Something To Chew On

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | June 29, 2012

The skinny on the US nutricosmetics market.

Americans, it seems, are inundated with messages to eat right, exercise regularly and maintain healthy habits, like avoiding tobacco. While obesity rates continue to soar, more consumers say that they are latching on to trends such as eating organic fruits and vegetables, being a “locavore” and some are even exploring the raw food movement. And where their diets may be lacking, US consumers seem to make up for it with pills and capsules. According to a survey commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), 69% of US adults take dietary supplements, up from 66% in 2010, 65% in 2009 and 64% in 2008.

Now mix in the strong demand for anti-aging skin care, and that’s surely a recipe for success in the inner beauty products market.

But when it comes to ingestible products boasting beauty benefits for hair and skin, the American appetite appears to be lacking. In fact, the US nutricosmetics market has been on the decline since 2006, according to Euromonitor International analyst Claire Moulin.

Don’t blame the housing bubble; economics alone aren’t responsible for this steady slide, according to Moulin.

“It is the general suspicions of the consumer too,” she told Happi about the sector, which was valued at about $60 million last year in the US, with the bulk of revenue stemming from supplements, rather than food and beverage-type products.

Consumers are suspicious because they often believe in instant results, and nutricosmetics, Moulin said, “seem too ‘abstract.’ It takes longer to show results, which are then harder to truly evaluate.”

Clean Up in Aisle 12
Some high-profile brands, such as Borba, have media buzz, but a quick check up of the beauty-related food and beverage launches covered in past issues of Happi tells a less successful tale:
Dove Beautiful, a chocolate bar boasting skin care benefits, has been pulled from store shelves. Frutels, an acne treatment in the form of chocolate candy, looks to be out of business. Nestlé’s Glowelle, a beauty drink that was sold in both ready-made and powder form, is not on the market.
Crystal Light no longer sports“Skin Essentials” SKUs (although it does offer one of the flavor profiles from the range, only without skin-related language on the pack, according to a Kraft spokesperson).
Clif Bar no longer offers its skin-health slanted tea cake in the Luna bar range. (But interestingly enough, a mini-sample size Luna bar was packed in the June Birchbox).

But that’s not to say the cupboard is entirely bare.

For example, The Balance Bar Company, a maker of nutrition and energy bars that’s been in business since 1992, has introduced Nimble, billed as a bar for women that takes “healthy snacking a beautiful step forward,” according to Erin Lifeso, director of marketing.

Fortified with antioxidants, beta-carotene, Nimble contains FloraGLO Lutein, which in a recent clinical study was shown to significantly increase skin hydration by 38% over time in addition to improvement in skin elasticity, according to the Valhalla, NY-based company. Nimble bar also provides vital nutrients for healthy skin and seven critical ingredients for women’s bodies like protein, fiber, calcium, iron folate, and vitamins D and B6.

“We know that skin health is affected both externally and internally—with what you put in your body being just as important, if not more important, than what you put on your skin—so a nutrition bar with a beauty bonus seemed like the next big step for the category,” said Lifeso.

While Lifeso talked up Nimble’s great flavor profile (peanut butter and yogurt orange swirl are the choices), she acknowledged that there’s work to be done to get consumers to bite.

“There are still believability barriers though, as we are just beginning to scratch the surface on providing added benefits within products like nutrition/energy bars and beverages, so education is key to convert consumers to being more open,” she said.

The Rising Beverage Company is another firm banking on the growing acceptance of nutricosmetics. This Newport Beach, CA-based firm recently refreshed its line of Activate beverages with a packaging overhaul. The new look is designed to call out the brand’s point of difference and determine which Activate SKU meets a customer’s lifestyle as the line includes a number of “concepts” from Activate Defend to Activate Beauty.

In addition, there are now enhanced instructions on how to operate the cap, which stores the vitamins separately from the water. When the cap is twisted counterclockwise, vitamins—like tea polyphenols, bilberry extract, acai extract, EGCG and aloe vera extract in the beauty SKU—are released into the water.

Collagen Chasers

You Tonics offers collagen renewal concentrates.
French company Laboratorie Biocyte, which has been selling nutricosmetics since 2006, has been expanding into new countries in the EU and is now eyeing the US market, Frédérick Lécy, general manager told Happi last month as his firm took part in HBA’s Splash Pavilion. It is seeking a distributor in the US for its extensive range of nutricosmetics, which includes Biocyte Collagen shots and Collagen Express sticks. The shots are concentrates that contain collagen, hyaluronic acid, coenzyme Q10 and L-Arginine, while the powder sticks, when mixed into water, provide five grams of bio-available collagen.

