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Nutricosmetics: Eat and Drink Your Skin Care

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: September 5, 2008, from the September 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

When Horst Rechelbacher founded the Aveda Corporation in 1978 to produce botanically based salon hair care products, he couldn’t have fathomed selling his company 19 years later to The Estée Lauder Companies for $300 million. However, the acquisition allowed him to pursue a new entrepreneurial path—founding Intelligent Nutrients, a company utilizing 100% food-based, organically certified ingredients. Launching 24 SKUs, that include an antioxidant-infused chocolate bar, a whole foods bar, and liquid and tablet-sized dietary supplements, in June 2008 to North American medical spas, salons and boutique retailers, Intelligent Nutrients is just one of hundreds of companies around the globe expanding from topical beauty care into the nutricosmetics market.

Points of Entry

Organic food bars and supplements aren’t the only points of entry into nutricosmetics. Like its French competitor, Danone Essensis—the vitamin-fortified skin care yogurt—Russia’s Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods launched the first probiotic drink and functional yogurt of its region in 2007. The Neo Beauty line—formulated with aloe vera, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins—claims to improve the overall health of skin, nails and hair. “By the end of this year, we hope to have 100 million sales,” says Marina Kagan, head of public affairs, Wimm-Bill-Dann.

Similarly, in 2007, Nestlé Hong Kong introduced Day & Night collagen yogurt drinks to improve skin moisturization and elasticity. Firmer skin and other popular marketing claims have elevated collagen as one main ingredient in many nutricosmetics products, especially in Asian beverages. Japan’s Nippon Milk Community’s Kirapuru Lactic Acid Bacteria Drink claims to firm skin with 1,000 mg of collagen per pack, as does Toki, a lemon-flavored powdered collagen supplement introduced to the U.S. by way of Japan in 2002.

“In Japan, oral cosmeceuticals such as collagen, hyaluronic acid and ceramide are the most popular ingredients for this category,” says Yoichiro Sugimura, senior director of scientific affairs and business development, Kyowa Hakko USA. “Historically, many herbs have been thought of and used for optimal health. In Japan, there is a saying that ‘food is the best medicine,’ so people are willing to think that certain foods are good for health, including skin health.”

Another way consumers ingest collagen is to eat it. Eiwa Confectionary’s marshmallows are enriched with collagen to reduce the signs of aging. Hot and Sour Wonton Vermicelli, from Singapore’s Myojo Foods Company, features collagen and vitamin C. In South Korea, Goliath’s Orion Corp. sells Mi in Gumi Collagen Jelly, and similarly, Japan’s Asahi Food & Healthcare Co., Ltd. offers Soaking Collagen Water Jelly.