A study by Kline & Company finds that the global market for nutricosmetics is currently valued at $1bn and is fast-growing, with the company estimating that it should sustain double-digit growth over the course of the next five years.
And the driving force behind the growth is, who else but the baby boomer generation, a group that is currently spending billions each year in an effort to maintain youthful looks and wellness.
"In Japan, there are specialty stores and department store counters devoted solely to the sale of beauty supplements from companies like Shiseido, and nutricosmetics are widely available in pharmacies in Western Europe. But in North America, the concept is just gaining ground with newer brands like Borba," said Carrie Mellage of the consumer products practice for Kline's research division.
Big nutricosmetic brand names have so far proved to be Imedeen, a skin care supplement, and Inneov, a skin care and hair care supplement created through the marriage of food and cosmetics by L'Oreal and Nestle.
Imedeen has been manufactured by Danish pharmaceutical producer Ferrosan since 1991. Initially a big hit in Europe, it is now market worldwide. It is said to contain nutrients, included a patented biomarine complex, that optimize skin health and help fight visible signs of skin aging.
Inneov was launched more recently, in Europe in 2003, and contains the principal active ingredient Lacto-lycopene, derived from tomato, combined with soy isoflavins and Vitamin C. It is said to have an effect on dermal density and skin micro-texture that has similar effects on the hair.
Although the market has proved to be significant in both Europe and Japan, Kline & Company describes the US as a 'vast and untapped market, offering numerous opportunities for those looking to break into the market.'
"Competition[in nutricosmetics] is guaranteed to increase, and companies should try to gain an early advantage and position themselves as a market leader in North America to gain the best competitive advantage," said Susan Babinsky, senior vice president and head of Kline's consumer products consulting practice.
She notes that one particular company, Intelligent Nutrients, is poised to break onto the market for nutricosmetic in the United States. It is founded by Hoechst Rechelbacher, also the founder of the breakthrough Aveda business, now owned by Estee Lauder.
Billed as a responsible company, selling organically and and responsible products, it sells a range of supplements aimed at enhancing physical aspects of the body such as the skin, hair and fingernails.
Further details about this market are available in Kline & Company's study, entitled Nutricosmentics 2006: Japan, United States and Western Europe.