“Beauty is skin deep" is finding a new meaning with as many as 28% of vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) users taking them to improve their appearance, according to the findings of a new report by research firm Mintel. While VMS consumption for appearance is low, the study stated that beauty could be at the heart of market growth.

Out of the total 37% Indians who consume vitamins, minerals and supplements, a majority do it to improve the texture and quality of their skin, nails and hair.

According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), functional claims like ‘skin, hair and nails’ (14%), ‘beauty benefits’ (7%) and ‘anti-ageing’ (5%) are some of the beauty claims seen among the VMS launches in India between 2014 and 2018.

While Mintel research reveals that the overall consumption of VMS in India is relatively low, with only 37% of Indians consuming VMS, the demand for natural ingredients is strong. Almost a quarter (24%) of Indians feel that VMS should be formulated using only natural ingredients. Research from Mintel GNPD also shows that ‘vegetarian’ (67%), ‘botanical/herbal’ (61%) and ‘all natural product’ (31%) were the top three claims seen in new product launches in India’s VMS category between 2016-18.

Rimpie Panjwani, senior beauty and personal care analyst, India, at Mintel, said that there is growth potential for VMS products featuring functional beauty claims as there currently exists a gap in the market for beauty products like ingestible VMS that work in unison with topical products to offer holistic solutions for beauty and wellness. However, brands promoting appearance-boosting benefits must mention the specific expected outcome from taking the supplement, not a generic or all-purpose enhancement.

“Furthermore, Indian consumers show a strong inclination towards natural products, which can be attributed to the familiarity of Ayurveda and trust in natural ingredients like ginger, turmeric, ashwagandha, and kesar (saffron). This has led to a strong preference for natural VMS remedies derived from fruits and vegetables, as well as those with free-from claims. Brands can look to explore and innovate with botanicals and herbs within VMS based on traditional knowledge," he added.