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Japanese nutricosmetics ingredient goes mainstream

By Guy Montague-Jones , 03-Jun-2009

Found in beauty soup and marshmallows in Japan, the powerful antioxidant ingredient CoQ10 is entering new markets.

Currently Japan and the US dominate the market for CoQ10 but according to Euromonitor analyst Sarah Green, the ingredient has “huge potential for development” outside these markets.

Geographic expansion

Japan and the US account for 85 per cent of the global CoQ10 market but Green said the ingredient has good prospects for geographic expansion. Europe is the likely next stop for CoQ10 and it recently received a boost when Belgium approved the ingredient for sale in the country.

However, the antioxidant is unlikely to find its way into beautifying marshmallows which remain particular to the Japanese market.

Its potential lies rather in beauty supplements and anti-ageing creams. CoQ10 has already built up a following and is well-known among beauty consumers, who perhaps know it best from the top selling cream Nivea Visage Anti-Wrinkle Q10, launched in 1998.

Green said: “In cosmetic products CoQ10 has been widely used and consumers are familiar with its benefits as a beauty supplement and anti-ager.”

The ingredient has also expanded its reach from cutting edge and innovative products to the mainstream, according to Green. She gave the inclusion of CoQ10 in Aldi’s new anti-ageing range as an illustrative example.

Untapped potential

Although the ingredient is reaching some degree of maturity in the US, Green said some of its potential benefits have not been explored extensively. She said its benefits for anti-ageing could be explored further either as a single ingredient or in combination with other products.

Despite these positive comments one of the leading global suppliers of CoQ10 – Japan’s Asahi Kasei Pharma – recently announced plans to exit the market by the end of the year.

Although the company cited “continuing unprofitability”, its reasons for withdrawing CoQ10 from sale are unrelated to the strength and potential of the market. Last year, Euromonitor said sales of the ingredient increased 9 per cent globally.

However, competition for the supply of the ingredient has heated up in the last couple of years. New Chinese producers and plant extensions at existing suppliers created an oversupply situation that squeezed Asahi out of the market.

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