As it seeks entry stateside, Biocyte will find itself up against brands with a bit more longevity in the US collagen beverage market, namely direct seller Votre Vu, and YouTonics, a family-owned company in Fort Meyers, FL.

Votre Vu’s SnapDragon beverage, which has been the company’s top-seller for three years, blends drinkable collagen, calcium, seven essential daily vitamins and botanicals such as mango, pomegranate and açai berry juices, green, white, and red teas, aloe vera, foti, ginkgo biloba and baobab fiber.

Rolled out in 2010, YouTonics have been engineered using a hydrolyzed collagen to combine the power of porcine collagen, plus amino acids (arginine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine and tryptophan). A 1oz daily serving delivers 16 grams of protein and provides significant anti-aging advantages and overall health benefits, according to the company.

The range, which includes Melon Burst and Orange Twist concentrates as well as Berry Bliss and Dragon Kiwi protein waters, can be found in GNC, Harris Teeter, Walgreens and Giant/Eagle stores as well as on Amazon.com and Drugstore.com.

Pill Poppers
Supplements designed for hair, skin and nails remain the biggest piece of the nutricsometics market, according to industry observers.

Lifes2good, maker of Viviscal, a hair loss supplement product that targets thinning hair, is expanding with a new SKU for women with “hurt and damaged” hair stemming from heat treatments, chemical treatments, coloring, extensions, poor diet, pollution and stress.Viviscal Hair Repair tablets are the firm’s first hair growth products “to deliver a targeted solution for damaged, over-styled hair that works from the inside out,” said Mark Holland, CEO. The line is stocked at Rite-Aid and online at www.viviscal.com.

Nimble by Balance Bar is a new snack that boasts skin benefits.
Jarrow Formulas, Los Angeles, has rolled out a new skin-specific supplement called Skin L&P, which contains antioxidants and “clinically tested ingredients known to reduce skin cell damage and associated production of pigments.” The formulation includes glutathione, one of the body’s most important protective agents for both the liver and skin and plays an important role in regulating melanin activation in response to sunlight, according to the company. The blend also features vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, tocotrienols, hydroxytyrosol and astaxanthin.

Nutricosmet is a new natural and organic anti-aging supplement program available from Nutrilys Del Mar, a Carlsbad, CA-based wellness company. Under the Nutricosmet umbrella are premium oyster powder, wild Alaskan sockeye salmon oil and wild organic seaweed, a fucoidan supplement, which are designed to help improve skin when taken together as a regimen.

When it comes to improving skin texture Pycnogenol, the antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, was found to improve skin hydration and elasticity in women, based on results clinical trial conducted at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Dusseldorf. In the study, published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 20 healthy women (ages 55-68 years) were given 75mg of pycnogenol a day for 12 weeks. Skin hydration, skin elasticity and skin fatigue were assessed by non-invasive biophysical methods at trial start and after six and 12 weeks. In addition, each time, a biopsy was obtained to assess gene expression of HAS-1 and COL1A1 and COL1A2. The study found that Pycnogenol elevated COL1A1 by 29% and COL1A2 by 41% and increased hyaluronic acid production in skin by 44%. Further, Pycnogenol enhanced skin elasticity by 25% percent and skin hydration by 8%.

Proof for Purchase
Proponents contend new clinical studies will help inner beauty products take hold in the US.
“New, well-designed scientific human trials show definite skin, hair and nail rejuvenation benefits from inside-out oral cosmetics. Prior studies were either too small or not well-designed for us to be sure,” said Dr. Aaron Tabor, who has rolled out a new line of skin care and dietary products in connection with Healthy Directions, a provider of nutritional supplements.

“Treating beauty from the inside-out with active supplements ensures that we are nourishing the living stem cells responsible for the regeneration rate of new cells. Topical treatments only treat the superficial surface area of the skin, hair, and nails to which the product is applied versus the entire body with internal oral cosmetics. Additionally, all of our skin, hair and nail cells that we can see are already dead, so unless a topical product active can achieve deep penetration, it isn’t reaching the most important cells for regeneration,” said Dr. Tabor.

Dr. Tabor’s Good Night Duo is a cream and a nightly supplement that work together.

