A flurry of product launches in the UK and US suggests skincare made with food ingredients is set to gain momentum. Although it’s currently fairly niche, there is potential to develop mainstream offerings that are formulated with nutritive food ingredients for healthier skin.

Food ingredients for skin nutrition

41% of US females aged 18-34 use an oral supplement designed to enhance their appearance.

As predicted by Mintel Beauty and Personal Care Trend ‘Gastronomia,’ there has been a recent surge of face and neck care launches in the UK and US that mention ‘food.’ These brands discuss concepts along the lines of food for beautiful skin, wholesome nourishment for the skin, or superfood actives. Others promote their use of food- or supplement-grade ingredients.

Formulating facial skincare with food ingredients not only appeals to those looking for more natural, often organic-certified beauty products, but it also fits with the fact that younger Millennials link healthy eating and intake of nutrients or supplements with a better complexion. Those who have already switched on to ‘inside-out’ beauty will be more ready to accept the ‘outside-in’ beauty potential of using nutritious food ingredients in facial skincare. In fact, 41% of US females aged 18-34 use an oral supplement designed to enhance their appearance, according to Mintel’s latest research on vitamins, minerals and supplements in the US.

Increased desire for nutrient-dense products

Healthy-eating elements of food are already mainstream in facial skincare in terms of botanicals and herbal extracts – the bedrock of natural positioning – and antioxidants, which are usually associated with fruit extracts. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), botanical/herbal extracts are used by almost two in every three global face and neck care product launches, while inclusion of antioxidant claims have fallen to below one in five products in recent years. Antioxidants may have lost some of their original impact and botanicals are now very much the norm.

‘Outside-in’ beauty innovation with healthy foods now needs to focus more on the aspirational aspects of eating healthily. In this respect, more than four in 10 UK females aged 16-24 have not yet adopted but are interested in eating a diet that’s rich in nutrient-dense foods, according to Mintel’s research on attitudes toward healthy eating. An emphasis on using highly-nutritious food ingredients in facial skincare positioning would resonate with this target group, who also heavily over-index in their desire to consume more organic and vegan products.

New approaches to skincare nutrition

Nutrient-dense food ingredients in skincare products may resonate with young Millennial women in Europe and America, and can also add organic and vegan labels. Brands could look to the Asia-Pacific markets for inspiration in this regard. South Korea, Japan and China are still very much the leaders in skincare products that include ‘food’ as a key or additional aspect of their positioning. Moreover, brands in these markets often use highly nutritive food ingredients, which are used less in facial skincare in Europe and America.

Innovative ingredients can include fermented foods such as yogurt and rice, protein-rich tofu and eggs, vegetables that are rich in fiber and vitamins, as well as vividly-colorednutrient-dense vegetables and fruit. Face and neck products could follow the Asian trends for using colorful foods for optimum health, with green, red, purple and black foods all perfect for the ‘outside-in’ beauty that will appeal to young females in Europe and America.

David Tyrrell is a Global Skincare Analyst, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel. He provides analysis of consumer skincare needs and behaviors, ingredient and product assessments and competitive insights that impact business interests of skincare companies across the globe.

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