Nutraceuticals, personal care and pharma to converge as health and wellness science accelerates

Published: 10-Jan-2024

A few years ago, we authored a predictive CPHI trend analysis that explored how large pharmaceutical brands were increasingly looking to attract consumers in the nutraceutical space. This year, perhaps the first truly post-COVID period, what we see is an acceleration of global wellness and people taking a more considered and longer-term approach to their overall health

Sara Lesina, General Manager of Sirio Europe and Americas, explains: the move towards wellness may well have been built on trends that were already in place … or it might have been a logical response to the fact that general health was often a factor regarding who became sick with COVID.

However, coupled with the extra time that much of the world spent at home, a focus on well-being and general fitness is an idea that has not only gained traction, it’s continued as a lasting legacy.

Fast forward to today and what we’re seeing is very interesting; categories such as personal care, OTC health, well-being and natural wellness are expanding and continuing to merge with each other.

The boundaries, range and delivery forms of products are growing extremely quickly. Yet, not only are consumer trends changing, there is an increased focus on advancements in delivery formats for nutraceuticals, with an improved consumer experience being the ultimate endpoint.

Examples include bioavailability enhancement tools (such as liposomal technologies), the increased use of enzymes to improve productivity and ongoing dosage innovation for probiotics.


Starting with our predictions for personal care during the next 2–3 years, many brands are now adding complementary gummy products to existing topical ranges; this may well be a growth segment in the next 18–36 months.

Collagen is a classic example of an ingredient that has traditionally been applied topically (as a cream or powder); yet, numerous personal care companies are now launching products with collagen that benefit from gastrointestinal delivery. 

This is a really interesting development that explores the advantages of “from within” versus topical application, which has to overcome the biological barrier of the skin.

In the next few years, this could be a huge trend and one that brings increasingly symbiotic or synergistic products to the market. We are also experiencing a convergence of different consumer types and, as a result, brands are looking at a variety of ways to market their products.

Nutraceuticals, personal care and pharma to converge as health and wellness science accelerates

To cite just one example, marketers with personal care backgrounds are looking at ways to present “beauty from within” gummies to consumers. This even includes complementary gummies being displayed at the point of sale alongside creams or powders as packaged collagen combinations. 

Innovations in the gummy format trend are here to stay and will blur the lines even further: an indulgent moment offering guilt-free pleasure will quite literally sit at the sweet spot of supplement, food and personal care.

The “winners” will be those who understand all three worlds and can create the formulations that will resonate the most with consumers while leveraging the latest ingredient science. 

One good way to think about this trend is the promotion of both short- and long-term benefits; topical products can be applied for immediate gains, with nutricosmetics being used to deliver long-term benefits from the inside out.

It’s still very much a “white space” in terms of complementary combinations and marketing. The other interesting aspect is the complementary demographics of consumers; but, although traditionally sold separately, we believe that buyers of beauty and personal care products will also be interested in general wellness and taking supplements.

To date, we’ve not really explored these trends … but there’s likely to be an explosion of associated marketing very soon. Taking an holistic approach to beauty and nutrition is right on trend with a growing demographic of consumers.

Going gummy

We haven’t yet seen a significant transition of current gummy brands into personal care. It's most likely that premium personal care brands (with higher profit margins) will start to offer add-on products.

One emerging idea is that vegan/health brands will target “inside and outside care” using more wellness, health and organic-centric retail outlets alongside “natural cosmetics” — particularly for consumers that, on average, have higher disposable incomes. 

In terms of specific beauty ingredients, commodity items such as vitamin C with collagen and/or collagen combinations (multiple types of collagen in one product) are gaining in popularity.

Pre- and probiotics are also on the rise. In fact, probiotics are currently a massive area of research, not just in nutraceuticals but throughout whole segments of pharma and healthcare; specific applications include their effects on the skin, hair and the microbiome.1 

Researchers are looking at how different strains can support the microbiome (both internal and external effects) and how to make them bioavailable and deliverable — in a live state — to elicit benefits at specific target areas.

With our understanding of their mode of action within the body and microbiome still at an early stage, we can expect further breakthroughs, the personalisation of strains and tailored delivery formats.

