Despite being heralded as the future of personal care, beauty foods are not yet the worldwide phenomenon that many have predicted they would become, according to Mark Whalley, consumer markets analyst at Datamonitor and author of Opportunities in Heart Health: Consumer Attitudes & Behaviors. Beauty foods, also commonly referred to as nutricosmetics, look to incorporate appearance benefits such as antiaging properties into foods and beverages. While UK consumers are displaying a casual interest, they have not yet fully embraced the idea.
The concept of beauty foods promotes the notion of "beauty from within." Many understand that drinking water can have a hydrating effect on the skin, but it is becoming increasingly common for formulations to have positive effects on other areas of the body such as hair or nails too.
Part of the reason behind the relative lack of interest in beauty foods in the UK is the population’s lack of concern about appearance, according to the report. When asked by Datamonitor in 2008, only 25% of Brits agreed with the statement “I feel under pressure to look good,” whereas two in five (41%) disagreed. “Perhaps predictably, females felt appearance pressure more than males—35% and 15%, respectively, agreed with the statement,” said Whalley.
However, there are several encouraging signs for the industry. Beauty from within is clearly something that UK consumers believe in. “In the same survey, two thirds (68%) stated that they were conscious of the link between diet and appearance, whereas only 8% disagreed,” said Whalley, based in Manchester.
Furthermore, a separate Datamonitor survey, conducted in April and May 2009, shows that interest in these products clearly exists, but that consumers are holding back for various reasons. Only 27% of Brits said they were not interested in the idea of foods and beverages that improved personal appearance. What was more indicative of the current situation was the fact that nearly half (49%) said they were interested in but not actively buying these products. This shows that industry players need to do more to convince these consumer groups that beauty foods are worth paying good money for.
“It is likely that the economic crisis has held back the industry significantly,” said Whalley. The perceived high price of these products means that consumers are overlooking them in order to save money. However, what is really inhibiting the industry is trust, noted Whalley. “People want to believe that they can look better just by eating or drinking a product, but the truth is that many Brits are skeptical about this. Manufacturers must do all they can to convince people to really get behind beauty foods, because the interest is there. There are effective ways in which this can be done, such as gaining an endorsement from respected professional associations. This gives the consumer confidence that what they read on the packet will be a good indicator of what happens after consumption.”