The Nutricosmetics Market

July 1, 2008

Tasty new snacks and beverages are addressing beauty concerns. Will this whet the American appetite for nutricosmetics?

Nutrisoda Radiant from Ardea Beverage Company is a sparkling pomegranate-blackberry flavored drink that contains skin-enhancing ingredients.
The Nutricosmetics Market

Tasty new snacks and beverages are addressing beauty concerns. Will this whet the American appetite for nutricosmetics?

Christine Esposito
Associate Editor

With vitamins C and E, biotin, zinc and phytonutrients, Beautiful nourishes and hydrates the skin. Where can consumers find this new skin treatment? Try the candy aisle. It’s a Dove milk chocolate bar from Mars Snackfood.
The Mount Olive, NJ-based chocolatier is just one company touting functional foods and beverages considered nutricosmetics—the nexus of personal care and nutrition science.
Market research firm Kline & Company values the global nutricosmetic market at $1.5 billion, with Europe and Japan accounting for a whopping 96% of sales.  While the U.S. is clearly lagging behind, accounting for just three percent of sales on a global level, there is growing interest in these products, especially as Americans become acquainted with a wider array of functional foods and drinks that promote health.
“In the past several years, U.S. consumers have become very receptive to nutritional supplements. The success of Emergen-C, Airborne and Vitamin Water are all indicators that nutraceuticals’ mainstream popularity has grown,” said Chris Chitty, director of marketing and public relations for Frutels LLC, a New York company that sells an eponymous ingestible acne-fighting product.    
“U.S. consumers are taking more ownership of their health,” added Kristen Smith, director of wellness with Andrea Beverage Company, a Minneapolis, MN company that manufactures a line of nutrient-enhanced sparkling beverages which addresses a range of health and wellness issues.   
While Americans are showing greater interest in supplements and functional foods and beverages that claim to lower cholesterol or boost immunity, the “inner route” to beauty remains the road less traveled. Stakeholders, however, see beauty as an offshoot of the overall wellness trend, and they believe their new products—and a healthy serving of awareness—will whet the American appetite for nutricosmetics.

Candy Shop Skin Care

Despite the myth about the chocolate-acne connection and Mom’s warnings to lay off the sweets, companies are pitching candy bars and other treats that are good for consumers and their skin. Not since Willy Wonka’s dream of Supervitamin Chocolate—which contained huge amounts of vitamin A and vitamin B…and vitamins C, E, F, G, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z, but not vitamin S or H—has there been so much hope for candy.
With the launch of Dove Beautiful, Mars hopes to take advantage of two seemingly contradictory trends: Americans’ interest in health and wellness and their desire to be indulgent.  “Consumers are becoming more adventurous when it comes to taste and texture, and they are willing to spend more on indulgence and health,” said Ryan Bowling, public relations manager at Mars Snackfood U.S. According to Mr. Bowling, the target customer for Dove Beautiful and its sister bar Vitalize (which addresses energy) are women ages 25-49, which mirrors the marketing plan of almost every anti-aging skin care line.
Forget what Mom told you. Debunking the myth that chocolate causes acne, Frutels LLC has developed a new chocolate acne care product.
Frutels is targeting a slightly younger demographic with its acne care vitamin gummy. Launched in 2006, the supplement has ingredients that “support the body’s own defenses against acne by regulating hormone fluctuations, supplying critical micronutrients absent in poor diets and alleviating the effects of stress on the body.”  In independent and in-house testing, 73% of people who took two Frutels a day saw an improvement in their acne in two weeks or less.
Building on its success, Frutels is ready to roll out a new chocolate variety that delivers the same benefits as its original product. Despite the taboos, the new flavor choice was a no-brainer. Not only does cocoa boast 300 times the antioxidant capacity as blueberries, it is the most popular candy in terms of annual sales and “it also has a superior taste formula for carrying a vitamin formula,” said Mr. Chitty. “Our new product seeks to overturn this taboo and give people the opportunity to indulge in a chocolate that will actually help their skin.”
Mars and Frutels aren’t the only companies touting yummy snacks that promote beauty from the inside out.  Two European firms are expanding their ranges and distribution, a nod to continued demand for these products internationally.   
Inside Out Beauty Ltd., a UK-based company that touts Sip, a flavored water with beauty benefits, has extended its brand with new iced lollipops. LicketySip iced lollies—available in mango, lemon and blackcurrant—contain skin-friendly ingredients such as rose petal extract sourced from an organic farm, as well as vitamin C and selenium. They have no preservatives or artificial sweeteners or colors and are flavored with fruit extracts.
Recognizing the importance of media buzz and information in a brand’s success, the company launched Sipdrink.com, which provides details on the beverage with a fashion and beauty editorial slant. According to the London-based company, the website explains why good hydration is integral to skin health and well-being in an adult tone of voice that sets it apart from the “dumbed-down talk that tends to go hand-in-hand with functional drinks.”
“We wanted to develop our own credible voice for Sip,” company co-founder Kate Shapland said in a press release. “Our target market’s understanding of what is good for their skin and health is as refined as their taste and they expect an authoritative explanation as to why Sip and its ingredients are beneficial.”
Magic Fruits Beauty Snack GmbH, which launched a beauty snack in Austria in 2006, continues to expand distribution throughout Europe. The snack—which contains vitamins, trace elements and secondary plant compounds contained in freshly picked fruit—is now available in Germany and Switzerland, and will make its debut in Holland, Hungary, Scandinavia and Great Britain by the end of the year.
Aimed at women 25-49 years old, Dove Beautiful boasts cocoa flavanols and a range of vitamins to nourish and hydrate the skin.
In the U.S., Clif Bar & Co. has expanded its Luna franchise with new Luna Tea Cakes, a 95% organic cookie-style bar. Three varieties are available including Orange Blossom For Healthy Skin, which boasts beta carotene, magnesium, mopper, B vitamins and omega-3. The bars, which are available nationwide at natural food stores, are $1.49 each.

