Why Consumers Love ‘Beauty Food’

Beauty is in the eye of the food shopper, according to data released by Mintel. The research company’s Beauty Innovation division found that food and drink launches with a “beauty enhancing” claim increased 306 percent worldwide between 2005 and 2008.

This demand has sparked a flurry of innovation in this category. The number of new teas, snack bars and other products promising to reverse the aging process or improve the consumer’s complexion, nails and hair have already surpassed last year’s total. Some 299 products have already premiered around the world this year. Last year, 288 such products debuted.

In the U.S., there was an 850 percent increase in the launch of these alleged beauty-enhancing in a three-year span. While six new products were launched in 2005, 57 were premiered in 2008.

“These numbers really point to an opportunity within this new segment in the beauty industry,” said Taya Tomasello, senior beauty analyst at Mintel, in a statement.

In last year’s “Functional Beverage Report,” the company found that 21 percent of women, and 11 percent of men expressed interest in trying a drink positioned as a beauty beverage. This interest in beauty-enhancing food and drinks skews younger, with 26 percent of those aged 18-24 expressing an interest and 23 percent of those aged 25-34 saying the same.

Mintel released these findings to coincide with this year’s HBA Expo for personal care and beauty products, taking place in New York City on September 15-17. The company is sponsoring a showcase of new food and beverage products promising to enhance beauty.