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The global market for nutricosmetics (products consumed to improve skin, hair, nail among others) is estimated at $1.5 billion (NZD$2.14 billion) in 2007, and is expected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2012, according to Kline Group’s market data.

Japan is the most developed market in this category while the US is the least, according to NutraIngredients.com, citing Kline’s rsearch.

The report said Europe and Japan currently lead the global market for these products, accounting for 55 and 41% of sales respectively. In contrast, the US holds only 3% of the market.

Overall, the global market for nutricosmetics grew over 10% in 2007. Factors influencing this growth include an aging population, increased consumer awareness, societal and environmental factors, a rise of the ‘spa culture’ and a shift towards less invasive beauty procedures.

Kline points out that the three main markets for nutricosmetics are very different in their nature due to varying culture, consumer expectations and legislation. As such, the markets must be tackled individually by companies developing and marketing products in this category.

Japan: The most developed market for nutricosmetics is Japan. This is the first country to make the category mainstream, and is now the most mature market with the greatest national consciousness for beauty foods.

Products sold in Japan are available at cheap prices in mass market channels. The category includes a wide range of innovative and frequently updated products, which generally focus on ‘total beauty’ with no specific claim. Prices usually range between ¥100 and ¥300 (NZD$1.4 – $4), and the market is more focused on liquid products.

Europe: The European market brings up the opposite end of the spectrum, with products positioned in the premium channel, usually sold in pharmacies with prices ranging between €20 and €40 (NZ$38 – $72).

According to the report, the European market is still largely concentrated in France, Italy, Germany, the UK and Spain. It is mainly driven by anti-aging concerns, with most products marketed for skin and hair benefits and coming in dietary supplement format.

According to Euromonitor International, one of the reasons behind the success of nutricosmetics in Japan and Europe is the widespread availability of the products. For example, 16% of all supplements sold in Japan are positioned as beauty supplements, while in Germany 11% of supplements are beauty-focused.

US: In contrast to Japan and Europe, the US market is still in the early stages of growth, with a clear focus yet to be established.

According to some analysts, the category has been slow to develop as American consumers tend to want instant results, which are not delivered by nutricosmetics.

In addition, the main retail outlet for these products is neither mass market nor pharmacies, but specialty retail stores, which charge medium prices. This in itself could be restricting the category by not targeting different consumer groups on either side of the fence, the report said.

Products sold in the US tend to be marketed only for skin and take the form of dietary supplement capsules.

CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com and NutraIngredients.com will be hosting the Beauty From Within 2010 conference in Paris on 11th October. For more information please click here http://www.nutraingredients.com/Consumer-Trends/The-global-market-for-beauty-foods

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