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Nutricosmetics: Facing the Obstacles

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: September 5, 2008, from the September 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

The term “nutricosmetic” has not generated the same buzz as “natural” and “green”—yet. However, it is, in many ways, also a segment that parallels naturals, and the development of the segment will likely make comparisons to the flourishing natural segment even clearer.

Once a term not widely associated with the beauty segment, though quite familiar in the food and beverage arenas, naturals have shed a somewhat cult status to become a label widely accepted and sought after by a growing number of mainstream consumers. “Natural,” and related words such “green,” have become both immediately recognizable and graspable by consumers in the context of beauty products—though, arguably, incredibly confusing terms in this same context—and enthusiastic media coverage, and growing concerns about product safety and healthier lifestyles, in general, have helped foster the consumer drive toward these labels.

Market data demonstrates that nutricosmetics, too, is gaining ground with consumers concerned over health and wellness issues and those who generally view beauty as part of that concept. In fact, products in both segments comfortably serve the more encompassing trend in which consumers opt for any product that is deemed beneficial toward health and wellness lifestyles, as noted in the September 2008 GCI magazine feature on Page 39, “Nutricosmetics: A New Way to Beauty.” Health and wellness encompass underlying desires for both natural offerings and nutricosmetics, and parlay into the now familiar and widespread “beauty from the within” concept, which bodes well for the dollar value of nutricosmetics. The current market for the segment, according to Euromonitor International, is relatively small at $2.1 billion, accounting for 3% of the $66 billion skin care market in 2007. However, whether a supplement or a beverage/food, the nutricosmetic offers enormous potential. The vitamin and dietary supplement market is currently valued at $56 billion, and a Global Industry Analysts’ 2007 report on functional foods forecasts the functional food and beverage market to reach $109 billion by 2010—making for a very attractive line expansion option for beauty brands.

While considering how nutricosmetics may fit into their portfolios, beauty brands are fortunate to be able to travel down a road already paved by the food and beverage industry. Even the potholes, such as regulatory issues, have been mapped. This does not mean, however, that considerations for a nutricosmetic product, whether a supplement or a food/beverage, and the process for getting it onto shelves should be taken lightly.

As noted in “Eat and Drink Your Skin Care,” marketing claims, documentation and ingredients are all under regulatory scrutiny. Processes and packaging also fall under this scrutiny, and like R&D, packaging and processing may be best left to a partner well-versed in the food and beverage market.