Data from Mintel's Global New Products Database indicates that the number of new vitamin and supplement products containing references to beauty or aging in their product descriptions in 2002 was just six. But the following year, the market leapt into life, with 17 new products seeing the light of day. Since then, this level has been maintained, with 20 new products in 2004 and 11 in 2005 so far.
The high level of launches in the dietary supplement category has not gone unnoticed by the cosmetics industry. And rather than resenting another industry moving in on an area that has traditionally been dominated by topical cosmetics products, it has chosen to embrace it.
This year sees the first trade show dedicated to - Inside Beauty, co-located with Health and Beauty America at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center, New York, September 27 to 29.
The overlap between the two categories is not simply a matter of the cosmetics industry opening its collective mind to supplements: last year Ferrosan, the Danish maker of Imedeen, one of the first anti-aging supplement brands launched in 2000 in Japan, unveiled its topical anti-aging skin care range.
Anti-aging remains the most prolific marketing claim of beauty supplements - 34 of the 60 new products identified by Mintel in the past five years make some reference to aging.
A desire to cater to the preoccupations of the aging baby-boom generation, currently the largest consumer group with the US and the one with the greatest spending power, is most likely behind the trend.
The consumer profile of a typical baby boomer is one with a relatively high disposable income, who is willing to pay a premium for products that make them look and feel great, and keep them healthy.
Amongst the most expensive anti-aging supplements in Mintel's database are Eden's Supplement GH1 at $125 when it was launched in 2000, and Murad's Wrinkle Free Dietary Supplement Pack at $115 (launched November 2004).
Ten of the products identified by Mintel are marketed to improve the general appearance of skin, eight for skin, hair and nails, and four for body shape or tone.
Data source: Mintel's Global New Products Database.