Dr. Tabor’s Good Morning Duo features Good Morning Anti-Aging Moisturizer to hydrate and nourish the skin all day and Good Morning Anti-Aging Beauty Nutrients supplement. The Good Night Duo features Good Night Collagen Rejuvenator Cream, a lipid-rich cream that fights the signs of aging while users sleep and Good Night Replenishing Beauty Nutrients, a nighttime supplement that repairs free radical damage that ages skin cells, restores hydration, and rebuilds the moisture barrier during sleep. All of the formulations feature Neurocellular Core-T Complex, a group of eight core ingredients—kiwi seed, olive fruit, kudzu, tocotrienols, astaxanthin, hyaluronic acid, lutein and biotin.

“The complex targets all layers of skin important for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and creases, firming and toning, hydrating, and reducing redness,” said Dr. Tabor. “My strongest ingredients focus on the dermal-epidermal junction which is the key layer in wrinkle formation. Other ingredients focus on facial bone health as new studies reveal that shrinking facial bones contribute heavily to the appearance of an aged, tired look.”

Great Expectations?
The global herbal supplements and remedies market is forecast to reach $107 billion by 2017, fueled by a growing aging population and increasing consumer awareness about general health and well being, according to a new report from Global Industry Analysts.

And there seems to plenty of room for deeper penetration among US consumers, especially if you listen to nutrition experts. They contend Americans need all the help they can get when it comes achieving a healthy diet—much less one that promotes healthy looking skin and hair.

“Unfortunately the average person who eats the Standard American Diet is not getting enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to prevent premature aging. Beauty aside, most do not eat or take in enough nutrients to promote health and well-being,” said holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy, who recently worked with the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA). “So the side benefit of taking supplements for beauty is that they may help with other health concerns too.” For example, McCarthy said if someone were to supplement with a high quality omega 3 fish oil to improve their skin, they would also be reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, enhancing detoxification and improving their brain health.

The symbiotic relationship between health and beauty and the overarching anti-aging/wellness trend could be a reason behind some recent high-profile investments by some of the biggest players in personal care.

Activate’s line of beverages includes a beauty SKU.
In May, Amway announced that will invest $180 million to significantly expand US manufacturing and processing capacity for Nutrilite vitamin, mineral and dietary supplements, including building a new $81 million nutrition plant. A sizeable investment indeed, but Amway chairman Steve Van Andel and apresidentDoug DeVos see the Nutrilite brand as a key component of their firm’s future growth; nutrition product sales last year accounted for 45%, or $4.7 billion, of the company’s total take.

Even P&G appears to be on a track towards wellness, and not just by shedding brands like Pringles. In late March, the consumer products giant acquired long-standing dietary supplement maker New Chapter, based in Brattelboro, VT.

A P&G spokesperson told Happi’s sister publication Nutraceuticals World that the deal was consistent with its health care business strategy, which is to “enter/expand fast growing categories that serve the wellness and aging mega trends.”

Amy Ziegler, global personal care analyst with Mintel contends that beauty brands have the best opportunity to leverage their expertise in the inner beauty market.

“Consumers can relate to their expertise. They can segue into the category and can bring in more consumers,” she said.

So, does that mean Olay Vitamins will make a comeback?

“Maybe there is opportunity for brands that gave it a go the first time to come back,” suggested Ziegler. “It will be interesting to see where P&G takes this. For beauty companies that have a stake in anti-aging, it is easier to purchase expertise. I think we will see more companies following.”
And hopefully more customers will come too.

Proponents believe the inner beauty concept will sink in with US consumers, simply because they demand results—and as Dr. Tabor contends, they aren’t getting that with lotions, creams, salves and serums alone.

“Topical only products continue to fail over and over again. That’s why most major brands have 10 or more nighttime creams.” insisted Dr. Tabor. “If the night time cream formulation and technology really work, then why do you need 10 different versions of it?”

“Topicals have been applied for thousands of years,” Dr. Tabor continued. “It is time to fully treat 100% of the signs of aging, and that can only occur through a carefully engineered product line that pairs the best proven topicals with the best proven internals.”

A Housecleaning Supplement
• Are we destined to see a Mr. Clean vitamin on store shelves?
In a recent survey released by The Vitamin Shoppe, the vitamin and nutritional products retailer asked participants the following question: “If your significant other could take a vitamin to improve upon any of the following areas, which would you choose?”

While the No. 1 response was listening (50%), cleaning (43%) topped areas such as physique (37%) and even “bedroom” skills (32%).

Related End-User Markets:

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