Special edition: Beauty from within

Nutricosmetics: ‘US market holds great potential but a few challenges must be overcome’, say suppliers

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Nutricosmetics: ‘US market holds great potential but a few challenges must be overcome’, say suppliers

Related tags Collagen Japan functional beverage beverage

New product launches containing collagen – the majority with a “beauty from within” positioning – have grown an eye-watering 250% in just four years, with Japan offering plenty of delivery and formulations lessons for Western companies.

A report from Global Industry Analysts published in February predicted the nutricosmetics market will reach US$7.4bn by 2020 – with collagen being one of its biggest drivers. The Japanese collagen beauty market is said to generate over $2.3 billion in sales. 

In Japan, beauty supplements accounted for 17% of dietary supplement sales in 2006, said Carl Freund, President – North America at Unistraw, and this figure rose to 18% by 2009, and an estimated 21% in 2014.

Japan has been at the forefront of the market, said Erika Tchang, business development manager - Wellnex Collagen Peptides for Nitta Gelatin NA.

“While beauty beverage and powders are strong delivery methods, the Japanese continue to innovate with new delivery systems, like jelly sticks, and even in collagen-infused plum wine,” ​she said. “The Japanese are using collagen as a functional ingredient and incorporating into snacks and other regularly consumed foods and beverages.”

“Knowing that the nutricosmetics market originated in Japan; certainly there are lessons the U.S. could learn,” ​said Lara Niemann, marketing director – Americas for Gelita USA. “In Japan, the notion of nutrition for beauty from within is an inherent in the quest for health and wellbeing.”

The presence of collagen is ubiquitous in Japan, said Caroline Brochard-Garnier, communication manager for Rousselot. “In Japan, consumers will find collagen products everywhere, from top-end department stores to smaller convenience, local street corner shops as well as online,”​ she said. “This multi – channel availability is definitely noticeable and adds to the convenience for the consumer.”

Such is the prevalence of collagen in products in Japan that it can be found on the grocery store shelves in products such as oatmeal, yogurts, marshmallows, café lattes, and puddings, noted Lauren Clardy, CEO of the California-based firm Nutrimarketing, who works with Nippi Collagen NA. 

Demand for collagen peptides is increasing at a conservative yet growing pace per year in Japan, added Clardy, but in China and throughout Asia it is a newer discovery. "There, demand is increasing at a rate close to 40% per year. The effective cosmetic uses of collagen as employed in Asia are now well documented by many clinical studies,"​ she said. 



It’s not all about Japan, however. Niemann picks out Brazil as a country with a strong emphasis on beauty, and a booming nutricosmetic market. Data from Euromonitor International indicated that nutricosmetics have a CAGR of 30+% in the past five to six years.

“Other markets are much more established and can be an important source of inspiration,” ​said Rousselot’s Brochard-Garnier, “and that inspiration can come from looking at successful product concepts and their sales channels in other markets and adapting them to local conditions, like beauty from within as a holistic concept as well as broadening the delivery format to include beverages, confectionery and dairy products.”

Suhail Ishaq, president of BioCell Technology, which offers the BioCell Collagen ingredient, told us that people in Japan, Southeast Asia and Latin America culturally take a more holistic approach to their health and beauty maintenance. "Perhaps, this is why the beauty from within category in these regions have outperformed western markets,"​ he said. "The skin is the largest organ of the human body. Aside from acting as a protective barrier, regulating body temperature, and providing sensory function, it also plays an important role in eliminating waste and toxins from the body.

"Americans are becoming more cognizant of this fact and are increasingly including beauty from within dietary supplements in their overall skincare regimen."​  

Europe is another market showing signs of growth, although not necessarily for skin health, said Clardy. The ingredient is important for cosmetics, but another key application predicted is in the area of bone health. "Europeans have known for years that collagen can deliver the promised improvements to bone health with none of the documented side effects of drugs,"​ she said. "Thus, demand for hydrolyzed collagen is increasing at about 5% per year in Europe.

Shifting mindsets

Despite the nutricosmetic conversation often being dominated by markets such as Brazil and Japan, the US is experiencing significant growth: Data from SPINS indicated that sales of vitamin and supplements with collagen products as a primary ingredient hit $22.7 million in 2014; up 39.5% from $16.3 million in 2013 (in 2012 it was $13 million).

The figures may be impressive, but significant challenges still exist in developing the US beauty from within market, said the suppliers.

“From a consumer perspective, a major challenge is switching people’s mindsets that Beauty From Within is as crucial as topical anti-aging regimes,” ​said Nitta Gelatin’s Tchang. “For the most part, the US tends be to a ‘lotions’ and ‘potions’ culture for skin care. It’s simply what has been ingrained in the average American consumer over the years. Consumer education is key in shifting perception.”

“US consumers in particular are highly focused on quick fixes,” ​said Gelita’s Niemann. “And, as we know, skin metabolism is not quick. Consumers are required to shift their paradigm to recognize that really impacting skin health from the inside through collagen supplementation will result in long term positive effects after only four to eight weeks!"

BioCell's Ishaq agreed that that most Americans find the idea of ingesting products for skin beauty counter intuitive but said he believes that this paradigm is shifting as a result of the renaissance of holistic and healthy living lifestyles, and people are increasingly beginning to understand that what we consume has an effect on our appearance.

"The fact is, no skin care regimen would truly be complete without efforts to nourish the skin from the inside out where topical cosmetics cannot reach. Increasingly, skin care experts are recommending nutritional supplements to promote skin health,"​ said Ishaq. 

The next level

Skin care moisturizing
"From a consumer perspective, a major challenge is switching people’s mindsets that Beauty From Within is as crucial as topical anti-aging regimes” - Erika Tchang, Nitta Gelatin

All of the suppliers interviewed agreed that the US nutricosmetics market holds great potential provided a few challenges can be overcome:

First up is to change consumer perception about collagen being more than an ingredient in topical anti-aging products and about the benefits of taking collagen as a nutricosmetic.

“The market education is ongoing but there is definitely scope to communicate and do more to convince consumers about beauty from within,” ​said Niemann. “An important tool is to tap into the research available on collagen peptides today and make it available to a broader audience and also to communicate it through trusted channels including, for instance, beauticians and dermatologists.

“Nutri-cosmetic product quality and claim credibility is essential too, and manufacturers of end products should pay attention to selecting only high quality, safe and well proven active ingredients for their beauty formulations and ensure that their suppliers can substantiate the efficacy e.g. of collagen peptides by placebo controlled clinical studies.

“The market today is better regulated and consumers are increasingly educated, which means that products which can demonstrate to have science behind will benefit in the long run.”

Unistraw's Freund said that the trend for adding collagen to everyday foods and drinks is catching on in various countries, including Nescafé with Collagen from Nestlé in other Asian countries, and the Vitagen Collagen drink from Vitagen hitting the market in Malaysia.

"It is our feeling at Unistraw that the most successful Food Based Beauty from within products will come when you combine healthy Beauty Ingredients with other natural 'good for you' beverages,"​ he said. "For instance, a Collagen Straw paired with a Water – both being important to skin and joint care."

Unistraw offers a Collagen Straw using the UDS (Unistraw Delivery System) formulated with Nippi Collagen, he explained. That specific product is being rolled out in Asia this year with, "a great deal of excitement and multiple partnerships underway,"​ said Freund. "The combination of water & collagen is a natural fit, especially as we have increased the amount of Collagen to a meaningful level in the straw.

"Significant sales are projected in ASIA in 2015 with rapid growth continuing, for the Western Markets this trend will begin to take hold in late 2015 / 2016 as influential Beauty companies get more involved,"​ he added. 

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