Tesco’s top soft drinks buyer has tipped collagen-based beauty drinks for the top despite the lack of EFSA-approved health claims in the area, after startup Bella Berry caused a stir last week in London.
At DrinkPreneur Live! In London last week – an incubator for entrepreneurial startups – David Beardmore, who leads Tesco’s soft drinks and juices buying team and was on a panel judging 20 entrants competing for the grand prize – told the audience he thought beauty drinks were a “huge untapped market”.
He did so in the context of a DrinkPreneur Live! event where beauty drinks brand Bella Berry won a runners-up prize, coming second with a score of 8.49/10 behind bubble tea brand OOb .
Founded by Suzannah Baker, Bella Berry drinks use up to 24% juice (from super fruits) and contains vitamins C, E, B6, B12 and biotin, plus collagen and green tea; they are not on sale yet but Baker has finalized the formulation and initial packaging.
A former advertising exec who’s worked on beauty brands, Baker insists she can fill a gap in the beauty market, worth £15bn in the UK alone and growing for the 12th year running, “by merging the insatiable demand of the beauty market with the massive rise of functional drinks”.
Insatiable beauty demand meets functional drinks
“Functional soft drinks have really exploded, and 43% of adults say that they now drink them. According to Datamonitor the three barriers to entry are taste, cost and difficulty of finding them,” she said.
Baker added that her favorite beauty shot on the market is now sold for £3.59/bottle ($6) in Boots – Pure Gold Collagen – is “phenomenally successful, difficult to find and looks a bit like a medicine”.
Conversely, she describes Bella Berry as a “fun, mainstream RTD vitamin drink with every vitamin you need for healthy radiant skin, with collagen that is scientifically proven to make skin look younger and more beautiful”.
Baker is targeting Bella Berry at the convenience aisle – next to snacks and sandwiches and other RTDs – and insists the drinks will be priced comparably to juices and existing drinks at £1.60-1.80.
‘I think it’s a huge, untapped market’ – Tesco buyer
Leading a discussion on the beauty drinks opportunity, Zenith International chair Richard Hall said: “It has been tried in Asia, didn’t succeed greatly – collagen seems to be the vehicle, but one of the problems is claims and possible misrepresentation.”
But Tesco’s Beardmore said: “I think drinks can go into beauty very easily, we can find new space in the current aisle, especially where the health and wellness is.
“I think that’s a huge untapped market – and what I saw today, not necessarily in the packaging presented, was a much cleverer way of doing it. I’ve seen something today that I think has real potential,” he added.
To date the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has rejected beauty healthy claims linked to collagen.
But EFSA’s having none of it…
The June 2013 opinion from EFSA’s NDA panel under Article 13.5 of the Health Claim regulation relates to the substantiation of a claim for improved skin elasticity leading to improved skin function from Gelita AG, for its VeriSol P collagen.
In its opinion last June, EFSA’s panel focused on one study of 69 women but found no difference between those using VeriSol and others given a placebo, in terms of the water barrier function of the skin, the only measure of improved skin function that was measured as an outcome of collagen use.
Responding to the decision, Gelita told our sister site Nutra-Ingredients.com last June that EFSA “did not comment on the positive results (elasticity/wrinkle reduction) as they do not consider them as ‘skin functions, and therefore not health claim relevant”.
Gelita also hinted that general food law may provide it with a safe harbour for beauty claims that do not suggest or imply that a relationship between food and health exists, provided they are backed with “strong and relevant scientific studies”.
Bella Berry: Collagen does boost skin beauty
Asked by us about health claims at DrinkPreneur Live!, Baker from Bella Berry said: “Several studies have been done, and the right kind of collagen has been proven to boost four aspects of skin beauty – hydration by 12%, elasticity, skin tone and deep wrinkles by 27%.
“That’s not just self-reported results from people drinking it…this was an objective finding using a dermatological machine placed on the skin,” she added.
“Collagen is already huge in Asia for skin health,” Baker said. “We just want to bring it to the mass market here so everyone can benefit.”