Beauty foods can come in all shapes and sizes, from anti-ageing yoghurts to anti-acne chocolate, and many industry analysts are predicting big things for the sector.
According to recent figures from market research company Kline, the global market for beauty foods and supplements should reach $2.5bn by 2012.
However, recent research from Datamonitor suggests that consumers, in the UK at least, may not be quite ready for the new category.
“While UK consumers are displaying a casual interest, they have not yet fully embraced the idea,” said Datamonitor analyst Mark Whalley.
According to the analyst, the financial crisis and consequent decrease in consumer spending is having an affect on the popularity of such products, as well as a lack of trust in the category.
Datamonitor figures from spring 2009 show that just a quarter of respondents were not interested in beauty foods; whereas, nearly half said they were interested but not actively buying these products.
For Whalley, this means the industry has to work harder to convince consumers that these products are worth paying for.
“It is likely that the economic crisis has held back the industry significantly,” he said, adding that consumers perceived these products to be high price items.
Sceptical of benefits
In addition, there may be problems with trust in the category and Whalley believes many Brits may be sceptical about the benefits of using such products.
One way manufacturers can convince consumers of the benefit of their products is to get endorsement from respected professional associations.
“This gives the consumer confidence that what they read on the packet will be a good indicator of what happens after consumption,” he said.
There have been a number of high profile launches in the past year combining some of the largest food and cosmetics players, but this report suggests the marketing of such products should not be ignored.
Danone’s beauty yoghurt Essensis was taken off the shelves in France earlier this year, amid criticisms from industry insiders about the product’s efficacy and marketing strategy used to back it up.