UK consumers remain sceptical about so-called beauty foods, despite high expectations from manufacturers, research has suggested.

According to Mark Whalley, consumer markets analyst at Datamonitor and author of Opportunities in Heart Health: Consumer Attitudes & Behaviors, beauty foods - or , nutricosmetics - are attracting "casual interest" in the UK, but consumers have not fully embraced the idea. 
 
Part of the reason behind the relative lack of interest in beauty foods in the UK is the population's lack of concern about appearance. When asked by Datamonitor in 2008, only a quarter of UK consumers agreed with the statement "I feel under pressure to look good", whereas 41% disagreed.

"Perhaps predictably, females felt appearance pressure more than males - 35% and 15%, respectively, agreed with the statement", said Whalley.
 
However, Whalley added, 'beauty from within' is clearly something that UK consumers believe in.

"In the same survey, two thirds (68%) stated that they were conscious of the link between diet and appearance, whereas only 8% disagreed", said Whalley.
 
According to Whalley, the economic crisis has held back growth of the sector "significantly" as the perceived high price of these products means that consumers are overlooking them in order to save money.

However, what is really inhibiting the industry is trust, Whalley said.

"People want to believe that they can look better just by eating or drinking a product, but the truth is that many Brits are sceptical about this. Manufacturers must do all they can to convince people to really get behind beauty foods, because the interest is there.

"There are effective ways in which this can be done, such as gaining an endorsement from respected professional associations. This gives the consumer confidence that what they read on the packet will be a good indicator of what happens after consumption."
 
For the full report, visit just-food's research store.