A Closer Look At The Cross-Category Ingredients Trend

We’ve seen the familiar cascade of trendy ingredients from one category to another before. It’s not cheating to copy from other categories – just a case of spotting the right ingredient and using it in a clever way.

Here we show some examples that illustrate how to spot ingredients in related/ different categories that may provide inspiration for your next innovation.

Medicine to make-up

Nutraceuticals, whose functions inside the body are well-known to scientists, often find their way into cosmetics. One very successful example is CoQ10, known to biochemists and nutritionists as a vital enzyme in the body with strong antioxidant properties needed especially for heart health.

Beiersdorf, the makers of all things NIVEA, spotted the potential to exploit the anti-oxidative properties (anti-oxidants, as we know, are big business when it comes to anti-ageing products!) and were the first to market with the launch of NIVEA Visage CoQ10 anti-ageing cream. The antioxidant claim has been translated for consumers into a more motivating end-benefit: anti-wrinkle.

Since then CoQ10 has branched out into make-up and even toothpaste, where it claims to be soothing to gums. Perhaps chewing gum might be the next logical stop on Q10’s journey?

It’s also gone full circle and made its way back into food…

jason oral comfort toothepaste, flaxsee almonds brazil nuts walnuts & co-enzyme Q10 pouch and nivea Q10 plus face cream

Superfood to skin food

These days it’s less about flaunting the next sciency-sounding ingredient and more about tuning into the natural and organic trend. 50% of UK men believe that natural ingredients are better for their skin, with 50% of their male counterparts in Western Europe specifically looking for vitamins in their face care products.

Perhaps one of the best examples has been seen with Manuka Honey. Bee’s honey has been revered by many cultures for centuries as a superfood. Its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, wound-healing, moisturising and nutritional properties are fertile ground for translation into consumer benefits that can be cascaded into a multitude of categories. 

herbal essence honey shampoo, honey sweets, honey make up and manuka honey infused breast feeding pads and manuka honey kids popcornProducts range from the pure honey, through to sore-throat lozenges, skin-cream to shampoo, toothpaste, wound-healing plasters, breast pads – and even popcorn flavouring! Any category where the benefits of Manuka are relevant is fair game. Perhaps designer dog food is next?

Supergreens are next in line 

Manuka is possibly passé. But it’s not too late to exploit the up-and-coming superfood category of “Supergreens”.

Supergreens are green foods, such as kale, wheatgrass, spirulina etc., that are very dense in both colour and flavour, due to their high nutrient content, which helps keep your body healthy and ward off disease.

Thanks to Gillian McKeith, Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella fame and others, consumers now understand the concept of ‘superfoods’ very well… supergreens are the next step on.

Initially it was broccoli… then kale. Then grasses like wheatgrass and barley grass and onto microgreens; super-algae such as spirulina and chlorella. Many supergreens are now moving from health-store raw-powders for smoothies and finding their way into mass-market snacks and drinks.

product shots, super soup soupologie in a plastic container, naked antioxidant smoothie, innocent green smoothie, waitrose gorgeous green smoothie mix with spinach mango kiwi and kale

The first green superfood cosmetics 

Now it looks like its time to jump into cosmeceuticals – cosmetics with nutrient-based active ingredients. The oxidant-bursting properties of green superfoods align themselves perfectly to the anti-ageing market. The first signs are already there.

Supergreens lend themselves to an organic, ethical positioning which is where we’re seeing the very first products enter the market. But for companies that can find the right positioning and provide proof for efficacy claims, we believe this trend will trickle down into mass consumer goods… it’s just a matter of time!

The first widely distributed range of super green cosmetics by Australian brand, Sukin (a premium, organic, natural beauty brand) has just been launched in Holland and Barrett, Ocado and in other UK health-food retailers.

sukin-range, Suskin branded cosmetics, a tube of supergreen facial scrub, push bottle of moisturiser, small bottle of serum and tub of clay masque

There are a handful of smaller, lesser known brands launching products with a focus more on kale and green tea, but also some more everyday brands and products are branching out into chlorella, spirulina and grasses.

scientific organics with grape stem cell white tea & seaweed body butter, origins by all greens with spirulina and spinach


As well as cosmetics the benefits provided by Supergreens could potentially further be translated into pet food or how about schnapps and other alcoholic beverages (if Jägermeister can do it!). Its high protein content also makes it a contender for mass market sports drinks/snacks/energy bars, healthy kids snacks etc. Spirulina in particular has so many health and beauty benefits, its scope as a ingredient is almost limitless.

What’s next after supergreens?

We predict the next generation of nutritional superfoods will also start making an appearance… Baobab, Moringa and Lucuma anyone?!

Further reading (Spirulina)