Misleading marketing and false reporting surrounding NASA’s alleged involvement in a “wrinkle-reducing” fruit drink can teach us all something about the nutricosmetics industry.
Does NASA developing a nutricosmetic beverage sound a little out there? Well, it apparently does to NASA, which is out to set the record straight after some misreporting and bogus marketing. This recent news epitomizes what the nutricosmetics industry doesn’t need: More blows to its legitimacy.
Earlier this week, many news outlets, including the New York Daily news, UK’s The Mail, and Inside Cosmeceuticals, reported NASA’s involvement in developing a “wrinkle-reducing” fruit drink (AS10 beverage). References to University of Utah research on the beverage’s wrinkle-fighting prowess are flying around too, despite the fact that AS10 research tied directly to UT remains MIA.
Naturally, it didn’t take long for NASA to refute the claims, telling Beverage Daily that it had nothing to do with the “space drink,” though saying it was involved in research on some of the beverage’s active superfruit ingredients for use in capsule supplements a few years back.
So are the NASA claims going away? It's not looking that way, at least not from the company's end. Here’s a statement that still appears on the AS10 and UK distributor AmeriSciences’ website:
"Based on joint research with NASA / Johnson Space Centre- the AS10 Combination is a combined multi-vitamin and anti-oxidant formula. Civilian formulas based in part on joint research between AmeriSciences® and NASA/JSC are now available in the UK."
Who’s to blame for all the misinformation? That's twofold: It’s the journalists who failed to do their research. But it started with another nutricosmetic manufacturer attempting to sell its product with misleading marketing, rather than sound research and subtle messaging, which are the elusive traits that can turn the somewhat struggling category around in the United States. Instances like this are precisely why nutricosmetics, particularly beauty foods and beverages, have had trouble taking off in the natural products industry.
Although this particular occurrence surrounds a European product, the news will continue to plague the U.S. beauty-from-within industry. AS10’s mistake is something that we can all learn from (journalists included)—one that will hopefully continue to be a lesson for nutricosmetics formulators, manufacturers and marketers to keep their products a bit more, um, grounded.