When looking back at the 2008-2009 economic downturn, naturally healthy products (like 100% fruit juice, whole grains, olive oil and honey) performed better than fortified/functional food and drink in North America. Another interesting fact is that combination dietary supplements also maintain a positive growth, albeit a slower one. With uncertain economic times ahead, the same scenario is likely to be repeated in 2012. Consumers go for natural and closer-to-home products when it comes to their food and drink intake, but are also willing to keep spending on added dietary supplements where claims can go further thanks to their status between food and medicines.
Beauty from within might attract a lot of buzz but will have a hard time convincing consumers with foods and drinks or resulting in tangible sales. Supplements are the only viable alternative but also suffer from consumers’ skepticism. Legislation in place in the U.S., Canada and the European Union is not favorable to beauty and functional claims and fuels incredulity among consumers. Claims are often difficult to prove and easily dismissed. The situation is completely different from Asia where legislation, such as the system of Food for Specified Health Use (FOSHU) introduced in 1991 in Japan, greatly helped to develop beauty claims and where beauty from within and fortified/functional food and drink have performed better than naturally healthy and combination dietary supplements during the 2008-2009 downturn.
Since the beauty from within tagline cannot be used, manufacturers have to go at it another way, using other claims which ultimately have the same results: any product claiming to make you “healthier” and feel better will also be linked somehow to make you feel more confident and beautiful. A typical example is Borba Healthy Glow Immunity Drink Mix with claims around immunity, metabolism and energy and the far-fetched tagline “healthy glow + immune system support = the power to catch more compliments.”
An overlooked ingredient with lots of potential for supplements with claims around beauty is grape seed extract. The ingredient is already successful in cosmetics with brands like Caudalie, present in Western Europe and the U.S. through hotel/spa and increasingly in beauty specialists. Grape seed is very high in antioxidants, hitting the spot for anti-aging properties. It represents the perfect combination: it has a natural origin—the name is easily recognizable and understandable by all consumers, which hits the close-to-home spot—and at the same time, since it is not eaten directly, it is still perceived as sophisticated and keeps a scientific appeal making it an ideal (and still under-used) contender as a dietary supplement. Although you can already buy grape seed extract supplements in the U.S. there has been no real attempt to boost its profile and promote it as part of a beauty routine. The development of cosmetics with grape seed extract, together with more media coverage, is likely to boost awareness of the ingredient also in food, drink and dietary supplements and create an opportunity not to be missed.