Drink Up!

For Tea Cakes, Luna teamed with The Republic of Tea, a company that boasts a wide range of specialty teas, including some with beauty-based functionality. The company’s Be Well Red Tea collection includes Get Gorgeous, an herbal tea that promotes healthy skin with South African Rooibos, a naturally caffeine-free, anti-allergenic herb recognized for antioxidant properties. Get Gorgeous, which has been available since 2006, also includes skin-soothing chamomile flowers rich in anti-inflammatory azulene, orange peel with bioflavonoids to strengthen veins and cell walls, hibiscus flowers for vitamin C, hormone-balancing chaste berry and burdock root.
In March, the Novato, CA-based tea maker added Get Growing, a Rooibos-based tea for healthier hair, nails and bones. It includes mineral-rich herbs such as horsetail (which provides silicon and silicic acid known to increase the absorption of calcium), nettle leaves to encourage hair growth and shine and oatstraw to promote nail growth.
Other companies are promoting beauty-enhancing beverages in a variety of formats from flavored waters to sodas.
In the UK, Works With Water Nutraceuticals offers Beauty, a water flavored with natural raspberry and rose, which reportedly improves skin within weeks.
“Beauty foods and beverages are an emerging trend and we have been researching the opportunity to develop a cosmeceutical water for several years,” said founder Jules Birch. According to Ms. Birch, the key factor was finding ingredients with “solid, scientifically proven efficacy that were totally water-soluble.”

Works with Water's Beauty water contains Praventin, a bioactive protein rich in lactoferrin.
Developed in partnership with DKSH Great Britain, Beauty contains Praventin, a clinically proven bioactive protein rich in lactoferrin, which supports the complexion by reducing the inflammation associated with acne blemishes and the bacteria that cause them. Each 500ml bottle of Beauty contains 0.1g of Praventin as well as high-grade aloe vera.

For those who want fizz in their skin care regimen, Ardea Beverage Company has the answer. Its Nutrisoda Radiant beverage contains L-lysine, L-proline and L-arginine (to help stimulate and maintain the body’s production of collagen for soft tissue), alpha lipoic acid, vitamins D and A and selenium. “From a dietician’s perspective, the level of nutrients is significant,” said Ms. Brooks of Ardea, which is billing Radiant as “the facial that quenches your thirst.” 
Just in time for summer, Ardea has added 12 oz. glass bottles in addition to its original cans, and is embarking on The Good Life Tour, a West Coast mobile sampling effort with a green twist. As part of the tour, Ardea is linking up with non-profit group Trees for the Future to offer an interactive virtual tree planting booth where people support reforestation projects around the world and offset their carbon footprint. Nutrisoda’s Good Life team will travel in a Highlander Hybrid donated by Toyota.
Even with smart marketing and sound ingredients, Ardea recognizes that the way to a consumer’s heart is through her mouth. “Taste is critical,” said Ms. Smith. “It is not easy to make this level of vitamins and minerals taste this refreshing.” She said the company’s flavor lab in Louisville, KY was instrumental in building Radiant’s refreshing pomegranate and blackberry flavor.

What a Pill!

