The link between food and health is certainly nothing new. People all over the world have used edibles for more than simply filling their bellies since time immemorial. From medicines to dyes to beauty products, food has always inspired an amazing spectrum of uses. But with today’s self-tanning drinks and anti-wrinkle yogurts, it’s a whole new ball game.
“Beauty foods” as they are now called, first hit the radar in 1997 in France, where they were indexed by XTC World Innovation. A year later, a number of beauty foods were launched in Japan, establishing the country as an industry forerunner, a position it holds to this day. The beauty foods trend then spread throughout Europe and North America. Currently they account for 0.5 per cent of innovative food products listed by XTC, up 100 per cent from two years ago. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this new class of food products is the addition of ingredients that in the past were reserved for the cosmetic industry.
Leading multinationals like Danone and Vichy Célestin have made a strong showing in the beauty food sector and have invested huge budgets to market these products. While some of the claims made by beauty foods are tempting to consumers, tangible results are not always proven, making skeptics out of some observers. But stay tuned – the big players are a pretty savvy bunch and aren’t known for tossing money out the window.
Serena Chenoy is associate director at Montreal and Toronto-based Enzyme, a national food & health marketing agency and exclusive North American partner of XTC World Innovation. Contact her at [email protected]