Looking Ahead to Better Days

By Rebecca Wright, Editor | September 15, 2010

The beauty-from-within market, or what we call Beauty I&O, held steady during the recession, along with the other segments that filter into the category, such as organic and natural ingredients. While growth has not been stellar, and there have been some hiccups along the way, it is impressive enough considering most industries are registering low single-digit or negative growth these days.

Still, despite the recession, the market is not growing as many experts predicted it would. And there are several reasons why. First, Americans, and most consumers around the world for that matter, are living under tighter budgets, so the added expense of a beauty food or beverage is likely deemed unnecessary. Second, consumers simply don’t believe the claims on some of these beauty foods and supplements. And third, even if consumers believed the claims, most don’t have the patience to wait for results. All of these factors can wreak havoc on nascent categories like beauty foods or nutricosmetics, where a significant education effort needs to take place in order for widespread acceptance to become a reality.
There is also the issue of finding the perfect company to champion the use of beauty foods. “This market sector lacks a new product champion like Danone’s Activia has become for probiotic yogurts. That product has been a huge rallying point for the probiotic concept, a contrast to the ‘beauty-from-within’ niche, which lacks a clear leader at the present time,” said Datamonitor’s Tom Vierhile, who is quoted in our cover story, which starts on page 18.

Mintel analyst Taya Tomasello, also quoted in our cover story, has another opinion about the lack of big brands in this market. “We’ve not seen as many of the larger brands [with beauty products] because there’s been uncertainty in the consumer goods space,” she said. “The food companies haven’t produced beauty products before and the beauty companies haven’t produced foods before.”

To really gain traction, Mr. Vierhile suggests products move beyond general beauty claims, and more toward specific skin issues like acne and sun damage. “We are seeing this market grow up somewhat as earlier generation products with a more general beauty positioning give way to products that provide more specific benefits and features,” he said. “On one level, we are seeing the number of products touting the term ‘beauty’ decline significantly over the past couple of years, but products geared toward providing benefits in specific areas including the skin, hair or nails are on the rise.”

While the current state of the market for beauty-from-within ingredients and products seems a bit stagnant at the moment, many experts predict there are brighter days on the horizon. According to Paula Simpson and Shirley Madhère, authors of this issue’s nutricosmetics piece (page 40), “…because U.S. consumers are becoming better educated regarding the effects of nutricosmetics, and the products seem to fulfill several needs that traditional cosmetics have not, the market is expected to grow faster than both the personal care and nutraceuticals sectors in the near future.”