In addition, a new method to establish a healthy microbiome, “solid probiotic drinks,” is being examined as an improved delivery form to populate the gut with live probiotic strains.

Not forgetting collagen, manufacturers of this ingredient have only recently started to consider the chemistries that apply to different delivery formats.

So, we also expect to read about technical differences regarding how these active ingredients are supplied to formulators … and we might see them being launched with slightly different chemistries.

Nutraceuticals, personal care and pharma to converge as health and wellness science accelerates

We also expect to see progress in the male side of the market, perhaps extending to men’s grooming, gym-based brands and/or the male moisturising segment with comarketed complementary nutraceuticals. 

The range of products in the beauty category has also expanded to include hair, nail and skin gummies, as well as specialised products such as hyaluronic acid (HA) gummies and injectable forms of moisturising agents.

This trend reflects a growing interest in personalised and targeted skincare solutions. People are increasingly looking to address specific skincare concerns and are willing to go beyond traditional topical products and explore different delivery methods.

HA is a popular ingredient known for its hydrating properties, and the availability of hyaluronic acid gummies suggests a convenient and tasty way to incorporate this ingredient into a daily routine.

Still, we envisage this “standard product” being elevated to something unique, perhaps with the addition of herbals that have centuries of use, and chime with the “back to roots” trend. Strong contenders are ingredients such as turmeric, paprika, astaxanthin, aloe and zeaxanthin, among others, all of which have an evolving scientific base.2

Delivery and functionality

Bioavailability is also going to be the consumer breakthrough word of the next 3–years as the general public becomes more aware and educated.3 They’ll better understand that taking a tablet doesn’t always mean all of the ingredients are absorbed by the body in the way that’s intended.

Alongside this, we will see the rise of the technological applications — in a chicken or egg style — that have predicated the shift in the industry playing a greater role in terms of properly evaluating and improving bioavailability. 

Lipid delivery, for example, has been used in the pharmaceutical sector for some time for poorly water-soluble drugs.4 Now, however, nutraceutical brands are exploring how lipid technologies such as liposomes can help to protect vital payloads as they pass though the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal track and increase transmucosal (oral) uptake and absorption.5 

For example, a liposome-encapsulated vitamin C — widely known as a poorly soluble substance — will deliver greater bioavailability at a lower dose in each gummy.

We have currently introduced a patented technology into two production lines, but this is just the tip of the iceberg; a great deal of pharmaceutical dosage form science is now being exploited in nutraceutical applications.

In fact, we expect all major nutraceutical companies and CDMOs to start evaluating product development according to three scientific key metrics:

  • health benefits: exploring a more rigorous approach to safety, stability, bioavailability and targeted delivery 
  • dietary patterns: can we deliver actives in formulations that are also made using more natural methods and materials?
  • how can we continue to improve the consumer experience of our products, which is especially important given the high growth of products such as gummies. 

A greener production method on the horizon is the increased use of enzymes and biocatalysts to produce nutraceuticals; we expect this to be a major growth area in the medium-term.

It’s still a nascent trend, but consumers are starting to look for more environmentally conscious processes in the products they purchase.

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Similarly, greener ingredients or plant-derived sources are also increasingly desired … and we’re seeing an acceleration of science into how we improve the functionality and stability of functional ingredients from plants. 

In conclusion

The nutraceutical industry is on the verge of a transformative journey as it converges with personal care (and pharmaceutical methodologies) — a transition substantiated by the growing emphasis on holistic well-being in today's consumer landscape.

A survey conducted by Grand View Research reveals that the global nutricosmetics market is expected to witness significant growth until 2030, underscoring the potential of this evolving trend.6 

In an era marked by heightened health awareness, individuals are adopting a deliberate and comprehensive approach to their overall health. This evolution is driving the expansion of various product categories, including personal care, well-being and natural health, effectively erasing traditional boundaries.

What’s most significant about this is that large conglomerates are increasingly looking at adjacent areas of their consumers' behaviour and purchasing habits. Moving forward, brands will explore how they can develop deeper partnerships throughout multiple segments that were previously sold in isolation.

The consequential impact of this is that they are likely to garner deeper and more personalised engagement with their consumers, leading to improved brand loyalty, frequency of purchase and the lifespan of the relationship.



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