Superfoods are no longer just for your smoothies. Superfoods are popping up in the personal-care aisle, adding trend-forward ingredient interest to shampoos, serums and more. Future-leaning formulators are starting to pay attention to the popularity of these “functional foods.”
Cosmetics Design-Europe says that international passion for organic and natural products is fueling the superfoods craze.
“Rates of ‘superfood’ new product development have tripled in the past five years, according to Mintel, and among brands such as Origins, Aveda and Kiehl’s, it seems the trend has now made its way across to beauty,” reports the site.
Google is also reporting an uptick in searches for functional foods, one of the larger trends the company highlighted in its recent 2016 Food Trends Report. The search giant says that though consumers’ initial interest in superfoods is nutritional, their name-recognition translates to other industries:
“Even beauty brands can capitalize on these trends. Some are adding trending functional ingredients to their products—see Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque, Freeman’s Apple Cider Vinegar 4-in-1 Foaming Clay, and OGX’s Coconut Milk Shampoo. (Ulta Beauty is one retailer doing an especially good job capturing search interest in the latter two products.)”
Here at UL Prospector, we decided to investigate how formulators have been responding to this superfoods-as-skin-care trend. We used UL’s Industry Analytics tool to track trending personal-care searches for functional food ingredients.
Superfood searches are trending upward since 2013
In the chart above, you can see high volume superfood searches in the personal-care industry include coconut oil, moringa, avocado oil, ginger and quinoa. All of these ingredients show solid volume and percentage interest change growth since 2013, although interest in avocado oil has shown a pattern of recent interest decrease.
Although at a lower overall volume of searches than the first grouping, seaweed, amaranth, turmeric, pumpkin seeds and baobab all show solid growth (see chart above). Note that seaweed searches are making a big surge in 2016.
At an even smaller search volume—but still growing—are apple cider vinegar, arrowroot, daikon radish, chia seeds and kefir (see chart above). Chia seeds have shown especially significant search-volume growth since 2013. Searches for kefir only begin to make an appearance in the second quarter of 2014.
Cumin seeds, cardamom and sacha inchi are all trending functional foods that do show up in Prospector personal-care searches, but their popularity is erratic and doesn’t show any clear pattern of growth.
Not all popular functional foods have cracked the personal-care market yet. Trend-tracking formulators can watch superfoods making a splash in the grocery aisles to see where consumer interest may go next. Look out for emerging superfoods such as bitter melon, jackfruit, rice vinegar, teff and lucuma.
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