Delicious Living Blog

Health and beauty cocktails: Formulators (mixologists?) must be tipsy

New findings from market analysts claim that beverages with beauty-enhancing ingredients may capture a male consumer. But like the beauty marshmallows, cookies and sugary beverages that gained popularity in Japan, "beauty cocktails" wouldn't stand a chance with wellness-oriented individuals, regardless of gender... at least I hope not. 

If you’re on the path to health and wellness, you consciously make healthier choices daily. You swap a sugary breakfast cereal for Greek yogurt with berries and a rushed, greasy burger for lean protein, salad and quinoa at dinner. These are the basics. You don’t always get it right, but you almost always try.

Depending where you are on this journey, you may also feel pressure to justify your nutritional vices, attempting to fit everything you eat into an idealistic dietary model. Manufacturers of packaged, processed foods or beverages try to convince you that it's good to eat an unhealthy product that contains added nutrients with heart, brain, immunity or beauty benefits.

But no matter how much you want to believe it, that fortified doughnut, cereal, beverage or cookie probably has more unhealthy qualities than it does nutritious ones. If you do convince yourself that it’s healthy—if only for the brief moments leading up to consuming it—it’s probably more because of your own psyche than any marketing gimmick. You wanted it and gave in to that craving. It’s okay.

Another strike for international nutricosmetics 

You’ve probably gathered how this ties in to alcoholic beauty beverages. Like beauty marshmallows, chocolates and sweet drinks, this niche product has taken off in Japan with the launch of TaKaRa Beauty Sparkling Peach Flavoured Alcoholic Drink, which is infused with collagen. And just like beauty marshmallows, chocolates and sweet drinks, it would fail miserably in the United States.

The most recent coverage of alcoholic beauty beverages magnifies all that’s wrong with the concept. According to Beverage Daily and Mintel, beauty beverages with alcohol have strong potential to get the attention of a male consumer.

This reeks of marketing desperation if you ask me, and a way to capture the male consumer that has been slow to embrace any part of the beauty industry. How about focusing on intelligent ways to market a natural aftershave to men, for example? Duping this consumer into purchasing a “beauty” product because it contains alcohol really isn’t a sustainable approach to capturing the male consumer.

It’s a one-time thing—a nutricosmetics fling.

Luckily, we don’t have to worry too much about alcoholic beauty bevs in United States. The FDA and ATF don’t allow any health claims for alcoholic beverages, and E.U. law states that alcohol products over 1.2 ABV can’t make health claims.

But crafty marketers (and mixologists) still find ways to imply beauty benefits (antioxidant-rich pomegranate martini, anyone?). In fact, Fragoli’s “Forbidden Fruit” blend [PDF] was headed down this road with statements on its site about the drink’s antioxidant content—and worse yet, the ability of alcohol’s ethanol to boost antioxidant content of the drink’s berries.

Here's a tip: Don't buy into beauty cocktails

Strict regulations, however, aren’t the only reasons for beauty cocktails’ doomed fate in the U.S. Many of the nutricosmetics that gained popularity in Japan flopped here because consumers who are interested in eating, drinking or taking supplements to accomplish health or beauty goals are the ones most likely to fuel growth of nutricosmetics market.

These consumers also are the ones that realize that a product containing sugar, unhealthy fats or alcohol can be detrimental to health and appearance no matter what else it contains. Specifically, the reason these ingredients negatively affect appearance is that they trigger glycation, collagen distortion that promotes inflammation and oxidative stress. This can lead to breakouts and wrinkles.

When it comes to actually seeing results from nutricosmetics, routine is key. Needless to say, the educated consumer understands the implications of making these types of products part of their routines.

I’ll leave you with this.

There’s a bar down the street from us that serves herb-, tea- and fruit-infused cocktails, which seems so very fitting for an après-work cocktail amongst New Hope employees. But in the end, when we go there, it’s because we like the atmosphere, it’s convenient and we want to unwind after work. It’s good for a lot of things—but deep down, even if we don’t want to admit it, we all realize that health or beauty isn’t one of them.

What do you think about alcoholic beauty beverages? Leave a comment.

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