Natural Foods Merchandiser

Make way for supplements, functional foods

Natural practitioners have labored for years with the understanding that when it comes to outer beauty, what we put in our bodies is just as important as the products we use on the outside. Recently, manufacturers—both natural and conventional—are catching on, and have introduced a gush of edible products and supplements marketed as beauty aids. From antioxidant-packed beverage mixes to collagen-stuffed candies, these nutricosmetics appeal to shoppers' increasing interest in alternative therapies and beauty that comes naturally from within.

While many of these products aren't likely to hit the shelves at naturals retailers any time soon, the category is apt to drive interest within the naturals customer base. Armed with knowledge about research-backed beauty ingredients, you can help shoppers sift through the hype to make informed decisions about which products are best for their beauty needs.

Beverages lead way
Most U.S. companies are still just exploring or have only recently launched edible products for beauty, but the trend has been strong in Asia for several years. And while the Japanese market has embraced products such as collagen-stuffed marshmallows, most U.S. launches have been beverages touting beauty-boosting nutrients or supplements specially formulated for skin, hair and nails.

Nestle's Glowelle beverage, which comes both in bottle and powder mix, relies on antioxidants to fight the free radicals that contribute to signs of aging. The ingredients are similar to a juice drink, but with added vitamins, minerals and botanical extracts.

Toki, a beauty drink mix from Mahwah, N.J.-based Lane Labs, includes collagen peptides, glucosamine and a complex derived from hyaluronic acid and dermantanic acid. Taken internally, the ingredients can help rebuild the under layers of skin, which might be difficult to penetrate with a topical treatment, according to the company. Case studies have shown it helps reduce undereye wrinkles and discolored skin patches.

Have your candy and eat it, too?
Who could pass up a sweet treat that promises clear, bright skin? Borba, a nutraceutical and cosmeceutical manufacturer based in Woodland Hills, Calif., makes waters and gummi bears infused with vitamins, minerals and polyphenols for beauty. And though the gummi bears pack some popular antioxidant ingredients—think açai and green tea—the first ingredients don't fall far from the traditional candy tree: organic cane sugar and organic corn syrup.

Supps get beauty spin
Tremella mushroom supplements, shown to be more effective at aiding skin hydration than hyaluronic acid, are a beautifying ingredient that has been around a while, but will likely get a boost from the beauty-from-within trend. Maitake, based in East Rutherford, N.J., makes a supplement from Tremella fuciformis, following in the footsteps of ancient tradition in China, where women for centuries have eaten the mushroom for soft, pliable skin.

Another ingredient that might show up more in ingestible form: ceramides. These lipid molecules, which keep skin taught and hydrated, are depleted as people age. Los Angeles-based Soft Gel's Cerenew ingredient promises to replenish declining ceramide levels. Pycnogenol and lycopene, both research-supported skin supplement ingredients, are also popping up more often in beauty products, such as Orange, N.J.-based LycoRed's complexes.

Beauty from within

Beauty supplements from Meriden, Conn.-based Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals and El Segundo, Calif.-based Murad add L-glutamine and DMAE. Conventional beauty company Olay also introduced supplements for beauty, though they've been discontinued.

Futurebiotics, based in Hauppauge, N.Y., Nature's Benefit, based in Little Falls, N.J., and many other naturals companies offer hair-skin-nails formulas. Usually they include vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and herbs such as horsetail and olive leaf.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 24

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