Vitamins, Natural Actives Lead U.S. Market Growth for C&T Specialty Raw Materials

LITTLE FALLS, N.J., Apr 27, 2004 -- Spurred on by sustained demand for anti-aging skin care products and natural ingredients, cosmetic actives will continue to lead all other categories of specialty raw materials used in cosmetics and toiletries in terms of U.S. market growth, according to a recently published study by Kline & Company.

SPECIALTY RAW MATERIALS FOR COSMETICS AND TOILETRIES, Volume IV: United States 2004 predicts that demand for active ingredients, including vitamins, botanical extracts, and polysaccharides, will grow by more than 5% annually over the next five years, reaching 6.6 million lb by 2008. This more than doubles the average annual growth rate forecast by Kline for the C&T specialty raw materials market as a whole.

"Consumers have come to expect not only primary benefits from C&T products, like cleansing and moisturizing, but also therapeutic effects like wrinkle reduction," says Gillian Morris, chemicals industry manager for Kline. "At the same time, companies that market products featuring botanicals and vitamins have really capitalized on the natural wellness trend."

The convergence of these two trends has resulted in dramatic increases in demand over the past ten years for active ingredients like vitamin E acetate, grape seed extract, soy isoflavones, and polyphenols from green tea. These naturally derived materials act as antioxidants, skin conditioners, and moisturizers. Other naturally sourced actives used in skin care and hair care products include chitosan (derived from shrimp shells), phycopolysaccharides (derived from seaweed), and beta-glucans (extracted from yeast or fungi).

"C&T manufacturers used to put vitamins and botanicals in their products just to be able to position them as 'natural' or 'healthy.' Now there's data to support claims of efficacy for many of these actives, and the manufacturers are drawing in consumers with both marketing aspects," says Morris.

Vitamin E exemplifies this evolution in the use of natural actives in C&T products. Until recently, it was added to niche products for "enrichment" and "nourishing" claims. Now vitamin E is included in products across the anti- aging spectrum for its powerful antioxidant functionality, and it is also used in hair care products.

Vitamin C has also seen more widespread use as an antioxidant in skin care products. The problem of its instability in the presence of oxygen has been addressed by companies like BASF and DSM with the introduction of derivative forms such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate. Novel encapsulation technologies have also been developed to preserve the activity of the compound until it reaches the skin.

Even though the novelty appeal of using vitamins has been exploited by C&T marketers for many years, consumption is still increasing, especially since synthetic grades of materials like vitamin E are now favorably priced. Some formulators are using a mixture of natural and synthetic vitamin E forms, rather than 100% natural forms, when "natural vitamin E" is claimed on the label.

Natural/synthetic blends are expected to expand the range of naturally derived actives and extend the anti-aging trend well into the future. New controlled delivery systems designed to stabilize compounds that are not useable under normal formulation conditions should also provide C&T manufacturers with many more options to meet the ever-present demand for more effective and versatile active ingredients.

SPECIALTY RAW MATERIALS FOR COSMETICS AND TOILETRIES: A Global Series of Regional Market Analyses is a comprehensive, multivolume study examining specific supply and demand issues for the major consuming regions as well as emerging markets. Volume I: Asia-Pacific (covering the markets for China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia), Volume II: Western Europe, Volume III: Japan, and Volume IV: United States are all available by subscription.

Established in 1959, Kline & Company ( is an international business consulting firm serving the specialty raw materials, specialty chemicals, and consumer products industries.

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