efficacy are key to ensuring product success, says the analyst.

“It will be vital for manufacturers to communicate effectively and succinctly exactly why consumers should trade up to a nutraceutucal product, and that ingestible beauty products can be a viable alternative to the creams and cosmetics designed for external use.”

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