"Ingestibles" for Personal Care

Another important crossover market has emerged in the Natural Products Industry. Not long ago, a synthesis between the nutritional supplement and food/beverage segments resulted in the formation of the functional/fortified foods category, an area still very much immersed in the growth phase of the Industry Life Cycle. Today, the Personal Care ‘Ingestibles’ market promises to meet an identified consumer demand for internal products that address skin and hair care needs. Whether or not this category will demonstrate sustainability has yet to be seen, but the initial prognosis is positive.

Market tracker Datamonitor has pioneered the initial research in this area in their recent report entitled “U.S. Functional Foods, Beverages, and Supplements: Inside Out Health and Beauty,” introduced at the Health and Beauty America (HBA) event held in New York City in September. Their research indicates that 78% of all U.S. consumers “frequently” or “sometimes” turn to functional foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements to meet their health concerns, and that the market for functional products reached $US28.1 billion in 2003. In addition, 33% of all U.S. consumers are “very” or “quite” actively engaged in maintaining their external appearance, and younger people desire these products even more than their “Baby Boomer” generation counterparts. HAPPI Magazine, in June of 2004, reported that 37% of men and 22% of women currently use ingestible supplements to improve their looks. Datamonitor has tagged the Ingestible Beauty Market at $US497million in 2003 with growth expected to reach $US943million in 2008, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.7%!

Major players are already involved. Olay Vitamins (a partnership between Proctor and Gamble and supplement maker Pharmavite), Avon Wellness’ VitAdvance (a partnership with DSM—formerly Roche), and Murad Skin Care Supplements are all examples of nutritional supplement lines targeted to those consumers seeking to improve health and wellness through enhancing their personal appearance. Green Bay, WI-based EuroPharma joins these companies and others in addressing this attractive market.

The market for personal care-oriented Ingestibles is not unlike the market for topical ingredients. The major difference is that several ingredients with topical uses are not appropriate for internal use, sometimes due to safety issues. But, there is a remarkable crossover with several of these ingredients and applications. Consumers seek supplements for hair care –to strengthen, re-grow, thicken, and maintain hair luster and overall quality. They also demand functional products effective for skin application—antioxidants, skin-firmers, and toners, as well as ingredients addressing more pressing issues such as acne and eczema. Botanically derived oils are currently on the market that address pet concerns, such as making the coat more lustrous. It is inherent in organizational product strategies that internal supplements can be used in conjunction with topical counterparts or as stand-alone products.

A major trend within the supply chain for ingestible skin and hair care products is to attain synergy through strategic partnerships, joint ventures, and other forms of alliances. Ingestible personal care products currently on the market are most often the result of an alliance between a personal care company (topical product expertise) and a nutritional supplement manufacturer (ingestible product expertise). It appears that an alliance of this sort may be the preferred way to enter such a market, as each party can leverage the experience of the other to create efficacious, safe, and stable ingredients and end user products.

The opportunity to provide products that target men and women of all ages on a global scale seems readily apparent given all of this data, and the proliferation of products on a large scale seems to be gaining momentum. It is clear that we will see an increasing number of product lines as well as more strategic alliances to address these incredible market opportunities. Further, it will be important to continue tracking consumer psychographics as well as actual scanning data in order to assess the sustainability of the market.

Darrin C. Duber-Smith, MS, MBA, is president of Green Marketing, a Colorado-based strategic planning firm offering marketing planning, marketing plan implementation, and other consulting services to natural products companies in all stages of growth. He has 15 years of specialized expertise in the natural products industry and is also assistant professor of marketing at the Metropolitan State College School of Business in Denver, CO, as well as executive director of the International Association of Natural Product Producers. He can be reached at [email protected].

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.