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Trends & Insights

Collagen gives expanded market opportunities

This shift from sports nutrition to mainstream nutrition is expanding collagen inclusion far beyond muscle building and performance enhancement.
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For decades collagen has been consumed by weightlifters and professional athletes as part of a targeted diet supporting excessive training and performance enhancement. Today the acceptance of collagen as an important nutrient has been adopted by everyday consumers seeking an active lifestyle.

As the market for sports nutrition products transitions from one specifically targeting high performance to one aiming at active consumers, the effort to find innovative ingredients and product offerings has picked up.

An ingredient relevant to the entire food and beverage industry

This shift from sports nutrition to mainstream nutrition is expanding collagen inclusion far beyond muscle building and performance enhancement. This makes collagen an ingredient relevant to the entire food and beverage industry and not only to producers of powder mixes and protein bars. With this significant expansion of consumers looking to incorporate more collagen into their daily diets comes the need for innovation to create new appealing collagen options able to excite these new consumer groups.

Motivated by maintaining mobility and beauty

Collagen is the main structural component of the human body. It is responsible for holding together all the living tissue and is mainly found in connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments, as well as in joints, bones and skin. As we age, the body progressively lose the ability to replenish collagen, resulting in the physical decline of the body’s tissues and organs.

Collagen inclusion is driven by many different motivational factors including joint health, muscle recovery and skin hydration. At the same time, the general acceptance that collagen delivers multiple health benefits is growing among a wider reach of consumer groups that are looking to stay fit, strong and young – for longer.

Embrace everyone from sporty adults to active seniors

People are living longer, but there is no guarantee we will stay in good health in our senior years. While the traditional audience for fortified products is younger, sporty adults, there is growing evidence that older adults are the population group most at risk of collagen deficiency. Decreased collagen means more wrinkles, saggy skin, joint stiffness, weaker bones and thinner hair.

Maintaining optimal health is thus essential to people of all ages. With more consumers recognizing the importance of an active lifestyle and a healthy diet, sales of collagen supplements aimed at maintaining mobility and beauty are seeing a significant rise in demand. The ‘Supplements’ category is by far the fastest growing category when looking at new product launches containing collagen peptides from 2015 to 2020. This category clearly outnumbers the growth in new product launches within the ‘Sports Nutrition’ category(1).

Collagen peptides present an attractive solution for targeting the broadest ever audience with a taste-neutral ingredient that can go into so many different food and beverage applications.

Applying collagen powder into all sorts of food

There is no doubt that collagen is a trending ingredient desired for its multiple health benefits and rapid absorption. The fact that OmniColTM – Essentia’s collagen peptide ingredient – is neutral in taste and easy to disperse, makes it suitable to use in almost any formulation. It fits ideally into snacks, bars, meat products, broths, confectionary, desserts, meal kits, powder mixes and all sorts of smoothies, shakes and RTD beverages. OmniColTM is transparent in solution and a good choice for collagen water and shots. The versatility is supported by the fact that OmniColTM is a non-gelling ingredient that provides no impact on the viscosity of the final product.

Collagen is about to become a mainstream ingredient that we all carry in our households. Consumers already pursuing this trend tend to keep a pot of collagen powder next to the coffee canister just to remind themselves to add collagen into whatever food and beverages they prepare during the day. It is a simple way of spreading the collagen intake evenly across the day.

The rise in the popularity of collagen as a supplement has led to an epic rise in launches of new products that are tapping into this lucrative health trend. This can only confirm the consumer demand for health and nutritional foods, and more specifically; foods, beverages and supplements which have been fortified with collagen.

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References: Innova Market Insights, 2021