What’s Next for Cosmeceuticals and Nutricosmetics?

  • Women looking for beauty products that complement a natural lifestyle are expected to drive demand for nutricosmetic products.
  • The industry must work to overcome consumers’ overriding skepticism as to the effectiveness of cosmeceutical products, and educate them on how and why cosmeceutical products differ from conventional cosmetics.
  • Effective new technologies and ingredients will continue to win over consumers.

Skin care products have evolved, with basic ingredients such as mineral oils giving way to the high tech and exotic. It’s not the anomalies on shelf that boast of nanotechnology to deliver actives or once outlandish sounding naturals such as sea kelp and red ginseng. Premium cosmetic brands, in fact, have embraced the new and unusual, and the cosmeceuticals market has provided new scope for masstige segment products—with products such as Olay Regenerist and Avon Anew quickly attracting consumer interest and demonstrating consumers’ strong awareness of these types of products.

The $14 billion global market has been posting strong single-digit growth rates. Before the economic downturn, this market would have been expected to achieve double-digit growth. In light of the current economic climate, consumer confidence has fallen and this is expected to impact demand for this niche and premium market.

Skin is What You Feed It

The nutricosmetics market was worth $1.5 billion in 2008, according to Euromonitor International, with 95% of sales generated in Europe and Japan. Due to stringent regulations, the U.S. market lags behind with only a 3% share, but interest is growing as Americans become acquainted with a wide array of functional foods and drinks that promote health. The success of functional products such as VitaminWater, Airborne and Emergen-C are strong indicators that consumers are warming to cosmeceutical and nutricosmetic products.

The launch of Viactiv Multi-Vitamin chews a few years ago was one of the most notable launches in the nutricosmetics segment. A super-vitamin targeted primarily at women, its success offers hope to similar products. Frutels continued with this vision, and launched a nutricosmetic candy bar tailored to the younger demographic in 2006. The supplement was marketed to support the body’s own defenses against acne by regulating hormone fluctuations and supplying micronutrients that are absent in poor diets.

The general trend shows that the American consumer is becoming more adventurous with tastes and textures and is becoming more open to trying out new products that claim to promote beauty. Mars Snackfood US, a division of food manufacturer Mars US, tapped into this market with Dove Beautiful and Vitalize chocolate bars, with both products claiming to stave off the early signs of aging.

Americans have typically shown great interest in supplementing their diets with products that claim to help lower cholesterol and boost immunity, and are now open to opting for products that claim to improve the skin and enhance overall beauty.

Antiaging Alluring to Graying Demographic

Markets for both cosmeceuticals and nutricosmetics are driven by the increasing consumer obsession with maintaining a youthful appearance and aging gracefully. With a growin aging population, especially in the developed markets of Europe and the U.S., demand is forecast to increase substantially.

In line with this underlying drive, cosmetic surgery has been growing in popularity among both men and women. However, this popularity is expected to wane during the current global economic downturn, and it is predicted that these consumers will turn to less intrusive and less costly alternatives such as cosmeceuticals to achieve the desired results. Concurrently, women looking for beauty products that complement a natural lifestyle are expected to drive demand for nutricosmetic products.

Sentiments Toward Nutricosmetics

Many women, along with their use of a range of beauty products, claim to take vitamin supplements. These consumers typically buy some type of nutriceutical food product on a regular basis, and thus represent the main target consumer for nutricosmetic and cosmeceutical products.

And it’s been demonstrated that women are not afraid to try nutricosmetics, and are open to the idea of sampling products that offer a range of benefits—as long as these are palatable and fit well with a busy lifestyle. Thus, nutricosmetics delivered in the form of chocolate bars, teas and yogurts are more likely to attract consumer interest.

Many ingredients included in nutricosmetics date back centuries—red wine, honey, soy, chamomile and aloe vera, for example. As supplements, food ingredients such as these that also offer additional benefits for the skin have become popular in the West thanks to their long-standing use in Asia, and helped drive the “beauty from within” concept. Leading food/beverage brands such as Evian saw an opportunity to cross over into the skin care market and position products as natural personal care.

But along with favored natural and traditional supplements with perceived skin benefits—such as green tea, aloe vera and St. John’s Wort—the popularity of high-tech ingredients in both antiaging topical skin care and dietary supplement products in the U.S. is unquestionable. And, although traditional ingredients are widely accepted, effective new technologies and ingredients win consumers’ interest and money.

Additionally, high-tech beauty products benefit from work done on ingredients for medicinal and pharmacological use. For example, researchers at Procter & Gamble took notice of reports of the non-primary benefits of glucosamine, typically used to manage arthritis. The company found that glucosamine also blocked the production of melanin, a culprit in the production of brown spots, making it a candidate for use in cosmetics. Coenzyme Q10, a naturally occurring compound found within every cell in the body, is another example of a substance researched for its wider health benefits and has now become a selling point for many skin care products.

Novel Ingredients No Guarantee for Success

As the baby-boomer generation becomes more vigilant in preventing signs of aging, which have become less and less acceptable, the cosmeceutical and nutricosmetic markets are an important growth area. The introduction of new cosmeceutical products in topical and ingestible formats will further impact the antiaging market. In part, growth will also be influenced by marketers’ success in surprising consumers with ingredients that claim to be more effective.

The economic downturn and concerns about costs, however, could significantly hinder demand for both cosmeceutical and nutricosmetic products. In addition, the industry must work to overcome consumers’ overriding skepticism as to the effectiveness of these products. Manufacturers will need to educate consumers on how and why cosmeceutical products differ from conventional cosmetics.

Some companies have strong faith in the continuing success of the cosmeceuticals market, and some, such as ingredient supplier Sabinsa, intend to launch a raft of new active ingredients aimed at fast-growing cosmeceutical markets. Nestle’s Laboratoires’ Innéov brand is currently experiencing success with its cosmeceutical range, and expects that to continue. All in all, this market could still hold room for growth despite a difficult economic climate.

Eleni Grammenou is an Euromonitor International industry analyst specializing in key trends and issues driving the global over-the-counter health care industry. She obtained a degree in business studies and marketing from Sheffield Hallam University in the U.K.

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