Food products that enhance skin, hair and nails are expected to appear in shops next year -- the fruit of an agreement just signed between Nestle and L'Oreal to create a new company to that end.
This is claimed to be the first joint venture between a food company and a cosmetics company. Nestle will provide the nutritional research; L'Oreal the dermatological know-how.
Laboratoires INNEOV, in which both companies will hold 50%, will be based in France, with its own marketing department.
Marketing will be largely driven by L'Oreal, says Nestle, but no details are available as yet. McCann-Erickson Worldwide, which works for both Nestle and L'Oreal, is "not in a position to comment," according to a London-based spokeswoman for McCann EMEA.
The network currently handles advertising for L'Oreal Paris' consumer division and Maybelline N.Y. globally. For Nestle, it has the global accounts for the chocolate and malt beverages (primarily Nesquik and Milo), Nescafe coffee, and petcare. It is also an aligned agency on the milks, creamers, infant nutrition and culinary businesses.
The concept behind the new joint venture is based on scientific evidence that certain food products and ingredients have a positive effect on skin, nails and hair. "It's a question of developing products which use that body of knowledge to bring demonstrable advantages to consumers," says Mr. Perroud. In other words, "marketing food with the idea that it's good for looking good."
The product benefits will be cosmetic, not nutritional, he adds, so distribution will be via channels "conducive to selling cosmetics," and therefore more likely to be those already used by L'Oreal than by Nestle.
The agreement is subject to regulatory approval, but no competitive issues are foreseen.
Nestle and L'Oreal already have a close relationship. Nestle owns 49% of Gesparal, the holding company which holds more than 53% of L'Oreal shares, and three Nestle directors are on the L'Oreal board.