Taste doesn’t matter nearly as much in the supplement side of the nutricosmetics market, where proponents contend a quick swallow delivers key nutrition that benefits skin, hair and nails. And while P&G pulled the plug on its ingestible beauty products, others hope their new supplements will win over mass consumers. 
Earlier this year, Sally Hansen launched a new nutritional collection that includes topical Nail Nutrition Daily Growth Treatment and Nail Essentials Dietary Supplement. This once-a-day supplement delivers 3mg of Biotin to stimulate growth, smooth ridges and increase nail strength by 25%, according to the company. In addition, it contains vitamins to help neutralize free radicals that may compromise healthy nail growth and cystine and MSM, natural sources of sulfur that help form the supporting structure of nails.   
Beiersdorf has added a new dietary supplement that works in conjunction with Nivea Good-bye Cellulite gel-cream.
Beiersdorf is also touting a new supplement to be used in conjunction with a topical product. The Nivea Good-Bye Cellulite Body Beauty Program pairs daily application of Nivea Good-Bye Cellulite Gel-Cream and new dietary supplements to deliver firmer skin in two weeks and reduce the appearance of cellulite in four weeks. The supplements—which contain conjugated linoleic acid, L-carnitine, gelatin, glycerol, mate leaf extract, soybean oil, vitamin E and soy lecithin—can be taken up to three times a day. For $18, consumers get a 6.7-oz. supply of Gel-Cream and 30 capsules.
According to Nicolas Maurer, vice president of marketing at Beiersdorf, success will come from Nivea’s “holistic umbrella” approach in which consumers see the supplement stocked alongside other Nivea treatment products, not in the dietary supplement section. Savvy online marketing should help too. To date, 60,000 women have entered the Good-Bye Cellulite Hello Bikini Challenge at www.niveausa.com. During the four-week challenge, each woman tracks her performance as she is coached and provided with tips on nutrition, fitness, skin care and style.
For those who do don bikinis, there’s a new option when it comes to sun protection. XenaCare Holdings Inc. has launched SunPill, a dietary supplement formulated with a fern extract found in tropical climates. While users still need to use a topical product with SPF 15 during prolonged sun exposure, Alan Xenakis, CEO and chairman of XenaCare, says a “person can take SunPill and then worry about other stuff, like Little League or going to work. They don’t have to worry about the sun.”
Dr. Xenakis hopes SunPill will someday be as ubiquitous as Chapstick—an “impulse item” that consumers equate with good health.  So far, the product has been picked up by two major drug chains and will be stocked at independent pharmacies and retailers in beach communities. Mass retail distribution will begin next spring, according to the Delray Beach, FL firm. 
Howard Murad’s sun supplement is already successful. A recent visit to Murad’s website found Pomphenol Sunguard listed as “currently oversold.” The key to Sunguard is pomegranate, which Dr. Murad says has demonstrated benefits when taken orally. “You still have to put on sunscreens, but Sunguard improves the SPF of sunscreens,” he said.

Help or Hype?

Even Dr. Murad—a long-time proponent of supplements and the internal route to beauty—admits nutricosmetics have been slow to catch on with consumers in the U.S., despite the obvious link between diet and health.
“It makes so much sense to me; you are what you eat. But people are accustomed to thinking of it as topical skin care. They look at skin as a separate organ unrelated to the rest of the body,” said Dr. Murad.
Critics contend supplements and functional foods offer more hype than help, despite millions of dollars being invested by marketers and thousands of studies.
“It is important to do the studies. But the marketing is getting ahead of the science,” said Daniel B. Yarosh, president and chairman of AGI Dermatics and author of “The New Science of Perfect Skin: Understanding Skin Care Myths and Miracles for Radiant Skin at Any Age.”
In his book, Dr. Yarosh points out that while there is no perfect diet, whole foods are beneficial for good health, and when it comes to skin, general nutritional rules apply. “There are no special nutritional rules for skin,” he said. “If your health is good, your skin is good. If you are depressed, your skin shows it.”
The Republic of Tea's Get Growing promotes healthy hair, nails and bones.
Still Dr. Yarosh doesn’t discount supplements entirely. “It’s not to say supplements won’t work. If they make you feel better or you have a deficient diet, then you need to take them. If you have a particular diet for health reasons or to lose weight, they probably can help. But if you have wrinkled skin, it is unreasonable, based on today’s evidence, to think a supplement will work.”

What’s Ahead

As experts debate their benefits, nutricosmetics and functional foods have caught the eyes of big players inside and outside the beauty industry, suggesting nutricosmetics will remain an area of focus.
For example, last fall, Anheuser-Busch signed an agreement with Borba to distribute and market its Skin Balance Waters and Aqua-Less Crystallines. Eyes are on Danone to see if it will bring Essensis, a “beauty” yogurt available in Europe, to the U.S. Rumors continue to swirl around the launch of Lumaé, a health and beauty soda from Coca-Cola and Nestlé, which owns a stake in L’Oréal. Kelly Brooks, a Coca-Cola media relations staffer told Happi that the company has “not announced or confirmed” the potential beauty beverage/brand, but “is always looking at new ideas for beverage innovation.” Just last month, Intelligent Nutrients, headed by Horst Rechelbacher, unveiled new certified organic health and beauty products including Intellimune oil and tablets, which deliver key antioxidants to prevent premature aging and combat oxidative stress. The Minneapolis, MN company has also incorporated this blend of organic ingredients in its topical body, hair and skin formulations.
According to Datamonitor, sales of functional foods in the U.S. are expected to rise 4.7% a year to $10.6 billion by 2012.  But will U.S. consumers increase their consumption of nutricosmetics specifically?
If the performance of Frutels is any indication, they might. After being stocked at one independent drug store in New York City and moderate online sales in 2007, Frutels can be found in more than 50 retailers and has thousands of online customers. “Sales are shaping up to be a 300% increase over 2007,” said Mr. Chitty, “and we expect our new chocolate product to be a blockbuster.”